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Surf events wind up

FINAL SHOWDOWN: Pictured are the original organisers of the annual All Girls Surf Showdown at Lennox Head (from left) Keryn Noach and Kellie O’Brien. Max Perrot was another organiser.
FINAL SHOWDOWN: Pictured are the original organisers of the annual All Girls Surf Showdown at Lennox Head (from left) Keryn Noach and Kellie O’Brien. Max Perrot was another organiser.

THE surf is not up for two Lennox Head competitions which attract several hundred people to the beachside village.

Max Perrot, organiser of the annual All Girls Surf Showdown, announced that this year's June long weekend competition - the 20th - will be the last.

Meanwhile, Damon Hayes, marketing manager for Rusty which organises the Gromfest competition for under-16s, has announced the competition is "taking a short break".

Mr Perrot said it was a bitter-sweet decision to finish up the All Girls Surf Showdown.

When it was first held back in 1993, there weren't any other events of its kind.

"That made it instantly the biggest women's contest in Australia," he said.

But now, he said, the "pioneering" Showdown has "spawned a whole load of imitation events".

And that's a good thing - although it makes getting sponsorship for the local event more difficult.

"For the last couple of years, it hasn't been as important to the sport as it had been previously," he said.

"It made all those breakthroughs - it did its job in pushing women's surfing forward.

"The sport was very male-dominated back in those days."

The competition became a World Tour-rated event at its peak, and also was part of the Australian Pro Am circuit.

In fact, the current top four female surfers in the world - four-times world champion Stephanie Gilmore, Tyler Wright, Sally Fitzgibbons and Laura Enever - are all past winners of the Open Pro division at the Showdown.

Mr Perrot, Kellie O'Brien and Keryn Noach were the original organisers, stemming from the All Girls Boardriders Club, which this year turns 21.

Mr Perrot said that when the competition first began, it was an important part of the Lennox Head economy during the winter months.

But he said the impact the event had on the economy isn't as critical now as more and more holiday-makers head to Lennox throughout the year.

Meanwhile, Gromfest has been running at Lennox for 16 years.

Mr Hayes said while decision to take a break wasn't taken lightly, it was one that had to be made to ensure a long and bright future for the event.

"We love the Rusty Gromfest, it's a part of the company's heart," he said.

"However, the format is starting to feel somewhat dated.

"We really want to make sure we're presenting something special for the kids that captures their youthful spirit. So, we're taking some time to give us a chance to talk with the competitors and come back with something exciting to breathe renewed life into the grommet scene."

Entry forms for the final All Girls Surf Showdown are available at www.allgirlssurfshowdown.com.

The All Girls 21st reunion will be held on June 9, for all ages, at Beef and Beach restaurant in The Lennox Hotel. Tickets are available now. Phone Berenice on 0413 814 708 for details and bookings.


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