Byron Bay sits at the hub of today’s surfing world and there’s no other haven where you’d rather feast on surf culture. Byron has been, and still is, integral to the surfing diaspora both domestically and internationally.
Can you believe no one else thought of running a surf festival here before? Well, someone eventually got around to it and this October 25th 27th, Byron Bay will host its third consecutive and most exciting surf jam EVER with musicians, filmmakers, surfers, artists, historians and creative souls from all over the world’s coastlines.
It’s at a centralized location this year, down at the beachfront mostly. On the Saturday will be an all day Surf Art Market with an Art & Photography Show including international and national artists, a tipi pop-up precinct with surf and lifestyle brands, artisans, gourmet food/drinks, live music, yoga, literature, presentations and workshops with international and national shapers, craftsmen and surf legends.
The real clincher of the festival however is the stack of amazing film events – local and international premieres with filmmaker and star attendance.
Besides an Australian open air film premier kicking off the festival with the screening of Bella Vita another big film highlight is going to hit the Byron Community Centre with the screening of the long anticipated premier of Unchartered Waters starring Wayne Lynch including a very special Q&A with the man himself. Unchartered Waters is a Patagonia sponsored, feature length documentary about one of Australia’s most illusive historical surfers. Ultimately it is about an extremely gifted individual with an intense connection to the Southern Ocean, whose approach to surfing has been a spiritual journey often putting him at odds with the surfing subculture and society in general. Make sure to book your tickets with the Byron Community Centre early as seats are limited.
Smack in the middle of the festival on the Saturday evening is the Surf Shorts film comp which last year was flooded with amazing entries and a sold out event on the night. The competition includes domestic and international entries and is professionally judged by a panel of surf film veterans including Paul Witzig, Alan Rich, Johnny Abegg and Dick Hoole with the overall short film comp winners receiving a mentorship with award winning Australian master film maker Nathan Oldfield besides GoPro camera gear, McTavish surfboard, Skullcandy headphones and more.
With live music and party events scheduled at the Beach Hotel each evening, Sunday will see more surfing events, the Corona Party Wave Invitational, Keith Malloy’s Torpedo People bodysurf comp, swap meets, Freestyle & Stoke surf sessions, live music and demos at Wategos beach.
A weekend so full of surf, you won’t even care if it’s flat. Go feast on the program, there is lots more to see and do – byronbaysurffestival.com/program
Words by Taylor Miller