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Family-friendly Noosa Festival of Surf

THE family feeling will be predominant on the opening day of the Noosa Festival of Surfing this month.

As well as the Riverlight Laguna Bay Paddle Board race which organisers expect will attract family groups as well as serious competitors, the Honolua Surf Co/Café le Monde Spirit of Family Challenge will put the focus on multi-generation surfing.

The sport now boasts many champions whose skills were honed by surf-mad parents who introduced their kids to the sport, pushing them on to waves and sharing the special vibe that attracted them to it in the first place.

The Honolua Surf Co/Café le Monde challenge will pit six invited teams of well-known surfing families against the first six families to nominate on the festival website.

The line-up includes 1965 US surfing champion Rusty Miller who has lived at Byron Bay since the early 1970s where he was the town's first surfing instructor. He will surf with Taylor, one of his two daughters.

Former world professional tour top-10 competitor Luke Egan will also be in the mix with surfer-shaper father Sam. Coast-based longboarding soul surfer Belinda Baggs will be joined by her dad Phil, who finished second in the festival's over-50 division last year.

Also, there will be Sunshine Beach's Jackson Winter and sister Libby and Coolum's Mick Wilson and son Bart. Rounding out the invited surfers will be Dave Wilson who won the best wave division of the event's WSHF Invite division in 2008 and son Dane.

Festival director Phil Jarratt said Honolua's Guy Walker had come up with the idea to promote families surfing together as a feature of the 2009 event, a concept that was backed by Café le Monde.

The first six parent-child Noosa competitors to apply at www.noosafestivalofsurfing.com will join in the fun of the Spirit of Family event on the festival's opening day on March 15.

Presentations will take place at a festival opening night family luau at Café Le Monde immediately following the festival opening ceremony at sunset, with live music from Rusty Miller's hot old guy surf band, The Yanx. Don't miss it.

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