REASON TO CELEBRATE: Surfers take part in the paddle-out to mark the official opening of the 2017 Laguna Noosa Festival of Surfing at First Point.
REASON TO CELEBRATE: Surfers take part in the paddle-out to mark the official opening of the 2017 Laguna Noosa Festival of Surfing at First Point. Picasa

Lining up for a 'swell time'

The swell was up and people were excited. What started 26 years ago with a bunch of Noosa surfers organising a contest for long-boarders has turned into a true celebration of the phenomenon.

This year more than 900 competitors from 20 countries have lined up to take part in the eight-day Laguna Noosa Festival of Surfing.

The 2017 Laguna Noosa Festival of Surfing at First Point, Noosa Heads.
The 2017 Laguna Noosa Festival of Surfing at First Point, Noosa Heads. Picasa

At the 2017 Laguna Noosa Festival of Surfing at First Point, Noosa Heads.
At the 2017 Laguna Noosa Festival of Surfing at First Point, Noosa Heads. Picasa

At the 2017 Laguna Noosa Festival of Surfing at First Point, Noosa Heads.
At the 2017 Laguna Noosa Festival of Surfing at First Point, Noosa Heads. Picasa

The 2017 Laguna Noosa Festival of Surfing at First Point, Noosa Heads.
The 2017 Laguna Noosa Festival of Surfing at First Point, Noosa Heads. Picasa

And it is no longer just for old malibu riders. There is tandem surfing, body surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, wake surfing ... even dog surfing.

Not just hot-dogging and hanging ten, but the four-footed kind.

On the beach last Saturday I was talking with a father and daughter from Caloundra after they had just taken part in a longboard heat.

They were just so thrilled to have been able to enjoy a surf together at one of the best breaks you could wish for - First Point, Noosa Heads

It was worth the entry fee in the contest just to be able to share the uncrowded waves together, they told me.

Those are special times alright. Doing something like that with your daughter or son.

And at Noosa! Four surfers in the heat sharing the waves.

You think back to those early days when the crowds meant half a dozen out. Yet that was the late 1960s.

A time before leg ropes. A time when you went on road trips north from Sydney or Melbourne in Holden and Ford panel vans or station wagons and slept along the roadside.

At Crescent Head the water temperature meant you could put the wet suit away. Then there was Angourie, Evans Head, Wategos and The Pass at Byron Bay to be surfed.

It was one of those adventures when everything goes right. Across the border there was Snapper, Greenmount and Kirra.

Yet the cream of it was arriving at Noosa late in the afternoon and hear the crack of the waves breaking all the way from national park into First Point. Just two of us out as the sun set behind the hinterland ranges.

At the official opening of the surfing festival last Saturday it was so good to catch up not just with old mates but others who have discovered the charm of Noosa.

Oh, and the more things change the more they stay the same. There was even restored Holden and Ford panel vans and station wagons parked along the street, near the latest 4Wheel Drives.