Why Surfing is One of the Fastest Growing Sports in Australia

Published on 20/06/2023

A record turnout at Surfing Australia’s Seas the Day festival shows surfing is still one of the fastest growing sports in Australia.

Seas the Day is the world’s biggest female participation surf festival and in its inaugural year attracted over 12,000 people to the shores of Kingscliff Beach, NSW. While a further 200 women and young girls hit the waves to compete in a fun tag team contest.

According to recent AUSPLAY data, surfing was one of the fastest growing activities during COVID with a higher participation rate for adults aged 15+ than AFL.

Surfing Australia CEO, Chris Mater said that trend is continuing.

“The growth of women’s surfing has been phenomenal in recent years and Seas the Day shows no signs of that slowing with more and more women taking up the sport,” Mater said.

“We saw massive numbers attend the event over the two days to support females of the surfing industry making Seas the Day the world’s biggest female participation surf festival. All ages and abilities competed from professional surfers to beginners in longboard and shortboard divisions. The Under 12 Mini Shredders had the highest number of entries after Open Women’s Shortboard. While the support on the shores was just as encouraging. More than 12,000 people enjoyed the many free activities on offer, attending inspirational talks and workshops hosted by females of the surfing industry.”

Sally Miller, whose daughter competed in the U12 division, was team manager for Byron Bay Boardriders teams at Seas the Day.

“The event was run so well, with a bunch of other activities planned outside the main team surfing contest,” Miller said.

“The showcase of women’s surfing is at another level from the past and light years away from the era of women’s surfing when I grew up with posters of the surfers of the time. Marie Curren, Frieda Zamba, Lynne Boyer and Margo Oberg were my surfing idols. When I was growing up in Kiama I would have loved to have so many girls to surf with. Girls were always accepted by the local surfing community but not celebrated.

“It was beautiful to see girls of all ages and their families enjoying women’s surfing, the event and community. So many smiles around the contest site and epic to hear the teams from clubs come together and celebrate our sport. Accordingly, it is amazing to have the opportunity to share the experience and supportive space within the community for female participants in sport.”

About the event:

Seas the Day aims to encourage women to compete in a pressure-free environment alongside a program filled with females of the surfing industry, great food, live music and entertainment.

Seas the Day is proudly supported by funding through the NSW Government’s Regional Events Acceleration Fund, which aims to support the social and economic recovery and prosperity of Regional NSW.

Seas the Day is also proudly supported by Tweed Shire Council, ACCIONA, YETI, Jim Beam, Raww, BC™ Protein Snacks, Sunly Seltzer, Ruffie Rustic Food, FCS, Surfing Mums Australia and media partner Tracks Magazine.

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