Australia's longest running endurance event

As part of the 2023 Tasmanian Surf Sports marathon series

River Derwent,  Hobart Tasmania

4th of November 2023

Ocean & Spec Skis / Surf boats / Boards / Outrigger

04 NOV 2023

Over 50 years of history

The Surf Safari has been a highlight of the Surf Sports calendar in Tasmania, since 1968. The River Derwent comes alive with the best endurance athletes and lifesavers displaying their skills across a range of events including the challenging 20km long course for surf boats and ski paddlers.

The early years of the Surf Safari saw ski paddlers and surf boat rowers compete over a gruelling 42 k course from Hobart to Lewisham with a portage through the Lauderdale canal. Check out the vision of the intrepid lifesavers in our Gallery. In recent years, the Surf Safari Event program has been extended to include ocean skis, stand up paddle boards, outriggers, junior Malibu boards and coastal rowing craft, with both long and short courses to ensure there is an event available to everyone.

In 2018, the Surf Safari celebrated 50 years of continuous surf craft racing in Tasmania. In ever unpredictable Tasmanian spring weather conditions, the 50th Surf Safari was a real test for competitors, officials and water safety. Gale force winds and snow on the mountain did not faze the record field that turned up to celebrate 50 years of racing. Just metres separated the top three placegetters in the Open ski. An armada of 26 surf boats, with crews from around the state made for quite a spectacle start line.

The event attracts Olympians, World champions and Australian champions rowing boats, paddling surf skis and boards.

Check out the results page and see who you recognise.

( watch the 1974 race from Hobart Regatta  grounds to Lewisham Tavern crossing the Lauderdale canal )

2023 Entry & Course details

The event will take place on the picturesque River Derwent which runs through the city of Hobart. The river and estuary provide a relatively safe, but at times testing, environment for the event. This year, the Surf Safari event hub will be at Long Beach Lower Sandy Bay – 5kms south of the Hobart CBD.


Ocean & Spec Ski – 8km & 18km

The Long Course event of approximately 18 km will be conducted in a “weather window”, in an attempt to maximize downwind conditions. The start time will be no later than 11.00 am to ensure a finish in time for the presentations and postrace celebrations.

The Long Course Options
• Course from the south – launch and start from Tinderbox, upstream and finish at Sandy Bay.
• Course from the north – launch at Claremont Bay staying on the eastern side of the river to a selected point before heading cross river and south.
• Course in westerly conditions – starting at Sandy Bay, heading down river to a designated point before heading across the river to the Doran’s Road boat ramp.
• In adverse conditions, an out and back course will ensure the event is conducted.
• Paddlers need to be present at the race briefing.
The course and other important information will be posted on the @surfsafari Facebook page 48 hours prior to the event.

The course and other important information will be posted on the @surfsafari Facebook page 48 hours prior to the event.

The Long Course ski event is part of the Australian Ocean Racing Series and will attract series points based on age and other criteria.

A shorter 8km out and back loop ski race will be on offer for the Open, Under 17, Under 19, Over 35, Over 50 and Over 60 divisions (Male and Female). This race is ideally suited to novice paddlers or those have not done the work to compete in the Long Course.

Double ski events will also be held over both the long and short courses.

Stubbs Design & Construction, Allwave Australia and Fenn skis are proud major sponsors of the ski events. We thank our longstanding sponsors, Stubbs Design and Construction and Surf Ski Tasmania


Register for Ski category

Rogerson & Birch
Surf boat – 8km & 18km

This year’s Surf boat racing will be held over three endurance distances. The Long Course of approximately 18km will start with the skis (see above) and finish at Long Beach Sandy Bay.

The 8km out and back course will be available for start and finish at Long Beach Sandy Bay. The shorter race for is ideally suited to novice crews or the “more experienced” rowers wanting to blow out the cobwebs.

Rogerson & Birch Surveyors are the proud major sponsors of the boat event.


Register for Surf boat category

Coastal Rowing and Outriggers

Coastal rowing is an emerging international sport with 1, 2 and 5 person crews participating. Courses are similar to the ski and surf boat events.
Outriggers may enter either the Long or Short course.

Register for Coastal Rowing and Outriggers

Board – 2km & 4km

A 4km Malibu board course will be available for the U15 and U17s. While a shorter 2km course has been designed for U11 and U13 racing on Nipper boards. Minimum age is 10 years old on the 30th of September in the year of the event. Both courses will start and finish on Long Beach and require competitors to test their endurance skills in the confines of the bay.

Hobart Plant Hire, DC Watercraft and Engine swimwear are the proud major sponsors of the board event.


Register for the Board category


Download the Event guide to get more detailed information and conditions of entry. Please read before entering



If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us via our facebook page


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We sincerely appreciate the support of the following businesses

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