Festival Kicks off in
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Surf Legends & Industry Statements

Manly is LOVED not only by the locals who live here, the everyday surfers who flock here, but the industries best shapers, film makers, and surfing world champs – past and present.

Our favourite friends attest, as to why this really is ‘God’s Country’ and what they love about Manly the most!


Midget Farrelly

First Australian to win a major surfing title, the 1963 championships in Makaha, Hawaii.

In 1964 he won the inaugural World Surfing Championship at Manly, Australia.

“Nobody expected the crowd of 60,000+ people who attended the 1964 surfing world titles at Manly Beach. As a 19 year old, I could not imagine that this small sport could be so well received in Australia.”

“The event itself kicked off competitive surfing contests world wide and allowed the creation of the international surf federation, which still operates today.”

“Travelling the coast and living the surf lifestyle was a new way of thinking in the 60’s and beyond. The results of that amazing family inclusive lifestyle are the events showcased within the Manly Festival of Surfing.”

“In 40 years, Manly has changed, yet regardless of the developments the ocean and waves are still beautiful and remain the same.”

Nick Carroll

Long time surfer and surfing journalist

“When I think of Manly, my thoughts immediately relate to the birth place of surfing in Australia.

Manly is the first place Australians learnt to enjoy the beach, from daylight swimming to body surfing and board riding.

The Manly Festival of Surfing whole heartedly embraces the wide ranging culture of surfing, from the super hardcore to general recreation.”

Phyllis O’Donell

1964 Women’s Winner. Inaugural World Surfing Championship at Manly

“I went into the event as the 1963 invitational Australian Champion.

As a young girl only 5’2” and riding a 9’ board, I was absolutely thrilled to beat Linda Benson, who was well known for being Gidget’s surf double in the popular 60’s show!

“Manly has and will always be a love of mine…. Snowy McAllister, a local Manly legend, mentored me to become a World Champion!”

Mark Occhilupo

1999 World Champion – Billabong Team Rider

“The thought of Manly instantly brings me memories of fun! Competing in Manly junior events against the likes of Damien Hardman and Barton Lynch, at a beach that is world renowned as the birth place for competitive surfing is unforgettable!”

Bob McTavish

Surfboard innovator and author

“I’m stoked that GSI has stepped up to the plate in driving this great Festival, which is long overdue! Manly IS the birthplace, the spiritual home of surfing in Australia, and at last that powerful fact is recognised and celebrated. The history, the great surf and surfers, the culture, the events all make this Festival awesome!”

Bruce Channon

ex Surfing World owner, Editor Longboarding Australia. Competed in the Juniors at the 64 World Titles.

”As a 13-year-old grommet, I remember getting out of my sick bed to attend, and to surf in the Junior division. I had tonsillitis but there was no way I was going to miss it. Crowd estimates of around 60,000 were given, and sitting there watching the finals on the Sunday I could believe there was that many there. The highlight had to be the surfing of Midget Farrelly in the Mens final. Midget finished off two of his rides with flamboyant, arms-in-the-air cutbacks that had the crowd screaming.

My other highlight was to see my photo in the surfing column of the Sunday paper that day. Of all the great surfers to attend, 13-year-old Bruce Channon had his image selected! No matter that I was weak as a kitten with tonsillitis, and did a face plant on this wave, I was in the Sun Herald on the day of the biggest moment in world surfing to that time.”

Damien Hardman

1987, 1991 World Champion. Rip Curl Store Owner. Manly Local

”Manly beach holds a special place in my heart, not only because I passed it on the way to and from school each day, much to my frustration when the waves were good… but because its where I won my first world title.

Manly provided the perfect setting to decide a world champion at the Coke classic, the waves were great and the crowd was huge.

To win a world title in my home town in front of a home crowd was awesome.”

Layne Beachley

7xWorld Champion, Manly Local

‘I couldn’t think of a better place to host a festival for the sport’.

Tom Carroll

1983 & 1984 World Champion – Quiksilver Team Rider, Manly Local

‘In the early 80’s I had seen Occy surfing, and knew it would be scary the first time I was up against him. I won that first showdown, but at J-Bay in 1984 chasing my second world title, Occy smashed me!

Occy taught and inspired me to move forward with my approach to waves, boards and everything surfing…’

Ritchie Lovett

X Pro Surfer, Manly Local

“Manly Beach represents so much to me. It’s the place where I rode my first wave and its the place I call home to this day. I have so many great memories from growing up as a grommet, surfing all day and watching my heros, guys like Barton Lynch and Robbie Bain, those guys made me want to become a professional surfer. My life has basically revolved around the surf at Manly.”

“The festival will capture the spirit of surfing through everyone involved, they are in fact the spirit of surfing. You can’t artificially build that, its just happens when you bring surfers together.

Joel Parkinson

World Champion, Billabong Team Rider

“I have always loved Manly, it’s a home away from home for me. The beach and the life in and around it is the heartbeat of the place. Whenever I think about being there I think about the great waves, the great food around the corner and most of all a relaxed time with family and friends on that golden sand.”

“I am lucky enough to make a living in surfing – but surfing is not just about the professional tour… any person who has any connection with the water and surf knows this.

The best thing about the Manly Festival of Surfing is the variety of the program and its inclusive nature. There is an event for everyone and when you look at what’s on, you’d be hard pressed not to find something in there that you could get involved in!”

Jean Hay

Manly Mayor

‘We believe this is a really exciting concept – one we had no hesitation in backing’.

Mark Kelly

Global Surf Industries CEO

‘We believe that Life is better when you surf, Manly is living proof of this. If you want to live life come to the Manly Festival of Surfing and see what it is all about.’

Meegan Clancy

Event Organiser

‘The first World Titles were held in Manly in 1964, it’s only fitting for the Festival of Surfing to take place at Manly – The Spiritual Birthplace of Australian Surfing’.

Mike Baird

State MP for Manly

“It is impossible to separate surfing and Manly. Surfing started here, it continues here and it is very much part of the future.