Surfers out in force for 37th ​Merimbula Classic

Balance: A stand up paddle boarder cruises over the lip of a wave on Sunday morning with more than 200 surfers hitting the water for the Merimbula Classic.
Balance: A stand up paddle boarder cruises over the lip of a wave on Sunday morning with more than 200 surfers hitting the water for the Merimbula Classic.

More than 200 surfers packed out Merimbula’s Main Beach for the 37th Merimbula Classic. 

Organisers said it was a huge roll call of entries, which included visitors from Hawaii, Scotland, Japan and right across Australia. 

Kite entries were also bolstered as the event incorporated the Kiting Australia Kite Nationals competition. 

Waves were pretty small across the competition with some glassy two footers rolling through for most of the weekend, which favoured the SUP relays and wave sailors. 

Event director John Smythe said there was plenty of wind though, giving spectators a look at some of the best kite surfers in their element.

“it was also an opportunity to witness foil surfing in the area for the first time,” Smythe said. 

Newcastle surfer Peri Roberts was named the winner of the major prize as the Ben Wilson kiter of the future. 

Roberts will get the chance to stay on Namotu Island and surf with Ben Wilson and some of the world’s best during the Ben Wilson Kite Week event. 

Ashley Brunette won the Gary McKenzie-Smith award. 

With about $50,000 in prizes awarded, a number of Ulladulla surfers topped the tables, while visitors and locals alike shared in the spoils. 

Ulladulla’s Kai Bates headed up the stand up paddle boarders in the open men’s contest, while James Carew won the kites and Dean Hendrie was the best of the wave sailors. 

Roberts took out the ladies’ crown on the kites, while Ulladulla’s Cheryl Cater had the best of the wave sailing and Peru’s Brissa Malaga headed the SUP. 

In the junior draw, Charlie Wise was the best kite surfer, with James Fink atop the wave sailors and Josh Stretton carving it up on the SUP stage. 

The prizes winners out of the locals were Peter O’Keefe with the kite, while Ginna Graham impressed on the wave sailing and Rob Stanieri made the most of his time with the SUP. 

There were also masters and grand master veteran classes awarded. 

‘Team Starboard’ were the winners of the major SUP relay events that went ahead on Saturday and Sunday mornings. 

Smythe said the weather for the weekend was exceptional, with some gloom providing bookends for the Merimbula Classic. 

Early registrations were met with driizzle before skies cleared right through a surprise storm on Sunday afternoon following presentations. Smythe thanked all the volunteers who made the classic happen, while commending entries that graced Main Beach.