Festival’s full weekend expansion
GROWING interest in ocean water swimming has inspired an expanded Mooloolaba Beach Festival next February.
Previously known as the Mooloolaba Mile, World Series Swims will introduce a two-day program next year featuring paddling races, yoga, exhibitions, an outdoor cinema, as well as additional ocean swims.
New events on the Saturday will see swimmers undertake a 2.5km Alexandra Headland to Mooloolaba ocean swim. There will also be a 5km race from Mooloolaba to Alex and return for long-course swimmers.
Paddle boarders and stand-up riders will also be given a chance to race the same 5km course.
On the Sunday there will be junior 300m and 800m swims, along with the traditional half mile and Mooloolaba Mile (1.6km) events.
“It was always our intention to expand and have ocean swims over two days,” World Series Swims director John Guise said.
“The mile field has been growing, and there is plenty of demand for ocean swims.
“We wanted to introduce a new format on the Sunshine Coast. Rather than just a straight ocean swim event, we wanted some more leisure activities, paddle boarding and lifestyle options that are more family friendly.”
The Noosa event, in early February, lengthened over two days this year and proved successful, with the rapid improvement in long-course entrants.
“Every year the long-course fields are growing. The weekend punters are looking to test their limits,” John said.
“It’s similar to the running events, where once you conquer a 10km you look to a half marathon.
“Once you do 1km you then look to 2km or 3km. The short courses are popular as ever but there has been a steady growth in the longer races.
“The fields are growing all around the country. The Bondi to Bronte in Sydney is also part of the World Swims Series, and we managed it for first time last year and it was the biggest field they have ever had.
“I think there is now a swimming community who also do a bit of triathlon. There is a group dedicated to ocean swimming.”
Both the days will be action-packed, with the Saturday to have activities from sunrise to sunset.
Each morning will begin with yoga sessions and special guests will include lifeguards who feature on the Bondi Rescue television series, along with official ambassador and Olympic legend Michael Klim.
The World Series Swims program will expand in 2018 with a two-day Mooloolaba Beach Festival.