Major Surfing Events
No matter what coast you visit, there are many opportunities to shred with the best of them on the surf, whether you are grabbing your long board and heading out into the ocean yourself or playing it safe along the shoreline.
Margaret River Pro in Western Australia
This competition lets the top 200 surfers in the world square off at Surfer's Point in Prevelly during March. In 2013, the Margaret River Pro hosted such esteemed surfers as World Champions Joel Parkinson and Stephanie Gilmore. Surfer's Point has been recognised as one of the top surfing locations in the world, even competing with Hawaii's Banzai Pipeline and Tahiti's Teahupo'o. Don't expect to see any novice moves here, as a title could earn you up to AU$100,000 in prize money. It's isn't all work and no play, either. There are several art, music and fashion events that allow you to taste some great wine and hear awesome tunes as you marvel at athletic prowess.
Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach, Victoria
If you don't have plans for Easter yet, mark your calendars and secure your HomeAway accommodation at Torquay. Many surfers only dream of taking to the surf here, as the Rip Curl Pro is the world's longest-running surfing contest and draws in some pretty impressive names in the surfing world, such as Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning and Mark Richards. Expect to see plenty of theatrical tricks and turns at Bells Beach - the swells here sometimes measure up to 5 metres tall. Be sure to get here early as well, because thousands of spectators will be lining the sands to catch a glimpse of some of the sport's biggest international superstars. In addition to the surfing contest, there is also a music festival that coincides with the event, which is held throughout the long weekend over the Easter holiday.
Australian Surf Life Saving Championships at Scarborough Beach, Perth
Ok, this isn't technically a surfing contest, but it is nonetheless one of the nation's premier sporting events. It's also one of the oldest in Australia, dating back to 1915. The Australian Surf Life Saving Championships, known to locals as simply "The Aussies," features life saving skills in all forms, from surf boating to R and R to belt swimming. The competition can get quite fierce, as some 4,500 competitors take to the beach - many of them triathletes. The heats take place for over a week at the end of March and early April, so you can't beat the weather at this 382-event championship. If you are looking at a Perth holiday, this is the perfect event to check out during your stay.
Surfest at Newcastle, New South Wales
At Merewether Beach in Newcastle around early March, more than 10,000 spectators will be lining the shores to check out Surfest, which has been part of the community since 1985. Since then, it has become one of the biggest venues of its kind in Australia and is a an easy two-hour trek from Sydney. There are all kinds of contest to see here, from junior and high school competitions to Aboriginal surfing at the Indigenous Classic, in addition to two World Qualifying Series Events. The stakes will be high in March, as this area is known for massive southerly swells and right-hand breaks.
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast in Queensland
If you like to surf as well as party, then grab your board and head to the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast in Queensland, which lasts two full weeks starting in late February. This is also the opener for the World Series, and understandably, a lot of surfers and fans alike love to celebrate with a little revelry. Even if you just want to sit back and enjoy the scene, the white sand beaches here will be well worth the trip, but if you want to be in the middle of all the action, we suggest viewing the competitions at Kirra, Broadbeach and the Snapper Rocks Superbank. This event is known for long waves and lots of daredevil stunts, so expect a lot of oohs and ahhs while you stand on the shore. Many of the Gold Coast winners here end up going to the finals in Hawaii, so who knows? You may just witness the world's next champion while you are here.