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Surfest is the largest surfing festival in the southern hemisphere. The event sees over 700 competitors from more than two dozen countries who attend the event.

Surfest will commence at the Reflections Cadet Cup at Bonny Hills and conclude at the scenic Merewether Beach.

Surfest 2024 Newcastle, Dates, Heats, Prize Money, Program & Times

In 2024, Surfest Newcastle Australia is made possible through the support of Burton Automotive, the NSW government and Destination NSW, the City of Newcastle, Reflections Holiday Parks, Newcastle Business Community crowdfunding and Newcastle and Hunter regional businesses.

In 2024, Surfest Newcastle Australia will feature the Burton Automotive Pro and the Newcastle Racecourse Women’s Pro (WSL Qualifying Series 5000 events), the Burton Automotive Pro Junior (WSL Junior Qualifying Series 1000 event), and six supporting events.

The surfing festival will run from 10 February 2024 to 17 March 2024 at Port Stephens and Newcastle City beaches, with the WSL QS5000 events at Merewether Beach, a recognised Australian National Surfing Reserve.

Reflections Cadet Cup

On February 10 and 11, the first-ever Reflections Cadet Cup will be held in Bonny Hills, on the NSW Mid North Coast, drawing the hottest teen surfing talent on the east coast to compete in boys and girls Under 12s, 14s and 16s categories.

The Cadet Cup will support youth through thrilling surf competition and encourage people to get outdoors to enjoy the event, which will include ‘eats and beats’ back at Reflections Bonny Hills on Saturday from 4pm with food trucks and a chill-out zone.

Burton Automotive Pro Junior

The Burton Automotive Pro Junior will be held on Birubi Beach on Saturday, 24th, and Sunday, 25th of February 2024. The event is open to male and female competitors aged 20 years and younger.

The inaugural Burton Automotive Pro Junior is a World Surf League Junior Qualifying Series event. It will provide a great opportunity for the Hunter’s best up-and-coming surfers to compete in an international event and experience competition at the highest level.

The Burton Automotive Pro Junior will attract around 100 male and female competitors aged 20 years and under from across the Asia-Pacific region, all competing for equal prize money.

Sanbah Cadet Cup supported by Ocean & Earth

The Sanbah Cadet Cup supported by Ocean & Earth, is the perfect opportunity for young, emerging male and female surfers to gain invaluable contest experience. The contest comprises six (6) divisions – Boys and Girls Under 16 years, Boys and Girls Under 14 years, Boys and Girls Under 12 years.

The contest is held at South Bar Beach and is nationally ranked at 4500 points in the Surfing Australia national rankings. Competitors will gain points on the national rankings for their final placings.

Evolution Charity Cup

Evolution is getting ready to ride the waves for a good cause at the sixth Evolution Charity Cup, set to take place at Merewether Beach on Friday, March 8th, 2024. This event has become an essential part of Surfest 2024, promising a fantastic day for business and surfing alike while making a positive impact on our community.

In the past, Evolution Advisers proudly sponsored SurfAid, raising over $120,000 for their humanitarian efforts. They also stepped up for The Mark Hughes Foundation, contributing an impressive $350,000 to support vital brain cancer research.

Surfest Indigenous Classic

The Surfest Indigenous Classic has been integral to Surfest for over 26 years. It has progressed from its beginnings as “The Kooris V The Cops” to now one of the most prestigious Indigenous surfing events in Australia.

Featuring Open Men, Open Women, Pro Junior Men, Pro Junior Women, and an Open Masters division, the event has non-elimination rounds that allow surfers a second chance format similar to the WSL world tour events. Organisers are proud that the divisions have equal prize money for men and women.

The event is a gathering of soul surfers who travel from Queensland, Victoria, and Regional NSW, as well as the younger generation of professional surfers who are establishing their surfing careers.

Newcastle Racecourse Women’s Pro

The Newcastle Racecourse Women’s Pro marks 38 years of the iconic Newcastle sporting event and the 8th year that the region’s business community has joined together to crowd fund this world class professional surfing contest for women. The 2024 naming rights crowd funder is Newcastle Racecourse.

