• THE SINGLE FIN FESTIVAL IS ON THIS WEEKEND!

Burleigh Boardriders one again will be bringing back the laid-back times of the 1970's, with the 17th annual Burleigh Boardriders Single Fin festival from 10th to the 12 of January. Friday will see the Charity Luncheon at Burleigh Bears Leagues Club, with the Saturday and Sunday the action turns to Burleigh Point for the Single Fin Classic.

The annual Charity Luncheon will be hosted by funny-man and former jockey Allan “Robbo” Robinson, with special guest comedian Rash Ryder. Guest speakers will be the man who single-handedly saw over the demise of the single fin, the man credited with the invention of the Thruster, Simon Anderson. The other guest speaker confirmed is Manly and Australian Rugby League legend Steven Meenzies. Other speakers are yet to be confirmed, but WCT surfers, NRL and AFL players are on the guest list. With the guest speakers, huge sporting memorabilia auction, and tickets only $100 per person including meal and refreshments there are only limited seats available.

The Single Fin Classic is a unique surfing contest, where all surfers that compete on single fin surfboards made before 1985, which means that every board that is surfed in the event is an antique, and a unique part of surfing history. It is like a surfing museum over the contest, all the boards there for one and all to see, and thousand gather on Burleigh Point to watch the event.

This year is a special one for many of those that surf Burleigh Point. Held in memory of “AB”, Alan Byrne, who passed away suddenly only a few months ago. Alan was a surfboard shaper and a true craftsman, an innovator in surfboard design, and the first ever Kiwi to be accepted by the Burleigh Boys in the 1970's. Alan's channel bottom single fins are a prized craft, and they are “the” board to surf on in this event.

Last year Rasta won a handcrafted single fin made by local legend Dirk Van Straalen, to say he was happy with the win would be an understatement. This year will be a handshaped Alan Byrne replica single fin for the event winner. But whether competing, or watching from the headland, it is the vibe that is the single fin, which Rasta says draws him to the event;

“It’s such a wonderful thing to be able to come down and pull out these old relics and have a lot of fun on the point.” There also is an under 18 division, and the young grommets really impressed Rastovich.

The level of surfing at the event is incredible, Joel Parkinson, Mick Fanning, Occy, Luke Egan, are just some of the big name surfers to compete in the event. Occy, Rasta, and Luke Egan look set to compete again this year, along with World Professional Junior Champion Jack Freestone competing against a field of local Burleigh rippers, and red hot surfers from the Gold Coast and beyond. It is a prestigious title to win; you only win a single fin surfboard, and the glory – it is all about the glory, the title and the fun.

With money raised from the event, Burleigh Boardriders donate some to local charities, and the balance going back into Burleigh Boardriders Junior Development program. Three times single fin Champion and Burleigh Boardriders head coach, Kyle “Dvex” Robinson sums up Burleigh Boardriders Junior Development plan quite well; “We have a squad of about 30 juniors who train once a week, and we are hoping one day that they can follow the lead of surfers like Jay “Bottle” Thompson, and qualify for the World Championship Tour, and maybe even have a world champion one day. Overall though, we are developing the groms as whole person, we have had improving results for the last few years, and they really are a great bunch of kids.”

Mark it in your dairies, the 10th, 11th, and 12th, of January to come and check out the 2014 Burleigh Boardriders Single Fin Classic. Sit on the natural ampitheatre that is Burleigh Point, or “Jelergull” as the ancients from the Koomberri Tribe named it from there dreaming stories. Just the vibe, the feeling, and the excellent level of surfing is worth pulling up a piece of grass or rock on the headland and just soaking it all in.