Leimalo Surf Festival: an event held in Vanuatu | Photo: Peter Carroll/VSA

The Vanuatu Surfing Association (VSA) will be hosting its second annual Leimalo Surf Festival in the wave-rich region of Pango Village, Vanuatu.

Named after Leimalo, the local female deity who is said to bless surfers with good waves, the festival is turning into one of the biggest gatherings of indigenous surfing tribes and offers one of the highest prize purses in the Pacific.

Located in the uncrowded, pristine waters of Vanuatu, the event will showcase the talent of indigenous Pacific islanders and celebrate surfing and culture.

Last year's inaugural event was held in perfectly groomed one-meter swell, courtesy of Cyclone Cook.

With competitors from all over Vanuatu, Australia, and New Caledonia converging in Pango in 2017, the Vanuatu Surfing Association is looking to expand the event in 2018 and open the festival to competitors from all over the world.

Leimalo Surf Festival: surf competitions, beach clean-ups and hands-on coral planting | Photo: Peter Carroll/VSA

The opening ceremony will be held on March 28, in conjunction with the opening of a specific Leimalo Surf and Ocean art exhibition held at the Suzanne Bastien Art Gallery.

The competition will take place from March 29 until April 2 in Pango Village, about a fifteen-minute drive from the capital, Port Vila.

Divisions include 14 and Under Pro Boys and Girls, 18 and Under Pro Boys and Girls, Open Men and Women Pro Shortboard, Open Men and Women Longboard, and Mixed 35 and Over.

There will also be two specialty events - the Pacific Teams Challenge, pitting the top countries against each other in a tag team format, and the Pacific Traditional Surf Craft Exhibition, encouraging surfers to ride traditional wooden craft, similar to what the fore-bearers of Vanuatu and Pacific surfing would have ridden hundreds and thousands of years ago.

In conjunction with 2018 being the "International Year of the Reef," the VSA will also be holding beach clean-ups and activities, such as a hands-on coral planting activity to engage surfers in the conservation and preservation of our local coral reef and will make the festival a single-use plastic free space.

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