CLASSIC: A finals heat from the 1985 Byron Bay Malibu Club Classic
CLASSIC: A finals heat from the 1985 Byron Bay Malibu Club Classic Contributed

Big board elegance and grace

EXCITEMENT is building among longboard aficionados ahead of the Byron Bay Malibu Classic on April 22-24 at Watego Beach in Byron Bay.

One-hundred and sixty competitors, including six from New Zealand are already signed up ready to put on a display of style and grace on the water.

"Malibu surfing is a very elegant style of surfing as opposed to the more aggressive style favoured by short board surfers," said Malibu Club president Quentin Wright. "At our competition there is always a good friendly vibe which is very much attuned to the original ethos of surfing.

"There really are a set of very traditional manoeuvres that are used in Malibu surfing and a good surfer can make catching a wave look like a very graceful dance."

Mr Wright said despite the size and weight of some mals, a good surfer can manoeuvre these boards very easily and that increasing numbers of younger surfers taking up this style of surfing.

"There are a variety of sections open in our competition including sections for some of the very old style boards that are becoming popular among younger surfing purists," he said. The style with these older boards is all about trim and riding the nose - or hanging five or 10 - which certainly the classic longboard move.

"Itis a style commonly associated with Australian surfing legend Midget Farrelly, and you don't need to have a particularly large wave to make it work."

Aside from just preserving and celebrating a surfing tradition The Malibu Classic raises money for local charities and community groups.

"Over that past 36 years we have raised more than $250,000 and last year's event alone raised $18,000," said Mr Wright. To do this we rely heavily on our 30 sponsors and we are very grateful for their ongoing support."