Lake Mac Festival of Surfing to host Australia’s richest-ever SUP event

The 2018 Lake Mac Festival of Surfing Festival of Surfing has received a massive boost with the addition the richest Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) contest ever seen in Australia as part of Surfest Newcastle Australia.

The inaugural Lake Mac FOS ECS Boards Surf SUP and Paddle Battle will see a $23,000 purse up for grabs in contests featuring three SUP surfing events in men’s, women’s and mixed divisions, and four ocean-racing Paddle Battle events. The events have already attracted elite international and Australian male and female SUP surfers and ocean racers.

The Lake Mac Longboard Classic and Lake Mac Shortboard Masters will also be contested on January 21 and 22, 2018. While slotted for Redhead beach, the Lake Mac Festival of Surfing is a mobile event that can respond to ocean conditions and be conducted on any of Lake Mac’s marvellous beaches.

Defending ​Lake Mac SUP champion Harry Maskell from Wamberal on the Central Coast says the purse on offer is an added incentive for SUP surfers.

“There’s surfers coming from Hawaii and the US as well as practically every Australian state. This really is a big event for SUP surfers and shows where the sport is heading,” the 20-year-old said.

Maskell has had a stellar year after taking home the silverware for victory in the the Open SUP and Shortboard divisions at the 2017 Lake Mac Festival of Surfing. In April, he took out second place in the Open division in the NSW SUP titles and in September, he won an individual silver in the SUP at the International Surfing Association World SUP and Paddleboard Championship in Denmark, as well as being part of the victorious Aussie contingent that scooped the gold medal. And last month, Maskell was runner-up to Kai Bates from Ulladulla in the open division at the Australian SUP titles held on the Gold Coast.

“Kai will be coming here with that recent Australian title under his belt so he’ll be the one to beat,” he said.

2018 will be the fourth year Lake Macquarie City Council has backed the Festival of Surfing. Last month, the Council won the inaugural NSW Local Council of the Year in the NSW Sport Awards for developing high level strategies and supporting plans to manage sport and recreation facilities resulting in over $15 million in increased investment and community partnerships. Mayor of Lake Macquarie Councillor Kay Fraser said it’s partnerships that make events like the Lake Mac Festival of Surfing rewarding and fun for all involved.

“The addition of the ECS Boards Surf SUP and Paddle Battle is a real boost for the festival that will bring some of the country’s most elite competitors to Redhead and provide some spectacular surfing,” Mayor Fraser said.

“Lake Macquarie is a city with a strong surfing culture and we are proud to be involved with Surfest. It is a festival that brings our communities together, promotes healthy lifestyles and is a fantastic showcase for our region’s beautiful beaches,” she added.

Surfest organiser Warren Smith says the richest SUP event in Australia is yet another example of the confidence that sponsors have in Surfest, which will celebrate its 33rd outing in 2018.

“Sponsors have not only backed the Lake Mac Festival of Surfing, they have enhanced it to host the richest SUP in the nation.

“SUP is growing in popularity around the globe and we are really proud to be promoting this healthy lifestyle sport that is continuing to attract both male and female participants of all ages,” Mr Smith said.

Market stalls will operate from the car park at Redhead on both the Saturday and Sunday between 8am and 2pm.

Out of the water, there will be plenty of complementary activities including markets. Redhead Wellness Centre will conduct free-flow yoga sessions on Saturday morning, while skateboarding and drumming sessions will be held on both days of the festival.

For more information on the Lake Mac Festival of Surfing, contact Warren Smith on +61 412127525 or visit lakemac.com.au.