The crowdfunding initiative began in 2015 when local business banker, Col Law, developed a crowdfunding idea. Col worked with Surfest organiser Warren Smith and a number of local business people to develop a strategy to fund the event. This strategy would ensure that Newcastle’s iconic Surfest would provide world-class opportunity for women in the sport.

Burton Automotive Pro

In 2024 the Burton Automotive Pro will be a World Surf League (WSL) QS 5000 Pro with prize money totalling AU$50,000. The event happens on the iconic National Surfing Reserve, Merewether beach, Newcastle NSW between the 11th March and 17th March 2024.

After many years of support by the Burton family, the Burton Automotive Pro has evolved into an event rich in professional surfing history. The honour roll includes a stellar list of past world champions such as Tom Carroll, Barton Lynch, Damien Hardman, Mark Occhilupo, Kelly Slater, Tom Curren and Joel Parkinson.

The Mutual Bank High Schools Team Challenge

The Mutual Bank High School Team Challenge will be held at South Bar Beach on Thursday 14 & Friday, March 15, at South Bar Beach.

The High Schools Teams Challenge is open only to NSW High Schools. There is no entry fee, and prizes will be awarded to schools that reach the final. There will be divisions for both boys’ and girls’ teams.

There will be two non elimination rounds before the knockout rounds begin. Each team can have a maximum of 5 surfers, with only three surfers competing in each heat.

There will be time bonus points allocated for each heat, and the rules are explained in the entry form.

Surfest started in 1985 when Newcastle’s residents were desperately trying to get rid of the industrial image and showcase the beauty of Newcastle’s beaches and surf breaks to people outside the region. The first competition (the BHP Steel International) was the richest professional surfing event in the world at that time. This notoriety drove competitors and spectators to the iconic event, and for more than three decades, Surfest has now become Australia’s largest surfing festival.

Each year, Surfest offers 12 different surfing events during the competition. Visitors coming to spectate should note that this is much more than just a great surfing competition – it is a celebration of the city of Newcastle, its residents and their relationship and culture with the Australian beaches.

Aside from the surfing, a pop-up market runs on selected days during the event. The market showcases a variety of handmade items and art produced by local artists. Of course, a market would not be complete without a diverse range of delicious treats and food from food stalls and restaurants nearby.

Surfest’s reach extends beyond those present at the event. Through a webcast, the fun and excitement of Surfest can be shared with the rest of the world. So whether you are a keen surfer or spectator, Surfest has something for everyone to enjoy!

About the author

Michael Jones

Michael created and runs the Sydney Point website, as well as the Holiday Point travel brand that incorporates a network of 16 location based travel information and attraction websites around Australia, Asia, and around the world.

With 25+ years of online experience and a passion for travel (having visited Sydney many times and seeing a lot of the city in the process), Michael not only researches and writes content for the website, he also tinkers behind the scenes with the website functionality & design.

Please reach out if you have any questions or suggestions.

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What date is the Surfest?
What time is the Surfest?
Sat 10 Feb - Sun 11 Feb: Reflections Cadet Cup at Bonny Hills
Sat 17 Feb: Burton Automotive Surfest Wildcard Trials 2024 at Birubi Beach
Sat 24 Feb - Sun 25 Feb: Burton Automotive Pro Junior at Birubi Beach
Sat 2 Mar - Sun 3 Mar: Sanbah Cadet Cup supported by Ocean & Earth at South Bar Beach
Fri 8 Mar - Fri 8 Mar: Evolution Charity Cup at Merewether Beach
Sat 9 Mar - Sun 10 Mar: Surfest Indigenous Classic at Merewether Beach
Mon 11 Mar - Sun 17 Mar: Newcastle Racecourse Women’s Pro at Merewether Beach
Mon 11 Mar - Sun 17 Mar: Burton Automotive Pro at Merewether Beach
Thu 14 Mar - Fri 15 Mar: The Mutual Bank High Schools Team Challenge at South Bar Beach

Please visit our website for more information on the Surfest.
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What is the Surfest address?
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