The Aussies to inject $15m into Coast economy

Aussies competitors Nick Carter (L) and Asako Ono (R) from Alexandra Headland Surf Club with Black Bunny Café owner Glen Elliott. | Newsreel
Aussies competitors Asako Ono, left, and Nick Carter, centre, with Black Bunny Café & Bar owner Glen Elliott. | Photo: Supplied by Sunshine Coast Council.

The Sunshine Coast is set to extend its school holiday buzz, with the arrival of thousands of competitors and fans for the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships, starting this weekend.

The titles, known as The Aussies, will be held across four beaches from April 13-21 and involve more than 7500 surf sports competitors, an athletic contingent similar to that of a Commonwealth Games.

Many competitors, officials and supporters will stay on after the event to enjoy the region’s warmer waters and great food and hospitality, boosting business coffers.

Sunshine Coast Councillor Joe Natoli said the event was expected to deliver an economic boost of almost $15 million.

“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,” Cr Natoli said.

“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.”

Business owner Glen Elliott, from Black Bunny Café & Bar, at Alexandra Headland, said it was great having thousands of hungry athletes and their families on the doorstep at a time when it was usually quieter after the Easter school holidays.

“Because many are from out of town, they are happy to spend more on eating and drinking. It is part of their experience,” Mr Elliott said.

“The vibe is great, too. No matter who wins or loses, everyone is always in high spirits.

“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.”

South-East Queenslanders can join the fun for free and watch the beach events at Mooloolaba, ocean events at Maroochydore, surf boats at Alexandra Headland or board riding at Coolum.

A festival zone will be set-up at Pierce Park, Maroochydore, and will open daily between 7am and 6pm from Friday, April 12.

Live action will be shown on the big screen and fans can get up close and personal with the stars of the event as they collect their medals.

A free shuttle bus will run from Maroochydore SLSC to Mooloolaba every 15 minutes between 6:30am and 5pm.

All event details, including event timetables and local resident information can be found at The Aussies website.

Some fast facts:

  • This is the fourth time the Sunshine Coast has hosted the Aussies (1980, 2016, 2021, 2024).
  • The Sunshine Coast will host the event twice more before 2032, sharing the Queensland hosting honours with the Gold Coast.
  • When the event was first held on the Sunshine Coast in 1980, it produced one of Australia’s greatest moments in sport when a young local called Grant Kenny won the junior and open ironman.
  • In 2024 the youngest competitor is 12 years old and the oldest is 87 years old.
  • The oldest competitor is representing Alexandra Headlands Surf Club.
  • For the first time, The Aussies will include dedicated Adaptive Surf Sports events for competitors with a disability. So far there are 35 competitors.

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