From personal wellbeing to quality family time, Kate Sullivan has been soaking up the benefits of longboarding for more than 30 years. Next week, the Aireys Inlet surfer’s beloved sport will be on a global stage from one of the Surf Coast’s most iconic spots — Bells Beach.
The World Surf League Bells Beach Longboard Classic from 30 August to 2 September is a welcome addition to the Surf Coast Events calendar.
“The competition provides a fantastic opportunity to showcase the talent we have in Victoria, along with our amazing coastline and Bells as a world-class break. The Bells events in the 1960s were longboarding, so it’s great to see a return to what it once was.”
The Surfing Victoria board member and Surf Coast Shire Council employee is excited to watch the classic with her daughter, Sam.
“There is nothing better than sharing our surfing passion. I admire her enormously and wish I could surf as well as her. We’ve been surfing together for at least 25 years, starting when she was four on her boogie board,” Kate said.
Kate has seen the rise of women in longboarding, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was one of the only sports that people could do, so the local surf industry experienced a boom with everyone wanting boards and wetsuits,” she said. “Many people took to longboards, as they’re easier to surf.
“The number of women longboarding has significantly increased. Longboarding is graceful and matches the style of surfing that women want to do. It’s quite common these days at longboard breaks along our coast to have a majority of female surfers in the line-up. It’s awesome to see this shift.”
Surfing Victoria is playing its part, thanks to Surf Her Way — an initiative making surfing more accessible and inclusive.
“Longboards are especially great to watch when someone knows how to surf them well. It’s exactly what will spectators will witness at the Bells Longboard Classic.”
More Bells Beach Longboard Classic event info here.