· By Maria Nilsson
Sumner’s best weekend of the year returns! - The Single Fin Mingle 2023
End of this month, Sumner is set to host its annual and globally renowned Surf and Culture Festival - The Single Fin Mingle. As more than 100 of the world’s best longboarders roll into town, Sumner is readying itself for a jampacked, frolicsome and morale boosting weekend full of grooving and of course, surfing! From Thursday the 30th of March – until Sunday the 2nd of April, the sleepy surf suburb will well and truly be awoken and be buzzing like no other time of year!
For those unfamiliar with the festival, you’d be forgiven to assume a dating event is about to hit town. “On the contrary”, says founder and Sumner local, Ambrose McNeill; “The event is a multi-faceted surfing festival that celebrates traditional longboarding and the joyous culture of art, music and film that surrounds it.”
It only takes a short stroll through the competition to realise this is no ordinary contest - with smooth jazz music being amplified into the ocean, hot tubs for competitors and fresh coffee and food being served with lounge chairs lining the Esplanade. The special and unbreakable surfing community creates an unmatchable and infectious atmosphere for surfers and non-surfers alike to sit back, relax and watch the world-class surfing unfold.
Although the competition is a focal point of the weekend, it’s only a small part of what the weekend entails. On Thursday night, an outdoor cinema will be built by the beach to showcase a beautiful selection of surfing films from around the world. With food and drink available onsight, attendees are encouraged to bring a picnic blanket and pillow to snuggle up and watch some scintillating surfing films under the stars in Sumner. And then come more events that make the Mingle a one-of-a-kind festival. Friday night will see the wonderful Single Fin Mingle Art Show open at LEstrange Gallery on Nayland street as well as a range gigs at Sumner venues this is certain to be a very vibrant night in the village. After Saturday’s world class surfing, comes Sumner's biggest concert of the year: The Single Fin Mingle Street Party. First to get the Mingle grooves going just right will be Otautahi’s latest star set to shine bright, @mimjensen. Up next and ready to fire up everyone's feet will Aucklands marvellously magnificent @dailyjband. Finally, with their fast and fun, foot stomping fusion, @yurtparty will demand you to dance.
As the Mingle grows, it’s becoming more and more entrenched in the Sumner community, with store owners within Sumner banding together to help create an event firmly on the calendars of many.
“The Single Fin Mingle is a celebration of the Sumner community - there are very few events that span age, gender and culture like The Mingle does,” says Trevor Hone, local builder and emphatic supporter of the event.
Sure, Bledisloe Cup finals are great, as are the local school fairs. But as a fast growing group of Sumner locals will tell you – there is no better weekend of the year than that of The Single Fin Mingle.