Surfest in 1986 draws parallels to Supercars

Check out this old Surfest photo. It was taken in 1986, the second year of the event.

How Newcastle has changed, hey? Just look at the Royal Newcastle Hospital in the background and the old incinerator chimney stack.

The thousands that showed up for Surfest on Newcastle Beach reminded us of the Supercars event.

When else, apart from when the Knights won their two grand finals, have we had so many people in the city?

We better not forget the two world wars. Thousands celebrated in Hunter Street at the end of hostilities. 

So what about Surfest back in the 1980s? They say it was  the greatest show on surf!

As Surfest co-founder Warren Smith attended the Supercars event, he couldn’t help but make parallels to the early days of Surfest.

“They were great days. It established Surfest as a major event,” Warren said.

Surfest in those days was the place to be seen in Newcastle. It was the scene.

School truancy levels went through the roof. Bosses grudgingly accepted sickies. 

Having the world's best in your own backyard guarantees a big crowd, especially if the sun is shining.

Surfest – and Supercars – show how much Novocastrians love their sport and their city.

We can’t help but think that Supercars, with its track around the beaches, was a multi-million-dollar manifestation of Newcastle's famous “lap” culture.

You know, that weekend tradition of driving a loop around the beaches and along Hunter Street with your family, partner or mates to have a look-see [basically a look-sea] at who or what’s going on.

Musician Bob Hudson immortalised the art of lapping in his mid-1970s hit The Newcastle Song, with its chorus about never letting a chance go by. 

Guess that’s the same kind of attitude that the organisers of Surfest and Supercars had.

They grabbed a chance. They made it happen. 

Supercars and Shakespeare

Topics wrote yesterday at our surprise that the Supercars event had inspired poetry.

Poetry from Shakespeare's King Lear.

Poetry from Shakespeare's King Lear.

A post on the Newcastle Echo Facebook page that called for “your best Newcastle 500 poetry” prompted quite a few odes for and against the big race.

Coincidentally, Herald journalist Michael Parris told Topics that Supercars employees found a protest poem that a resident had painted on the ground, near the track. 

The poem went like this: “As flies to wanton boys are we to the V8s: They kill us for their sport.”

Why that sounds like Shakespeare. King Lear, in fact.

Here’s the real version: “As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods. They kill us for their sport.”

  • topics@theherald.com.au