This June, Boomerang Beach harbours the NSW SurfMasters titles, bringing keen surfers from all over Australia to compete for a NSW title. Focus caught up with Ethan Smith, event coordinator, about the ins and outs of this year’s event …
Hi Ethan. Give us an overview of the event…
The Surfmasters titles at Boomerang Beach is the NSW State Titles for competitors in the over 35s, 40s, 45s, 50s 55s and 60s divisions. It’s an event that allows them to then qualify for the Australian Titles, which take place in Coffs Harbour in August.
There are two titles up for grabs at this year’s event, NSW Surfmasters aged 35 years and over, and open single fin. Tell us a bit about the fundamentals of the single fin title …
That’s correct. Single fin is more of your traditional style of surfing – a little bit more retrospective. There are a fair few rules that come into it, where the fin has to be set in a certain place on the competitor’s board and their board has to be of a certain thickness. It really is more for the purist surfer, and they like sticking to that one fin as opposed to the three or four fin set ups.
How many competitors do you generally see come through the comp each year?
A little bit over 150. Year on year we have seen pretty massive growth; you see hoards of people come from different parts of Australia, making a weekend of it. People come from near and far to try and bag themselves a NSW title.
What weather conditions are expected?
The reason we have chosen Boomerang before is because it is able to be held in such different weather conditions. Whether the swell be from the south, you can hide down the south end, because it’s a little bit more protected, and then up the northern end if the wind goes nor-east you’re a little bit more hidden – that’s kind of the reason. I don’t think we’ve ever had a comp there that I’ve had to call off due to the surf being too flat or too big, because it kind of is a bit of a surfer’s paradise.
For those keen to enter this year’s comp, how do they do so?
Head along to surfingnsw.com.au and then follow the links to the HIF NSW Surfmasters Title and fill in the blanks!
Competing at this year’s NSW surfmasters is local lass Mel Bartz. we caught up with Mel in the lead up to the event …
Hi Mel. Take us back to when you were just a kid starting out; what or who inspired you to start surfing?
I grew up in Terrigal on the Central Coast. I did a lot of sports as a kid and loved them all, but about the age of 10 I discovered surfing, and from that day on it was my number one. My best friend’s dad was a surfer; he taught us and took us surfing in his bright blue Kombi almost every day after school and on weekends. My mum and dad took me all around Australia to compete in my junior years; I was lucky to have such supportive parents.
What journey has your skill and passion taken you on?
I’ve been all over the world, both for competition in my early twenties and since then just for a general love of chasing waves and new adventures. Some of my favourite places were Hawaii, southwest France and of course, Indonesia.
Tell us about some of the accolades and titles you’ve won.
I competed on the World Qualifying Series and had some good results over the years, but a good monetary sponsorship was hard to come by back then for all but the top females. I competed full-time for a year or two with a sponsor paying my way, and then part-time for a few years after that.
In the amateur ranks I won the NSW State Open Title twice and was runner up in the Australian Open Titles twice also.
You’re now a mother with young children. Have you got them out in the water yet?
We have two daughters: Leilani, 4 and Kyah,18 months. Our eldest has a bright pink foam surfboard and has a go when the conditions are right; she’s had her best surfs in the corner down at Seal Rocks. They both have wetsuits and love the beach, which is lucky, because we spend a lot of time there!
What are you looking forward to about the Surfmasters event coming up?
I surf almost every day and compete in the Boomerang Beach Boardriders each month. Other than that, I have barely competed over the past few years, as we’ve been busy having kids and running our business, Kembali Café. I’ve always loved competing, because I enjoy having an event to train towards. I’m also really looking forward to catching up with old friends I used to travel with.
Do you have any advice for those in the over 35s age bracket who love surfing but haven’t competed in the Surfmasters comp before?
Well, this is my first year as an over 35 – which is a bit scary, because in my mind I’m still 25 ha ha!
I guess to set a goal you want to achieve, but remember to have fun. Also, enjoy the beautiful beaches and waves we have here, whilst respecting the local surfers of the area.
Photo credit: Ethan Smith