IT'S an event that's been running for so long many of the surfers have been competing in it for more than half their lifetime.
But the 31st annual Alex Mal Club Winter Longboard Classic is about more than endurance.
The mid-year long weekend festival of fun is not only a gathering of the surfing clan from across Australia but also a chance for entire families to share an event where there's as much activity on the beach as on the water.
More than 160 competitors will take part in 12 divisions from Under 16s to Over 60s across three days of intense competition. There are also three specialty divisions for loggers, old mals and an open division for 8' boards.
One of Australia's finest Malibu riders, Josh Constable, of Noosa, will defend the title he won last year from Alexandra Headland junior Kai Annetts, who is also back for another crack.
Surfers will take to the water at 6.20am on Saturday for the first day of competition in what is expected to be quality 1.5 metre surf at the Bluff at Alexandra Headland.
Spokesman Kev Annetts said the eight-foot division recognised a resurgence of a board style that was instantly popular in the early 1980s when modern Malibu competitions were reactivated.
In 1986 Alex hosted the second annual Australian modern Malibu titles at the Bluff after sending a large contingent of surfers to the first national event of the modern era in Torquay, Victoria, in 1985.
This weekend's competition again has the Duporth Tavern and World Surfaris as its major sponsors along with companies like the Sunshine Coast Daily, Shadforth Civil Contractors, Montezuma's Mooloolaba, Classic Malibu, Bakers Delight, Raw Energy, Sea FM and Channel 10 who have been with the event since 1984.
Tomorrow night's sign-on and Saturday night's maritime-themed fancy dress party will be held at the Duporth Tavern as will Sunday night's auction of boards shaped by Mitch Surman for MS Surfboards, Thomas Bexon for Haydens, a Bart Walkins shape and a Pacer from Beach Beat.
Also up for grabs will be a surfing holiday to Kaviang Nusa Island Retreat in PNG.
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