• Burleigh Heads Single Fin Festival 20th Anniversary

Call me old fashioned but the Burleigh Single Fin Classic is everything a throwback surf comp should be, ie: it’s held in Queensland, the comp rashies are actually singlets, the surfboards are all one finners that pre-date 1985, the food is sausage sandwiches and the entire crowd who pack the headland smell like coconut oil and snap their first beers at around 10:30am. It’s a great big lung busting breath of fresh air to be at a contest where competitors spend the days mingling with the crowd, where live music echoes out over the break during heats, where everyone who turns can’t help but smile and laugh and get caught up in the goodwill and genuine community stoke the day delivers. And because it’s run by the Burleigh Boardriders, nobody cares that the line-up is out of bounds for the day.

Dwayne Harris calls you into waves over the PA. Pete Harris shakes your hand as you walk through the crowd. James Lewis gives you a 50 years of Burleigh Boardriders commemoration book with some of the best damn surf photos you’re ever likely to see. And in the event, the local crew battle against the likes of Creed McTaggart, Otis Carey, Mark Occhilupo and Joel Parkinson, who this year took the win with some of the meatiest single fin hacks the world has ever seen. It was a fine way to mark the 20th Anniversary of the last great surf contest. A day that’s as memorable for its all-inclusive atmosphere of awesome as it is for the incredible action in the water. See ya there next year. – Vaughan Blakey