Barney's Classic is making waves
THE Sawtell surfing competition, the Barney Miller Classic, has exploded with a bang in recent years. Starting today, the Classic has become a 'must enter' event in the surfing community. And this year's competition has made waves up and down the coast, attracting surfers from Sydney to the Gold Coast. All up, more than 115 competitors will hit the waves. Former international pro, Lee Winkler, also is throwing his support behind the competition. Proof that the Barney Miller Classic has become one of 'the' events of the coast's surfing calendar is the support it has received from sponsors. This year the total value of prizes on offer is more than $20,000. The weekend isn't just about the surfers though, as spectators have an opportunity to cash in on the large number of prizes on offer. They'll be given a carnival atmosphere all weekend as well as heaps of raffles offering terrific prizes. The major prize is a Southpoint surfboard donated by Sawtell's Sunpatch surf shop and Global Surf Industries, along with a 68cm television compliments of the The Good Guys in Coffs Harbour. Barney Miller said he was amazed how popular the Classic had become. "I'm blown away by the growing numbers every year," he said. "Knowing that it's getting bigger every year and that we're helping people along the way is a great feeling." What also separates this surfing competition from others is the social aspect. No stone has been left unturned to make tonight's gathering at the Sawtell Hotel one of the biggest in the eight-year history of the competition. Local bands 'The Stiffies' and 'The Great Dividing Range' will be tearing it up on stage and anyone and everyone is invited to the party The cover charge for the entertainment is only $10 which is a bargain considering special guests 'Errol JM' also will be attending. Last year the proceeds from this event went to Central Coast surfer, Len Miller, who broke his neck while surfing. Miller, who is not related to Barney, was suffering financial hardship as his home had to be completely renovated to make it easily accessible and comfortable for him. The first heats of the competition were due to start at 7am today.