This year, the J-Bay Surf Festival attracted a record number of visitors, with surf and music fans streaming to Jeffreys Bay in droves. It is estimated that north of 50 000 people passed through the contest site, while 3600 people attended the Parkoff Music Festival.
With cars parked along the length of Da Gama road every day, live music every evening and crowds from morning to night, the Surf Festival brought an electric buzz to the surf town of J-Bay.
The Corona J-Bay Open contest days were well spaced out, allowing ample time for visitors to browse the contest site in spectacular weather, enjoy other events of the surf festival and spend a morning watching the rugby game between South Africa and New Zealand.
Once the swell arrived it was all systems go and Supertubes, also known as the world’s best right-hand point break, lit up with long, perfectly reeling waves. World champion Filipe Toledo and California’s Lakey Peterson delivered mesmerising performances throughout the contest period, claiming the respective titles of Corona Open J-Bay men’s & women’s champion.
Says event director Ari Kraak: “The feedback from the athletes is that this event is the best stop on the calendar and was a step above the rest due to the locals and the vibe.”
At the Parkoff Music Festival, headliners GoodLuck, Desmond and the Tutus, Muzi, Steven Sawyer and Jeremy Loops drew huge crowds and first-time act Muzi’s lively performance was received with much enthusiasm by party goers.
Visitors also enjoyed an exclusive premiere of African surf film Chasing the Unicorn and a screening of Sweet Adventure, hosted by Wavescape South Africa.
One of the biggest shore angling events in South Africa, the Winterskins Fishing Competition, took place with great success.
The J-Bay Surf Festival also saw the first ever ADCC Open held in Jeffreys Bay. The event marked a milestone in the growth of submission grappling in South Africa and drew 200 competitors from around the country.
The J-Bay Wind Farm MTB Classic & Trail Run made its 2023 return at the J-Bay Surf Festival, with over 500 participants enjoying a new route and throngs of spectators showing up to support.
Jeffreys Bay’s non-profit organisations will benefit significantly from the proceeds of the VIP dinner and auction. R 319 000 was raised by auctioning an assortment of pro surfer’s surfboards, signed competition vests and local artist’s paintings. The funds will go to J-Bay Surfing Foundation, Wavepoint Surf and J-Bay Recycling Project, among other local organisations.
“We’re especially thankful to the Kouga Municipality for their support in putting on this event” adds event director Ari Kraak. “Next year festival goers can expect more events, a beer garden and a full 10 day festival, even if the Corona Open J-Bay wraps up early.”