Where to catch the George Bass Surfboat Marathon this January

The world’s longest, toughest, surfboat race is on our shores from December 31 to January 6.
Tathra, Surf Boat, Marathon

Launching in Tathra Beach, 2016.

There’s an extraordinary group of people headed our way and they are coming by sea, in long boats, powered by their own strength and determination.

The George Bass Marathon is the world’s longest, toughest, surfboat race, an event which tests the most seasoned ocean kayakers and surf boat crews, as they race along 188 kilometres of spectacular coastline from Bateman’s Bay to Eden.

For seven days, crews row through every element that the ocean can throw at them, battling surf conditions on the beaches and being exposed to sun, salt and wind throughout the day.

The race has an intriguing history, and traces part of the journey of early explorer & navigator George Bass 1797, whose unlikely vessel was a whaleboat.

Bass, his mate Flinders and a crew of 5 got as far south as what is now Melbourne on Westernport Bay in Victoria, mapping the coast as they went, and were heralded heroes on their return to Sydney.

Bass went on to discover that Tasmania was indeed an island, (hence the name Bass Strait), but few know that he was a naturalist who created one of the first European descriptions of that loveable Australian animal, the wombat. Read more about Bass & Flinders journey on the Sapphire Coast. 

George Bass Surfboat Marathon, merimhula, surfboat

Merimbula. Image by George Bass Surfboat Marathon.

Sunday, December 31: Batemans Bay to Moruya Racing begins at 9am with landings from 12am.

Monday, January 1:  Moruya Beach to Coila Beach, Tuross Head. Racing begins at 8.30am with landings from 10.30am.

Tuesday, January 2: Coila Beach, Tuross head to Narooma Surf Beach. Racing begins at 8.30am with landings from 10.30am.

Rowing in the shadow of Gulaga Mountain, Bermagui.

Wednesday, January 3: Narooma to Horseshoe Bay, Bermagui

Racing begins at 8.30am with landings from 11am.

The foreshore of Dickinson Park makes for the best viewings, head to Dickinson Point for elevated views from the car or settle in closer to Lamont Street where there is a children’s playground, the Bermagui Hotel and eateries.

Bermagui is the northern gateway to the Sapphire Coast, don’t miss the Summer Movies Under the Stars all this week at Four Winds.

Thursday, January 4: Horseshoe Bay, Bermagui to Tathra Beach (36 km)

Racing begins at 8.30am with landings from 12.30pm.

The longest leg of the race at 36 kilometres! The Tathra Wharf is the obvious choice here for elevated views or head down to the foreshore in Andy Poole Drive. Both places have options to find tasty local snacks for dine-in or takeaway.

Tathra Hotel has reopened after more than 12 months of extensive renovations, with a brewery on the way!


Friday, January 5: Tathra Beach to Pambula Beach

Racing begins earlier than usual at 7.30am with landings from 12.30pm.

Explore Pambula Beach’s headland to get a bird’s eye view, or stick to the beach near the Pambula Beach Surf Life Saving Club.

Enjoy some beach life on these patrolled beaches, or explore Bournda National Park to catch the boats racing by.

Saturday, January 6: Merimbula’s Main Beach to Aslings Beach, Eden

To catch the 8.30am start head to Ocean Drive, Merimbula and for the emotional finish, head to Asling’s Beach Road in Eden (parking at Eden Sportsground).

Hire a SUP from Merimbula Lake, or head to Snug Cove Eden for the freshest seafood, and prawns straight off the boat.


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