Site Requires Javascript - turn on javascript!

Australia’s best surfers descend on Manly this month

Some of the best surfers, skateboarders and BMX riders in the world will hit Manly Beach for the huge free action sports event, the Australian Open of Surfing.

By Paul Chai
Published: 24 February, 2017

Beautiful Manly Beach is famous for its lively atmosphere and turquoise water, but it is also one of Australia’s best known surfing beaches. In 1964 it was here that the first World Surfing Championships were held.

Those same waves are about to challenge some of the world’s best surfers at the Australian Open of Surfing (AOS), from 25 February to 5 March. “The athlete line-up this year represents the best we’ve had since the Australian Open of Surfing was launched,” says Simon Corkill, vice president, event operations Australia, for event organiser IMG. “We’re looking forward to bringing the best ever Australian Open of Surfing to Sydney.”

Visitors can watch the competition free of charge, but surfing is not all there is to see. This free action sports festival offers a full program of adrenaline sports, live music and great food and drink. Watch the skate competition, see the BMX Pro Cup, and for the first time this year, enjoy the pop-up Beach Club, where you can soak up the atmosphere at the end of each day with a refreshing juice or craft beer.

Watch surf superstars make their mark

At the north end of Manly Beach you’ll find the Queenscliff Bombora, a submerged reef just offshore that creates perfect waves for world-class surfers. The AOS is only the second stop of the year on the World Surf League calendar and competitors will be keen to make their mark. Expect to see athletes including the 2016 women’s world surfing champion Tyler Wright, Australian superstar Julian Wilson and Brazilian pro Jadson Andre. To watch, simply walk to the northern end of the beach and take a seat on the sand.


Watch a skate competition on the Manly sand

Skateboard Competition, Australian Open of Surfing, Manly, New South Wales

A huge custom-built skate ramp has been assembled on the beach at Manly for some of the world’s best skateboarders, who will compete here on their first stop of the 2017 Vans Park Series (VPS) World Championship tour. With skateboarding becoming an official Olympic sport at Tokyo 2020, this is the place to watch likely future Olympians compete, as they skate up and over concrete walls, gaps and railings up to three metres (10 feet) high. Like the rest of the festival, it’s free to watch.


See the start of a new BMX world tour

Defying gravity on the same ramp as the skateboarders will be some of the world’s top BMX riders, who compete here in the first round of the Vans BMX Pro Cup from 3-5 March. This year is the inaugural Pro Cup event, with Manly the starting point of an international touring circuit that then heads to Spain and Mexico. The field includes international stars such as Dakota Roche and Sergio Layos, and Australian riders including Corey Bohan, Jason Watts and Dylan Lewis. This is a free event but seating is limited.


See top Australian bands at free beachside concerts

Hermitude, Australian Open of Surfing, Manly, New South Wales

The Australian Open Concert Series is a great opportunity to get a taste of Australia’s music scene, on the sands of one of the country’s most iconic beaches. This free roster of performances includes some of Australia’s hottest bands – including hip-hop group Hermitude and Sydney indie rockers The Jezabels – who will play the MTV stage right on the beach (with a live broadcast on MTV) on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.


Grab a local craft beer at a pop-up beach club

Beach Club, Australian Open of Surfing, Manly, New South Wales

The Beach Club at Manly is a pop-up bar that’s been created just for the AOS by the cool-hunting hoteliers from Sydney’s Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel. Visitors can expect an on-trend menu including everything from poke (raw fish salad) to coconut-battered fish tacos, and craft beer from 4 Pines Brewery – a loved local brewing house, located in the middle of Manly. Enjoy a refreshing drink  here at the end of the day, or come earlier – the Beach Club is also open for brunch.