Summer is almost over in the U.S., but spring is kicking off Down Under. And those who aren't quite ready to give up the beach just yet should start making plans to head to Australia, where the Australian Open of Surf will take place from February 8 to 16 next year at Manly Beach in Sydney.
The competition will include wave action from pro surfers, skating demonstrations, concerts and a range of summer activities. (Just what American travelers need in February, we say.) As a bonus, the competition is expected to be smaller than its U.S. counterpart, with only 175,000 visitors over the full week, offering a more intimate experience. And for those less interested in surfing, Sydney's buzzing downtown is a quick ride away from the beach.
For keen surfers – or those interested in learning to surf – there are options for catching great waves in Sydney itself and along the coastline of New South Wales, which is the most accessible in Australia. Nine of Australia’s 11 National Surfing Reserves are in New South Wales, where they are recognized and protected for their environmental, cultural and historic significance in Australian surf culture.
Manly, the host city of the AOS, has a particularly deep history in surfing. Manly Beach was named a National Surfing Reserve in September 2010 with an area that covers roughly 2.5 miles. Manly Beach is the site of the first legal bathing (1902), the first surf club (1903), the first body surfing and surf boat (1907), Duke Kahanamoku’s famous board surfing demonstration (1915), first world surfing championship (1964) and is home to two world surfing champions, Barton Lynch and Layne Beachley.
Destination NSW has partnered with Qantas Vacations to offer a special travel package to the AOS including flights and hotel accommodations, which can be booked at www.sydney.com/ausopenofsurf.