SurfestSurfest is an annual surfing competition held in Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Surfest began back in 1985 as an initiative of Newcastle City Council, who were looking for a major event to host within the city. Back then, the BHP Steel International was the richest professional surfing event in the world.
In 1995 to mark the events 10th anniversary, organisers renamed the main event in honour of Newcastle's Mark Richards - calling it the Mark Richards Newcastle City Pro. Whilst not the richest in cash terms, the event embodied the hospitality of Newcastle as a city and competitors came in their throngs to get a piece of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), World Qualifying Series (WQS) 4 Star ratings and prizemoney but also to pay tribute to 4 time world champ Mark Richards. Since then, Surfest has grown substantially. Since 2000, organisers have secured a naming rights sponsor in Energy Australia .