JBay WinterFest to attract record numbers SURF’S UP!

2016-07-07 06:00
South Africa’s top surfers, iconic athletes, mountain bike enthusiasts, trail runners, avid fishers and cold water junkies headline this year’s JBay WinterFest. The annual JBay Winterfest will take over Jeffreys Bay and surrounding areas from July 6 to 17. The exciting line-up, boasting a new look and feel, taps into the festival mood with some bold new events on the calendar, as well as refreshingly different formats for some existing events. Photo: BEAUTIQUE PHOTOGRAPHY

South Africa’s top surfers, iconic athletes, mountain bike enthusiasts, trail runners, avid fishers and cold water junkies headline this year’s JBay WinterFest. The annual JBay Winterfest will take over Jeffreys Bay and surrounding areas from July 6 to 17. The exciting line-up, boasting a new look and feel, taps into the festival mood with some bold new events on the calendar, as well as refreshingly different formats for some existing events. Photo: BEAUTIQUE PHOTOGRAPHY

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PRISTINE head high waves, longboards, thousands of tourists, well-toned bodies, top-class musicians, iconic athletes and excitement pulsing through the town’s veins - it is JBay WinterFest time.

Tourists and visitors from neighbouring towns have been flocking to the shores of Jeffreys Bay since the beginning of the week as one of the best and biggest winter festivals in the country, the JBay WinterFest, officially ‘surfed off’ yesterday - and it is only going to get busier.

The event is set to come to a close on July 17.

With many accommodation facilities fully booked, more than 45 000 visitors are expected to flock to Jeffreys Bay for the festival - building on last year’s estimated number of 40 000 - bringing with them a welcome economic boost for local businesses.

During the 2015 JBay WinterFest an estimated R100 000 million was generated. “This excludes the free marketing Jeffreys Bay received through television broadcasts, print media, online media webcasts and social media,” says event organiser Brenton Williams.

According to Kouga Municipality spokesperson Laura-Leigh Randall, the WinterFest is of great economic value to the area as it brings visitors to Jeffreys Bay during the quiet winter months. “With its international appeal, it is also a powerful marketing tool, which helps to keep the town on the tourist map.”

It being an international event, the organisers and municipality have put extraordinary mea-sures in place to ensure the safety of participants, as well as that of visitors and local residents.

Apart from utilising their Shark Mitigation Systems and their ‘smart buoy’ technology, the World Surfing League has also enhanced its surveillance and response capabilities for the event. Drops, planes, and extra jet skis will all be in place.

According to Randall, the municipality will provide traffic and law enforcement support where required, and the police will also help to ensure the safety of visitors.

With the eyes of the surfing world firmly fixed on Jeffreys Bay as the top surfers in the world are in town to take part in Round 6 of the World Championship Tour (WCT) - the JBay Open of Surfing - local surfer Steven Sawyer is preparing to take on the biggest names in surfing in his back garden.

He carved the grinding walls of Supertubes in early June to win the JBU Supertrial and earn himself a wildcard entry into the JBay Open. Sawyer is set to surf against the likes of Matt Wilkinson and Davey Cathels, and possibly even Mick Fanning and Kelly Slater.

The action does not stop there. Visitors and locals can also look forward to the Oakley Celeb X-Over from July 13 - 14, ride their mountain bike through the Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm on July 16 or take on the icy 12 degree C water of Marina Martinique in just a speedo during the Swim Classic on July 16.

Music lovers can look forward to a jam-packed music festival at Jolly Dolphin featuring top South African artists such as Jack Parow, Cut Snake, Timo ODV, PHFAT, Locnville and Sketchy Bongo.

Also on the menu for the fourth annual JBay WinterFest sponsored by Woodlands Dairy, is JBay Junior Pro Surfing from July 8 - 10, fishing from July 16 - 17, a kite festival from July 16 - 17, trail runs from July 16 - 17 and a lumo night on July 15.

For more information about the JBay WinterFest, visit their website at www.jbaywinterfest.com. – MONIQUE BASSON

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