Here come the Aussies: Sunshine Coast prepares for influx of surfing spenders

The Sunshine Coast is anticipating a healthy boost to its economy as over 7500 surf sports competitors ride in for their national championships, with appetites for more than just medals. 

Apr 10, 2024, updated Apr 10, 2024
Aussies competitors Nick Carter (L) and Asako Ono (R) from Alexandra Headland Surf Club with Black Bunny Café owner Glen Elliott. (Image: supplied).

Aussies competitors Nick Carter (L) and Asako Ono (R) from Alexandra Headland Surf Club with Black Bunny Café owner Glen Elliott. (Image: supplied).

One of the nation’s most iconic sporting events, the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships, also known as The Aussies, are set to return to the Sunshine Coast for the fourth time (the Sunshine Coast previously has hosted the Aussies in 1980, 2016 and 2021).

Similar in size to the Commonwealth Games, the Aussies will take place from April 13–21. Preparation is underway, with multiple sectors excited for the event – Sunshine Coast Council Division Four Councillor Joe Natoli claims that the event is expected to deliver an economic contribution of almost $15 million to the local economy. 

“Competitors come with family, friends and supporters, boosting accommodation occupancy, enjoying cafes and restaurants and staying on after the event to explore other areas of the region,” said Natoli. “The timing of the event in 2024 is very fortunate. The Aussies fall just after school holidays, boosting local business outside our peak holiday period.”

Glen Elliot, owner of the Black Bunny Café & Bar at Alexandra Headland, concurs. “Having thousands of hungry athletes and their families on our doorstep at a time when it is usually a bit quieter after the Easter school holidays is huge for us,” he said. 

“Because many are from out of town, they are happy to spend more on eating and drinking. It is part of their experience. We have a large group of lifesavers who booked in quite a while ago to celebrate at the end of the competition. We love groups like that.”

The Aussies are a free spectator event open to all. The titles will be held across four beaches with beach events at Mooloolaba, ocean events at Maroochydore, surf boats at Alexandra Headland and board riding at Coolum. The youngest competitor registered for 2024 is 12 years old and the oldest is an 87-year-old representing Alexandra Headlands Surf Club.

This year, for the first time, the Aussies will include dedicated Adaptive Surf Sports events for competitors with a disability, which already has 35 competitors registered.

From Friday April 12 there will be a ‘festival zone’ open daily between 7:00 am to 6:00 pm in Pierce Park, Maroochydore. There, spectators may view the events on large screens, witness competitors collect their medals and enjoy food and live music. 

Councillor Natoli adds that it is more than just the economic advantages and prestige of hosting a major sporting event that makes the Council proud to support the event.

The Sunshine Coast has a long and proud history of involvement in the surf lifesaving movement. And although the athletes have come to compete against each other, most weekends they can usually be found on our beaches volunteering their time to keep us safe. It is an honour to be able to showcase their skills and dedication on our beaches.”

Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InQueensland.
All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy