Thirty years on and the Byron Bay Malibu Classic is still going strong.
The Byron Bay Malibu Club has presented this event each of those years for the benefit of local charities and to have an excuse to catch up with old and new friends for a social surf and entertainment.
The Byron Bay Malibu Classic started out in the early years of the eighties when the Byron Bay Easter Classic was held over Easter and amongst the divisions were the Old Mals.
Old locals such as Peter Robinson, Rick Light, Max Pendergast, Greg Snelling and Chris Milgate all used to compete and the finals were always at Cosy Corner until after about three years Max Pendergast offered to run the division at a separate venue, courtesy of the newly formed Malibu Club.
As I was a shortboarder in those days it was great to see them take it on and we being the Seahorse Boardriders Club were happy to relinquish that division to the Byron Bay Malibu Club who have made it the longest-running single-fin event in Australia
Events like these can’t run unless they have the support of the business community and the volunteers to organise it to save money and give back to the community.
Our presenting sponsor again this year is Club Byron (Byron Bay Bowling Club) and some of our major sponsors have been with us for nearly the full 30 years.
Those sponsors being Surf Aids, BC Hats and Sundive. Other major sponsors are McTavish Surfboards, Munro Surfboards, Byron Bay Longboards, Out the Back Surfboards, Sanctum Surfboards, Westcoast Surfboards, Bic Sports, Amore Coffee, Why Not Cafe, Quiver Kaddy, Old Mill Timberyard, First National Real Estate, Beachside Apartments, Byron Hire, Batsons Leisurescapes and Byron Bay Property Sales.
And a special mention to all the minor sponsors who many have supported the event since its beginning and they are Bay Action surf shop, In The Pink Ice Creams, John D’erry Prints, Earth & Sea Pizzas and Byron Bay Camping who come on board every year for a good cause.
This year all money raised is going to the Westpac Helicopter, Volunteer Coastal Patrol, Uncle Project, Byron Bay Youth Centre and the Cape Byron Headland Trust.
Each year we draw competitors from all over the country and even international ones at times. We have competitors from as far north as Noosa and south to Sydney. We have a crew from New Zealand and a competitor from France.
The following guys though have been attending the event for the past 30 years and they are all great supporters of the contest: the Newcastle boys Ron Rudder, Col Walmsley, Terry O’Donoghue, Kevin Lewis and we can’t forget their wives who follow them along and spend the money. There is Tiki Neville from the Central Coast, Bully Arnold, Terry Taylor, Bernie Dalton, Dave West, Steve Lord and Darryl Green from the Gold Coast. Our Local members Chris Milgate, Max and Yvonne Pendergast, Paul McCarthy, John Dixon, Bruce Catlin and the stalwart of the club, Stu Wallace.
Along with the regulars competing this year there will be great surfers like five-times Australian open champ and world title holder in 2007, Josh Constable.
He will be challenged by Matt Aldridge and Craig Harvey from the Gold Coast, James Tanner from New Zealand and local lads Chris Milgate and Beau Nixon.
In the open women Kara Nobbs from Lennox and Brodie Murray from Byron will have Jodie Barsby from Crescent Head to overcome as Jodie is a very powerful surfer on her day.
In the age divisions the guys to look out for would be our local Alan Atkins and Warwick Bracey in the over 60s who will be fighting off Bully Arnold and Nev Smith from the Gold Coast, local Peter Hall has a fight to hold off Mike Pimm from Cabarita and Kym Presgrave from Sunshine Coast.
Ross Cribb from Evans Head and Phil Fluro Mansfield are the two to watch in the over 50s.
In the younger division, come and watch local Lee Miller, Jye Pendergast and Jack Van Delf take on Aussie title-holders Richard Smith of Sawtell, Hayden Swan of Yamba and old local Reid Jonson of Noosa.
In The Big Boys, over 100kg, local Johnny Keevers will have his hands full with Marty Ferrier from Brisbane and TV legend and chef Andy Phipps from Noosa. That will be a great event to watch.
We can’t forget the Old Mals. We have Gareth Donovan, Aussie champ and local legend up against some young guns in Damien Andrews, Sunshine Coast, James Tanner NZ and young local Jack Milgate. It’s another hot division.
All this will take place over three days starting tomorrow at Wategos Beach, with all night-time entertainment at Club Byron, with bands every night. Presentation will be at the club at 3pm on Sunday.
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