Wandiyali Indigenous Classic 2018 Surfest

The 2018 Wandiyali Indigenous Classic was held on Saturday 17 to Sunday 18 February at Merewether Beach. The first time in the event’s history that it has being held on a weekend.

And what a weekend it was!!

With huge swell making for interesting (and challenging) competitive conditions, there were plenty of snapped boards being dragged back onto shore.

The event this year saw much more community involvement, with the Wandiyali Gathering at Jefferson Park and a Youth Surfing Clinic. Unfortunately the lessons were postponed for the kids, but there was still beach games, competitor behind-the-scenes tours and activities for the kids to participate in.

Surfers from around the nation competed for titles across four divisions – Opens, Longboards, Womens and Juniors.

Last years runner-up, Joey Haddon, came out on top this year claiming the title of 2018 Opens champion! Making it his fourth title classic (having previously won in 2004, 2005 and 2012).

Haddon said the event was the best Indigenous surfing event in the nation. ‘Wandiyali put everything into this event, they make it such an unreal event for all of us – it’s got to be the best Indigenous comp we have,’ the 32-year-old carpenter from Forster said.

Claiming the title in the Longboards division was Tom Avery from Byron Bay. Of the final heat Avery said “The Final had a high tide which made it easier to get out and some big 12 foot faces which made it a bit of a dream. It was easily the best surf I’ve seen for an Indigenous contest”.

Taking out the Women’s title was Bateau Bay’s Jasmine McCorquodal, backing up from being a part of the winning team (Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College) in the Reflections Holiday Parks High School Team Challenge. ‘It was still pretty tough out there, it was really inconsistent but all the girls surfed really well. It’s awesome to get some good wins under my belt, especially here – I love being a part of the Indigenous community so it means a lot for me to win,’ Jasmine said.

Finn Hill, from Avoca, was crowned Junior champion. Speaking of the final, Finn said “I got one (wave) at the start, then there was a huge lull and after that I got hammered by sets towards the end, so it paid off getting a quick start. It’s really fun to surf in these events, I surfed last week here in the nib Pro Junior, but this is a totally different vibe and it’s pretty sick,’ he added.


1. Joe Haddon (Forster, NSW) (17.4) $6000
2. Noah Munro (NoraVille, NSW) (12.7) $4000
3. Zac Condon (Lennox Head, NSW) (9.8) $2000
4. Russell Molony (North Shelly, NSW) (0) $1500

1. Jasmine McCorquodale (Bateau Bay, NSW) $1500
2. Charlie Law (One Mile, NSW) $750
3. Jalaan Slab (Fingal Head, NSW) $500
4. Kyra Simon (Forster, NSW) $250

1. Finn Hill (Avoca Beach, NSW) (11.6) $1000
2. Rohnin Henry-Micale (Bellambi, NSW) (8.2) $500
3. Taj Simon (Port Kembla, NSW) (7.8) $300
4. Jed McDonagh (Forster, NSW) (5.1) $200

1. Tom Avery (Kingscliff, NSW) (13.8) $1000
2. Jamie Archibald (Port Macquarie) (7.9) $500
3. Bijang Slabb (Fingal Head, NSW) (3.8) $300
4. Robert (Robbie) Page (Kempsey, NSW) (3.6) $200


Newcastle-based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisation