Get ready for month of 'MAYhem' in the Bay
Starting with the Byron Underwater Festival and then followed by the Byron Bay Winter Whales Ocean Swim; Byron Bay Malibu Classic, Classic and the Byron Bay Triathlon, all events have received support from the town’s peak business body – Byron United.
The business group has even funded a new range of banners to celebrate the ‘wonderful water and sporting events’ which take place in the town in May.
“Byron United acknowledges the impact theese events have on the local economy,” executive officer Diana Liptrot said.
“They also add much needed colour and flavour to the town during this quiet month.”
Ms Liptrot said the events brought local and interstate participants to town to promote its wonderful sporting heritage.
Starting on April 27 and running until May 3, the Byron Underwater Festival is the first of the events to be held.
The festival promotes the beauty of what lies beneath the ocean and the fact that Julian Rocks is one of Australia’s top 10 dive sites.
One of the world’s leading dive legends and underwater pioneers Neville Coleman will be a guest of the 2009 festival.
There will also be an underwater photo and video worskhop and a shoot-out competiiton; wildlife and artists presentations and marine visions open medium art competition with more than $5000 in prizes.
On Sunday, May 3, swimmers from all over Australia will converge on the Bay for the milestone 21st Beach Hotel Byron Bay Winter Whales Ocean Swim Classic.
This year’s swim is expected to attract more than 1500 swimmers with national and international swimmers competing.
Former Commonwealth and Olympic swimmer Hayley Lewis will swim in this year’s elite superfish category.
The two oldest swimmers who have registered for the race are 87, and once again this year the event will see three generations swimming - a grandfather, son and grandson.
Grant Hackett holds the record for the race of 19 minutes which he set as a 15-year-old.
The 2.2 kilometre open ocean swim from Wategos Beach to Main Beach is one of the most popular ocean swims in Australia.
For those swimmers who may not want to tackle the long swim, a mini ocean swim of 800 metres will also be held.
This swim will start west of The Pass and finish in front of the Byron Bay Surf Club.
There will also be the annual ‘Dash for Cash’ where swimmers participate in a sprint to a buoy and back for cash prizes.
The following weekend will be busy with the staging of the annual Byron Bay Triathlon on Saturday, May 9 and the finals of the annual Byron Bay Malibu Classic on Sunday.
In its 29th year, the classic will start on May 8 and longboard surfers from all over the east coast from Sydney to Noosa will compete.
There will also be a contingent of surfers from New Zealand.
Presented by the Byron Bay Malibu Club, the three-day contest will be held at Wategos Beach.
The major sponsor is the Byron Bay Bowling Club and all money raised will be donated to the Cape Byron Headland Trust, Coastal Patrol and Westpac Rescue Helicopter.
The Byron Bay Triathlon on May 9 is an iconic event and one that is popular with professional competitors.
It is one of the few Olympic-distance races now held in Australia and is the last race of the triathlon season.
The race involves a 1.5 km swim, 40 km cycle from Byron Bay to Lennox Head and back and a 10 km run along the Byron Bay foreshore and town.
This year’s triathlon has attracted 800 competitors, the biggest ever, with competitors coming from all over Australia, including the 2007 winner Luke McKenzie from Queensland.
Event co-ordinator Jacque Hogan said she expected another very successful event.
“There is a good line up in the professional field as well as lots of locals competing in teams or as individuals,” she said.
“This year we are raising money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation and locally for the Byron Bay Breast Cancer Support Group and there will be more than 300 females who will participate and they will all wear pink.”
Elsewhere in the shire, the very popular annual Bangalow Billycart Derby will be held on Sunday, May 17.