Surfers to carve up Easter Classic

SURF'S UP: Surfers will descend on Robe for the 56th annual Easter Classic competition this weekend. Picture: CHRIS LEMAR

James Murphy

THE 56th annual Robe Easter Classic surf competition will take place off the shores of the popular tourist town this weekend.

The event always attracts a crowd and entries are looking good for the 2024 edition.

Each year the competition is surfed on the day with the best conditions, which according to event organiser Sam Woolston would most likely be the Saturday.

“We are getting organised and looking good so far,” he said.

“We were scratching around looking for someone to do food, but the Kingston footy club is going to do a barbie as a fundraiser.”

Woolston said it was a “90-95 per cent chance” the competition would be held at the popular Stony Rise break, more commonly referred to as “Stonies”.

Originally first heats were scheduled to be in the water at 7.30am, but with sunrise predicted to not be until that time, Woolston said it would probably be pushed back to 8am.

Conditions look favourable and there should be plenty of opportunity for competitors to showcase their skills.

“(The wind) looked a bit South East, but it is turning a bit more North East which is a prime wind,” Woolston said.

“It is kind of the right size swell, around two metres which usually means it will be two to four foot – which is not too flat and not too big.

“The banks haven’t been really good at Stonies for months, which is a rare occurrence, but we did have a big swell (early this week) so hopefully it has shaken the sand bars around a little bit.”

As is the case with such events, the conditions are a “luck of the draw”.

However, that does not stop keen surfers from giving their all, in hopes of lifting the trophy at the end of the day.

“We have 32 (entries) at the moment (as of Wednesday) and I reckon as it gets closer if the waves look good it will probably fill out to the cap of 40,” Woolston said.

Reigning champion Corey Taylor will return to defend his title, while there are plenty of past winners among the field.

“We have Max Longhurst who has won it a couple of times and Luke Skyora who has won it,” Woolston said.

Finn Barry is another big name on the entry list, but an injury could have him pushed down the order.

As Woolston put it “he has no knee”, which could make his time in the water an interesting experience.

Of course, there are also the less experienced who are eager to impress, with plenty of local talents ready to carve up.

“We have a whole new generation of local groms, like Ben Legoe, Harry Hooper, Glen Wright, Flynn Peel and Ollie Haggett,” Woolston said.

Also from a local perspective, seven-time winner Ben Harris will be in the mix, while Mark Bruce is another experienced surfer in the fold.

The track to Stony Rise is best reached by four-wheel-drive, while dogs are not permitted in the national park.

“They have just laid fresh baits out throughout the park and it will also be an on-the-spot fine,” Woolston said.

For those interested in fully embracing the spirit of the event, Steve’s Place has stocked its annual Easter Classic merchandise, with stock always in high demand.