Coffs Harbour to hosts Craft Carnival with Olympic twist

This year’s 2023 Craft Carnival, from November 25-26, will be hosted by Coffs Harbour SLSC. Photo: Rowing Australia.

THE Coffs Harbour Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) is excited to host the 2023 Craft Carnival, with an impressive cast of over 500 competitors, 50 officials and 1,000 enthusiastic spectators all gearing up for the November 25-26 event.

Athletes from across New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria will be taking part in this year’s event, which boasts a rich history of both professional athletes and up-and-coming talents on their way to becoming pros.

Coffs Music SocietyAdvertise with News of The Area today.
It’s worth it for your business.
Message us.
Phone us – (02) 4981 8882.
Email us –

Dan Backhouse, President of the Coffs Harbour SLSC, shared some of the notable names that have graced this event in the past and the local talents who have used it as a stepping stone for their careers.

“The event has witnessed past professional athletes such as Grant Kenny, Trevor Hendy, Reene Corbett, Karla Gilbert, and Darren and Dean Mercer,” he said.

“Not to mention local talents who went on to achieve professional success, including Jamie Mitchell, Scott and David Reeves, Belinda Neville, Kylie Brazier and Nicole Moffat.

“All participants view this event as an excellent way to kick off their season.

“The carnival serves as a breeding ground for future surf stars, both male and female.”

The races will kick off at 8am on both Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 November, with boats competing over two days and board and ski events taking place on Saturday.

Spectators are encouraged to catch the action from the Surf Club at Park Beach, 23 Surf Club Rd, Coffs Harbour, where they might witness future Olympic champions in action.

The decision by the International Olympics Committee to include Coastal Rowing in the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles adds an extra layer of excitement to the event.

“At the Jetty Foreshore precinct, right next to our heritage-listed Jetty, the newly introduced Olympic sport, coastal rowing, will be on display,” Dan Backhouse said.

“Australian rowers representing the nation will participate in this pilot event, and the action will heat up around midday on Saturday.

“This event is running in conjunction with the carnival on Park Beach and promises to be an exciting format.”

A strong contingent of competitors from the Coffs Coast will be vying for top honors.

“Coffs Harbour will be represented by several boat crews competing for the cash prizes on offer.

“The defending NSW champions from 2022 – 2023, known as the ‘Trainwrecks’, will be rowing for our club at the carnival.

“They will undoubtedly aim to assert their dominance early in the season against rival crews.

“The club’s A crew has put in significant off-season training and is expected to feature in the finals.

“Local athletes, including Lucy Wilde, Abbey and Payton Lawler, Coco Backhouse, brothers Xavier and Elliot Hulbert, Cohen Franklin, Ethan Dawson, and Cooper Gunther, will all be competing for top results.

“Former Sawtell athlete Rhys Mulholand, now with the Surfers Paradise club, will also be attending the carnival and is expected to perform well.

“Isabella Tait from Cudgen, who has been making waves in the surf sports arena lately, is anticipated to dominate in the U17 age group on Saturday,” Backhouse concluded.


Leave a Reply