Surfest 2014 set to attract thousands to Merewether Beach

Oli Hamilton surfing at the Orica Tag Team Challenge. Picture: Grant Sproule.
Oli Hamilton surfing at the Orica Tag Team Challenge. Picture: Grant Sproule.
Luke Hamitlon at the Orica Tag Team Challenge. Picture Grant Sproule.

Luke Hamitlon at the Orica Tag Team Challenge. Picture Grant Sproule.

Oli Hamilton (Merwether club) runs out of the water after to make a tag during the Orica Tag Team Challenge. Picture: Grant Sproule

Oli Hamilton (Merwether club) runs out of the water after to make a tag during the Orica Tag Team Challenge. Picture: Grant Sproule

James McMoreland surfing at thethe Orica Tag Team Challenge . Picture: Grant Sproule

James McMoreland surfing at thethe Orica Tag Team Challenge . Picture: Grant Sproule

Kurtis Herman (Merewether club) at the the Orica Tag Team Challenge. Picture by Brock Perks

Kurtis Herman (Merewether club) at the the Orica Tag Team Challenge. Picture by Brock Perks

Luke Hamitlon surfing at the Orica Tag Team Challenge . Picture: Grant Sproule

Luke Hamitlon surfing at the Orica Tag Team Challenge . Picture: Grant Sproule

Quinton James surfing at the Orica Tag Team Challenge. Picture: Grant Sproule.

Quinton James surfing at the Orica Tag Team Challenge. Picture: Grant Sproule.

Surfest organiser Warren Smith, surfer Jake Sylvester and Newcastle mayor Jeff McCloy at the Surfest 2014 launch at Stockton Surf Life Saving Club.

Surfest organiser Warren Smith, surfer Jake Sylvester and Newcastle mayor Jeff McCloy at the Surfest 2014 launch at Stockton Surf Life Saving Club.

NEWCASTLE'S premier surfing event just keeps getting bigger.

The second official Surfest event starts today, Wednesday, February 12 - the Wandiyali Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Indigenous Classic at Merewether Beach.

North Narrabeen took out the first Surfest event - the Orica Tag Team Challenge on February 2, pocketing $5000.

Organiser Warren Smith said Surfest 2014 could be the biggest and most watched in the event's 29-year history.

Thousands are expected to pack out Merewether Beach over the next 10 days, with an international audience watching live at surfest.com.

About a dozen sporting and cultural events will be held in Newcastle and the Hunter in February and March, including the Newcastle Show, Newcastle Craft Beer Week, Australian Bowl-Riding Championships and CMC Rocks the Hunter.

About $100,000 has been spent on the latest tourist campaign to lure 10,000 visitors to the region over the next two months.

The $100,000 "It's On In Newcastle and The Hunter" campaign will be spent on online promotions, print advertising and other media coverage.

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events George Souris said regional events were vital to help the state achieve its goal of doubling overnight visitor expenditure in NSW by 2020.