Despite some less-than-perfect weather, the 2018 Byron Bay Surf Festival (February 22 – 25, 2018) was a huge success. Over the four days, Byron Bay played host to a number of inspiring surf, art, film, and music events, each celebrating the inclusive spirit of surf culture.
The Byron Bay Surf Festival is unique among other surf events across the country. “BBSF has a non-competitive approach to surf events,” said the festival’s Creative Director, James McMillan. “We have a focus on culture, art and environment.”
Without the pressure of competition, surfers are free to express themselves in the water. This year, the beloved Freestyle & Stoke Surf Sessions and the new FreeRadical Surf Experiments invited surfers of all levels to have a bit of fun.
Image by Kane Skennar
“I was high as a kite after the Freestyle & Stoke Surf Sessions on Sunday,” said McMillan. “It was a really amazing day with so many stoked and smiling people, both surfers, non-surfers, families, kids and the oldest surfer in Byron Dr Bob even dropped by. The surf sessions on Sunday are about fun [which] creates a totally different and inclusive vibe to all who participate.”
The celebration of surf culture continued out of the water. The always-popular Surf Art Market drew a crowd on Saturday, despite the rainy weather. A curated collection of ethical and environmental vendors put their unique wares on display, drawing attention to the importance of sustainability in surfing. “Giving these companies an opportunity to show and sell their products educates and brings focused awareness to the public,” said McMillan.
In addition, festival-goers were treated to an incredible surf art exhibition at the Lone Goat Gallery, live music at the iconic Beach Hotel, and the crowd-favourite Sunset Cinema, which began with a traditional Welcome to Country by the local Arakwal People.
“Many surfers are creative, surfing is a very creative expression,” said McMillan, commenting on the many imaginative manifestations of surf culture on display at the 2018 Byron Bay Surf Festival.
“Every time a wave comes in you never know exactly how it is going to play out. You paddle, jump to your feet and start co-creating with Mother Nature as you weave your way along the swell... It all feels amazing. The feelings and emotions from surfing stir a certain thing inside many surfers and this sparks creativity in many different ways.”
With its beautiful beaches, creative spirit, and laid-back attitude, Byron Bay was – once again – the perfect backdrop to one of the most progressive surf events in the country. “[The area] is open and accepting of alternate thinking, arts, and activities,” commented McMillan. “The Byron Bay Surf Festival easily fits in and sends people home smiling.”
We look forward to seeing what the Byron Bay Surf Festival serves up next year.
Discover the best of beautiful Byron Bay and surrounding towns and villages with the 2018 Byron and Beyond guides. Both the annual What’s On and Accommodation Guides are packed full of inspiring editorial content and informative business and event details, all alongside striking visuals.
What’s On – the Visitor Guide is Byron Bay’s official printed guide. Discover uniquely Byron activities, tours, and attractions in Byron Bay’s township and surrounding areas. Learn more about Byron’s beaches, check out the ever-growing list of Byron’s gourmet eateries, and find out more about watching whales during migration season.
Plus, this year’s magazine offers seven maps, which you can use to navigate the Byron Shire and beyond.
The What’s On Visitor Guide is distributed to over 400 outlets in the Northern Rivers, Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. Or, read online.
Alongside the What’s On Visitor Guide, Byron and Beyond publish an Accommodation Guide, which includes information about Byron Bay, Brunswick Heads, Ocean Shores, Ballina, Lennox Head, Lismore, Nimbin and beyond.
In addition to the curated editorial content, you’ll find a range of practical information about transport, food, and an accommodation directory that covers the Byron Shire and surrounding regions.
The Accommodation Guide is distributed to more than 800 outlets across Australia. And like the What’s On Guide, it’s available to read online.
For anyone visiting the Byron Bay region, a flick through these popular guides is a must.
After the success of Start Stuff: Festival of the Cosmos, festival organiser Dylan O’Donnell has confirmed that space-themed event will return - under moonless skies - to Byron Bay on Saturday the 7th and Sunday the 8th of July, 2018.
Star Stuff II will feature three internationally renowned speakers: Fraser Cain, publisher of Universe Today; Amy Shira Teitel, space historian and host of the Vintage Space YouTube channel; and Geoff Notkin, star expert as seen on the popular TV show, Meterorite Men.
Held at the Elements of Byron Resort, Start Stuff II will boast a range of space and science related talks and activities. Weather permitting, festival-goers can engage in solar and night-time astronomy.
In addition, they will be treated to several back-to-back keynote talks from industry experts. Speakers include Dr Alan Duffy (Swinburne/ABC), Dr David Malin (AAO), Dr Cathal O’Connell (Cosmos Magazine), comet discover Terry Lovejoy, John Sarkissian (CSIRO), Greg Quicke aka “Space Gandalf,” and Gilmour Space Technologies and local astronomer Dylan O’Donnell.
What’s more, high-tech astronomy equipment will be exhibited by suppliers. While this exhibition is open to the general public, ticket-holders will get the VIP treatment: giveaways, a movie screening, a luxurious dinner, the Fraser Cain speech, and entry to win a Celestron Evolution 6 complete telescope package.
Designed to encourage interest in astronomy, space, and STEM industries, Star Stuff is a privately funded festival. Last year, proceeds funded a small observatory for Wiley Park Girls School in western Sydney.
Not to be confused with astrology, Star Stuff II: Festival of Space, Science & Astronomy is set to be an inspiring, educational, and out-of-this-world event.