Byron Naturally
Byron Naturally

Before the hippies and yuppies descended on Byron Bay it was (and still is) a surf town. From Friday, October 26 to Sunday, October 28, Byron Bay will host the Byron Bay Surf Festival 'surf culture now'.

The festival is in its second year and is a non-competitive event. The festival will bring together people that want to celebrate surfing and the associated culture of art, music, film, literature, lifestyle, surfboard design and environmentally friendly and sustainable surf craft.

This year will see some specialised events such as Artshows, Live music, Surf films, Surf workshops, Surf culture markets, kids ‘stART me up’ event, ‘Freestyle&Stoke’ Surf Sessions and Surf Swap Meet at Wategos Beach.

What is unique about the Byron Bay Surf Festival is that while professional surfing hosts a multitude of glamorous competitions across the globe in the most enviable of locations, this one is about the everyday people. It is about the positive impact surfing has had upon not only Byron Bay, but also the world.

It is estimated that, of Australia’s 24 million people, up to 8 million people try surfing and about 6 million pursue it. Add to that 2.5 million body-boarders and countless body-surfers and you come see why surf culture is so often prominent when talking about Australian culture. Not that surfing is restricted to Australia, with growing numbers of surfers across the ever-shrinking globe also donning the baggies and hitting the waves.

When you reflect upon that impressive number of people who claim surfing as a passion, consider also that they have other lives too and very often indulge in creating music, art, photography, craft and filmmaking all influenced by, and in turn influencing, surf culture. From its earliest days in Hawaaii the paraphernalia used to surf has also adapted and changed over time. From boards to wax to board grips, leg ropes, fins and wetsuits (not to mention the many ingenious ways thought up to carry boards) the history of surfing is a fun and colourful reflection of popular culture and an endless source of nostalgia.

The 2012 Byron Bay Surf Festival ‘surf culture now’ sees scores of activities celebrating all that surf culture has to offer over the weekend of October 26–28. With a focus on keeping the festival within the town centre of Byron, as festival organisers we have as many local venues as possible hosting events. Festival events range in cost, with many either free or by donation, so make sure you check out the event schedule and get yourself along to one of the many events across the Bay.

For more information on the Byron Bay Surf Festival check out http://www.byronbaysurffestival.com/.