Sean McKeown and Chris Watson are excited to be hosting the Australian Longboard open at the Cudgen SLSC in Kingscliff. Photo: Nolan Verheij-Full / Daily News
Sean McKeown and Chris Watson are excited to be hosting the Australian Longboard open at the Cudgen SLSC in Kingscliff. Photo: Nolan Verheij-Full / Daily News Nolan Verheij-Full

Meet the man behind Kingscliff's longboard surfing comp

SEAN McKeown has seen longboard surfing go through many changes over the years, starting back in the late 90s.

He ran surf festival Malfunction from 2005 to 2008 before transforming the event into the Australian Longboard Open and in the process shifting it from the southern Gold Coast point breaks to Cudgen Headland.

"Because of the overcrowding on the Gold Coast points it became a safety issue and we had some other new ideas we wanted to play around with, so we shifted to Kingscliff."

"Cudgen Headland is actually a fantastic, long sand-bottom point that provides plenty of long rides for competitors to display their full array of tricks."

Those changes he mentioned included making the event more attractive to non-surfers by adding new attractions.

"In the old days it was simply a matter of running a contest, but now we have a much broader audience and the show and shine car show and other things like art, movies and food are now included in the event for those people that wouldn't turn up purely for a surf contest."

As surfing has grown over the last two decades, Mr McKeown has watched on and adapted to those changes.

"We have experienced huge growth in the industry over the last few years and so has the contest we run, and more outside commercial sponsorship has come into it now."

Mr McKeown said a combination of great location and local business and community support had also helped with the event's growth.

"Look the local support we have received has been great and Destination Tweed has been fantastic as well," he said.


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