“Surftag is such a sick event,” 16-year-old Jack Macdonald says of the tag-team surf series kicking off at Dee Why on Saturday.
“It’s like, not which team has the best surfers. It’s which team puts together the best heat on the day. Which team can do it all in roughly eight minutes each.
“So yeah – it’s pretty sick.”
Surftag, the brainchild of Queenscliff Boardriders Club life member Steve ‘Harro’ Harrison, is back after two sick (in the bad way) Covid-afflicted years.
On Saturday, 14 teams will contest the Junior (U/18s) event before they’ll come from across Australia for Grommets (U/14s), Masters (O/40s), women’s and men’s events in September and October.
The rules of Surftag are:
- Don’t talk about Surftag;
- That’s not true. Rather four teams of five surfers contest a 60-minute heat;
- Each surfer must score the most points they can on two waves;
- Their second wave is worth double points and known as a ‘Powerwave’;
- Once they’ve ridden their waves they’ll return to their ‘box’ and tag a team-mate who’ll sprint in and do their best
Jack’s dad Alex, known as ‘Daddy Mac’, will contest the Masters event at Curl Curl on September 24-25.
He last represented QBC 30 years ago. He says the team aspect of Surf Tag is “very exciting”.
“You’ll go down and watch a surfer and he only has a limited amount of time to catch two waves before he’s racing in, ripping off his leg-rope and the next guy’s sprinting in.
“I remember coming in at the Lifeline Event one a couple of years ago just completely gassed on the beach, like on my knees puffing.
“The passion each surfer has for their club is right there, on show.
“The pressure’s on – the commentators will be telling everyone, the surfers included, what points are required.
“It’s just a completely different type of surfing,” Alex says.
The trio of Macdonald Family Surfers is rounded out by 18-year-old Lily who’ll compete in the women’s event at Dee Why on September 10-11.
Lily, who is studying Medical Science at Sydney University and calls herself “a bit of a nerd”, was crowned U/18 NSW Junior Surfing champion in August of 2020.
She says she’s “very excited to be competing again”.
“I didn’t compete for a while during COVID and last year I was really focusing on finishing school.
“So it’s really good to be able to get back into the competition side of surfing, which I love. I’ve been competing since I was really little,” she says.
Lily adds that the team aspect is one she loves.
“Obviously in surfing competitions, it’s all individual, and everyone’s competing against each other.
“But with the tag team, you kind of get that encouragement that you don’t normally get through surfing competition.
“It does put added pressure on you – you’re surfing with your team, you don’t want to let everyone down.
“But then everyone’s still super encouraging. If something doesn’t go your way, it’s all right. You’ll end up back on the beach and be friends,” Lily says.
Oceanographer Craig Brokensha of Swellnet says there’s been “good swell all week which will start backing off further into the weekend.”
“We’ll have smaller, shoulder-high waves,” Brokensha predicts
The huge swell that smashed the steps at Dee Why has displaced a good amount of sand from the corner near the surf club and sent it north, sculpting “a perfect little A-frame break,” according to Brokensha.
“The banks are really good at Dee Why and it should be fun day of waves with light off-shore winds all day.
“Perfect,” Brokensha adds.
QBC is the reigning champion in the U/18s and kick off proceedings in the day’s first heat against Bondi and Merewether at 8am.
Catch the live action here.
For the full series program check out www.surftag.au.