Burleigh Boardrider’s Single Fin Festival Defies Stingy Surfless Summer

Surf Conny With No Waves The Best Surf Conny Ever

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Are you one of those goofballs who thinks that to have a great surf contest you must also have great waves? Haha! Darl, you are way off! It’s not the surf that surf fans long for, it’s the atmosphere! You can keep your designated seating areas, distant roped off pros and no cracking beers anywhere outside the sponsor’s tent until after the final hooter too. Just give us a patch of grass where a die-hard can throw down a picnic blanket next to Creedo, Otis and Occy, give us a headland strewn with interesting and varied craft to dissect and discuss with our fellow sun cooked shred heads, give us a home among the pandanus trees with live music, cheap sausage sangas, perfect weather and the best vibes of the year. Give us the Burleigh Boardrider’s Single Fin Festival for Pete (Harris’) sakes!

Now in its 21st year the BBSFF along with their eternal buddies at Billabong has nailed having a hell time down to a fine art and despite the fact this year served up the worst slop we’ve seen off the iconic point in the history of life on Earth, it didn’t dampen the mood of the weekend one little bit.

Highlights included the annual charity luncheon where we learned the true stories behind Parko’s infamous missed heat in the Fiji Pro a few years ago (shipwrecked!), what happened when Taj Burrow accidentally ended up on a Mentawai boat trip full of giant Brazilian MMA experts (true love!) and the result of Simon Law riding the last wave of his career switchfoot at maxing first reef Pipeline (blasted into a billion pieces!). The punters then took turns bidding for Taj Burrow’s Keramas winning surfboard ($1500), JJF’s 2018 World Title winning yellow rashie from the Pipe Masters ($3500) and Danny Green’s winning gloves from his second fight with Anthony Mundine (48c). 

The rest of the weekend was biz as we’ve come to expect. Hanging out, talking surf, getting cooked by that lethal bastard Queensland sun and paying homage to the original board designs that carried our bedroom wall heroes to all their timeless glory. No doubt about it, single fins that pre-date 1985 are beautiful creations, even the shit ones, of which there were quite a few as well.

In the end it was first time invitee Taj Burrow who took out the comp and a lovely new Ian Byrne singley (and he also has a new book of images you can see here). Taj did this by groveling a whole heap better than everyone else, but my personal highlight was when former world number one Beau Emerton came in halfway through his waveless heat against Hoyo, Brizzo, Law, Champ and Kerrbox, climbed over those infamous slimy boulders, grabbed two Vonu’s from a little padded esky strapped on the back of his pushie, climbed back over the rocks and paddled back out to share the nectar with his old touring buddies while the entire Burleigh headland stood and cheered as one.

Yep, everything about that big iconic point on the first weekend in January reeks of the glory days of pro surf spectating. Families and friends, young and old, the healthy and the toothless, sitting on the grass and sharing their love of surf… even when there ain’t none to be had. 

Vaughan Blakey