Proudly presented by Vissla, the Byron Bay Surf Festival completes it’s 12th edition, and one of the best yet!

If you wanted proof that the Byron Bay Surf Festival (BBSF) is well connected with the surf gods, then the just completed 2022 Festival provided exactly that. Friday dawned to wet, miserable, cold, sloppy, on-shore conditions at Byron that lasted all morning. As the sun started to appear early afternoon, the Vissla Cosmic Creek part of the Festival dipped its toe in the water for an expression session at Clarks Beach and with it launched the first ever version of the 24 yr old event on Aussie shores!

Come Saturday, Festival goers awoke to clear blue skies, brilliant sunshine and waves – both at Clarkes and at Wategos. Eric Diamond, the American-based Cosmic Creek creator, and John Mossop, Vissla Australia Grand Poo-bah, were over the moon with the premiere of Cosmic Creek in Australia. Winner Grinners were Open Men Quinn Bruce, Open Women Lucy Callister, 20-30yrs Toby Mossop, 31-40 yrs Joel McCabe, 41yrs + Damien Healey, and Creators & Innovators champion Alex Crews of ACSOD Shapes.

Over at Wategos, the Luxico Wizards and Mermaids Logger comp was on a tight timeframe, as the Festival had to be off the beach by early afternoon to allow for a carry forward wedding booking from 2020 – covid has provided many complications but congratulations to the newlyweds. The Wizards Blokes winner was Matt Cuddihy and the Mermaids winner was Bea Conroy. The URBNSURF U/18 Winners were Sam Williams & Chelsea Tingle while the HydroFlask Old Mal (mixed), was taken out by Sierra Lerback. This means Sierra has completed the double! Winning the Old Mal in Noosa earlier this year and now Byron!

Sierra Lerback on her way to winning the Old Mal title presented by Hydro Flask

Sunday was another magic Byron day, with Varuna Surfboards hosting the Freestyle & Stoke sessions. The end of the day saw the hugely popular BBSF party wave sponsored by Dr Bronners won for the second year in a row by Jayben Poy, whilst other division winners included:

  • Softech Sliders – Jude Bell

  • Varuna Woodsniffers – Brothers Fin & Marley Warren

  • World Surfaris Gliders – Reid Carson

  • Surfers for Climate Mixed Logger – Sam Lopert

  • The teams Challenge trophy went to Pepper Shapes.

We lost count of how many beautiful hollow wooden surfboards were given away as prizes by the very generous Damien Cole & Lauren Bos from Varuna Surfboards.

On the surf culture front, George Greenough’s Echoes raised a significant sum for Byron’s Liberation Larder, who do an outstanding job feeding the Byron homeless. The new Jack Coleman film ‘Natural High’ played to a sell-out audience at the Palace Cinemas with an open bar courtesy of Official Beer Partners GAGE ROADS BREWING CO. Tricia Shantz launched ‘Neverland’ – her book about the history of surfing in Byron Bay – to a packed audience and the sounds of Beau Young along with Rusty Miller and the Yanx.

Terry ‘Tappa’ Teece (Left), Eric Diamond (Centre), John Mossop (Right)

At the official Festival opening night on Friday night, the legendary surf film-maker Jack McCoy presented his ‘Tales from the Tube’ with special guests Derek Hynd and Jaleesa Vincent. But Saturday night, Gage Roads Brewing Co and the Rails Pub hosted the event of the Festival!

The free entry Forever Frothing Party. What a night! All the bands were amazing and got the party started before The Terrys came on to close the show in style. The place had gone off the rails in more ways than one. By all reports the liveliest night that Byron town has seen in years!

The sold out Varuna Surfboards closing party at The Secret Garden on Sunday evening, where the official award ceremony was held along with an Environmental panel and pumping live music, was a little more of a mellow affair, as there were still a few sore heads from Saturday night. There were way too many people to thank on the evening but compere and Wategos commentator Thomas Alexander did his best.

We would love to thank the following people who do a lot of behind the scenes work to make this event possible:

  • John Finlay & James McMillan – Festival Directors

  • Josh Allen – Event & Sponsorship Manager

  • Eliza Quaine – Event & Sponsorship Coordinator

  • Thomas Alexander – Festival Emcee

  • Amanda Pummer – Sustainability Coordinator

  • John Andrews – PA & Audio

  • Wayne McFetridge – Festival Marketing

  • Luke Madden & team – Surfing NSW

  • John Mossop and the team – Vissla

  • Naomi Waite – BBSF Scoring Operator

So that’s a wrap from the 2022 Byron Bay Surf Festival. Bring on September 2023!!!