Surfers drawing large crowds
SURFING fans proved their hardiness as the Quiksilver Pro moved through round three yesterday.
A few thousand turned out on a hot, rain-affected day that saw humidity hit the 80 per cent mark.
A big high tide also ate up the sand at Rainbow Bay, making a high vantage point imperative.
But the whole town of Coolangatta was buzzing, with car parks in short supply and the cafes full of diners.
Peter McGregor, from Sydney, was enjoying the spectacle of seeing surfers like Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson in action at Snapper Rocks.
“It is good to see it has cleared up a little bit now,” Mr McGregor said.
“We’re up here on holidays (from Sydney) and have been cooped up inside for a couple of days, so it is good to get out.”
The Quiksilver Pro is worth an estimated $10 million a year to the Gold Coast and Tweed economies, and business owners would be hoping for fine weather to maximise their business from the crowds.
Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar Coolangatta owner Michael Fitzgerald was among the fans taking in the event yesterday.
Mr Fitzpatrick said he noticed a change in clientele as the event rolled into town.
“The locals seem to stay away as we get an influx of tourists, so it all balances out. As people get knocked out we might sell a few extra pizzas, as there will be more and more partying.”
Their shop had seen the likes of Luke Stedman, Adriano De Souza and Stephanie Gilmore ordering pizzas in the past few days.
Mr Fitzgerald watched the Fuel TV broadcast from home on Tuesday but decided to go down to Snapper yesterday and said he was stoked.
“I would love to see what it would be like if there was a solid week of sun.”
Surfing crowds traditionally turn up in all weather situations to see the world’s best surfers compete. Last year thousands stood at Kirra in driving rain to see Joel Parkinson win the Quiksilver Pro in big swell.
Tweed Tourism general manager Phil Villiers said the economic benefit from visitors spread down to Kingscliff.
“The holiday parks do really well out of the Quiky Pro, but it doesn’t go much further than Kings- cliff and the Tweed and Cooly CBD.
“A lot of people are coming into the (Tweed Heads) visitors centre to see what they can do in the area.”