Water sport a tourism boost to Port Stephens

 NSW SUP Titles. Picture: Surfing NSW/Ethan Smith
NSW SUP Titles. Picture: Surfing NSW/Ethan Smith

Port Stephens will become a mecca to sailors and surfers this month with the anticipated return of two major sporting events.

Entries into Sail Port Stephens, back in the Bay's waters April 19 to 25 following a hiatus last year due to COVID-19, have been strong and are expected to reach, if not surpass, the 160 that the event attracted in 2019.

"We're doing everything in our power to ensure that as many sailors as possible can participate. That includes welcoming dinghy, skiff and trailable class associations who'll be itching for some more racing," regatta director Jennie Hughes said.

Sail Port Stephens will be further boosted this year with the addition of an off-the-beach regatta for dinghy, skiff, catamaran and sailboards at Bay Sailing Centre in Salamander Bay on April 24-25.

The Port Stephens Surf Festival, combining two major surfing state title events, will return to the Bay April 29 to May 4.

The NSW Longboard State Titles is set to be staged across four days, from April 29 to May 2, at One Mile Beach followed by the NSW SUP State Titles, also at One Mile, from May 2 to May 4.

The events will crown multiple champions across all longboard and SUP divisions, and will decide who is selected for the NSW Teams for the Australian surf championships.

"Port Stephens is an idyllic region and is perfectly suited to the state's best longboarders and stand up paddlers," Surfing NSW CEO Luke Madden said. "We expect to see over 200 competitors partaking in the event over both disciplines in what is sure to be a spectacular display of wave riding and ocean paddling."

A number of age divisions for both title events have already reached capacity.