Jack Freestone ices a lip as competition kicks off this morning at Merewether. Photo by ASP/Robertson Jack Freestone ices a lip as competition kicks off this morning at Merewether. Photo by ASP/Robertson

Newcastle Surfest is back and bigger than ever in 2014 celebrating 29 years of good vibes and historic surfing in one of Australia’s most beautiful surf cities. 11 days of competition surfing blend together with music, food and bikini babes in a whitewash of Novocastrian culture. Oh, and of course witnessing the 2014 champions being carried up the beach and presented with the famed MR Trophy.

Boasting a record number of entries this year, Surfest and the ‘Mayor of Merewether’ Mark Richards will be welcoming back last years champions Joel Parkinson and Dimity Stoyle. A whole host of national and international heroes are due to compete in the Burton Toyota Pro (Men’s 6-Star event) and the Hunter Ports Women’s Classic (Women’s 6-Star event), along with another 8 supporting competitions that include the Tooheys Extra Dry Expression Session, the Surfaid Cup and the Visit NSW Air Show.

Surfest has always been regarded as one of the most highly anticipated international events on the surfing calendar. Since its inauguration in 1985 it’s fair to say; it rarely disappoints. Carrying on the tradition of attracting the world’s best surfers, from Tom Curren, Mark Occhilupo, Tom Carroll and Barton Lynch in the early days to more recently; Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson. This years men’s entries include Julian Wilson, Matt Wilkinson, Yadin Nicol, Jack Freestone, Dane Reynolds, Adriano De Souza, Felipe Toledo and Fredrick Patacchia. While the women’s division includes Stephanie Gilmore, Sally Fitzgibbons, Laura Enever, Rebecca Woods, Courtney Conlogue, Bianca Buitenday, Alana Blanchard, Malia Manuel and Paige Hareb.

So do whatever you have to do, pull however many strings necessary to ensure yourself a good time in Newcastle. Get your parents to write you a letter excusing you from school, cash in all your sick days at work, bundle the kids off to the mother in-laws for a week, or just bring them along for the ride anyway. Surfest 2014 is officially un-freaking-missable.

February 17 - 23 Merewether Beach, Newcastle

Watch Surfest Live here