There were the sounds of Davis, Sonny Clark and Grant Green echoing across the promenade and dark sand of Sumner Beach; a quiet, tucked away seaside town only thirty minutes drive from Christchurch. It was hard not to smile, to react to the energies of the event and those who passed by, kicked back or joined in the festivities. A loosely planned but perfectly executed three days of world class longboarding, music, art and culture; welcome, to the Single Fin Mingle.
It was Thursday morning, the alarm blared loudly in five minute increments as the eyes, crusty and slow to open, gazed at the clock reading 3:30am. The road to Brisbane was quiet. There awaited the team with boards in tow; Jordan Spee, Eurico Romaguera and Sean Cuisick. The first flight out of Brisbane headed direct to Christchurch.
You got this sense as you arrived into Sumner of a small but tight knit community. The air was mild, the sun shining warmly somewhat uncharacteristically for the Mingle weekend. Every year we’re told the event continues to get bigger and more familiar faces continue to roll in, this year no different as Rhythm were introduced as new sponsors for the festival. And immediately, as we drove overcrowded to The Village Inn, we were greeted by friendly faces and an overwhelming amount of stoke filling one room.
The surf forecast wasn’t looking promising but no one seemed to care. Excitement was building before us although festivities hadn’t formally yet kicked off. And so the first unofficial day of the Mingle arrived.
The Mingle has come a long way since its inception five years ago, beginning as a traditional longboarding competition, its matured into a surf central festival featuring art shows, film festivals and live music over a jam packed weekend. And while the event has grown in numbers, attracting more and more international presence, it still boasts that community vibe where you feel as though you’ve known everyone for years.
The next three days passed in somewhat of a haze, a smile plastered across every Mingler you passed no matter the time of day. Checkered suits, corduroy and velvet jackets complimented by turtle necks and polished shoes littered the town. Beer and cider flowed thanks to Corona and Three Wise Birds and music played. It became a blur of surfing, art, live music, laughs and a few late nights. By the end of it all though, sleep-deprived and hoarse-voiced, everyone would happily do it all again.
The Rhythm Classic GROOVE
We introduced the first ever Rhythm Classic Groove event into the surf proceedings as a way of bringing together stylish and talented male and female surfers (who didn’t make the finals) for a thirty minute, non-judged session where the music played loudly, the commentating was questionable and everyone was having a good time. As hosts, we couldn’t have been more stoked with the talent pooled together and to see the surfers share the stoke was enough for us. At the end of the day though, after a unanimous crowd tally, we crowned the first ever Rhythm Groove King and Rhythm Groove Queen; congratulations Robin Kegel and Minnie Robberds.
Rhythm Classic Groove 2019. Surfers included: Neil Messmer, Patrick Conklin, Tom Owens, Balthazar Gullore, Robin Kegel, Claire Sullivan, Lauren Canavan, Amy Rose Hewton, Minnie Robberds and Tessa Randrup.
There is a certain charm the Mingle exudes, accentuated perfectly by Mike Lay’s closing speech, that even in the wake of what Christchurch has just been through, a small surfing event like the Single Fin Mingle, although only small in the scale of things, is the perfect reminder of the love that’s ever present.
Huge thanks to The Single Fin Mingle, Ambrose McNeill, Bradley King, Cameron Haylock (and his team), Montana Purchase and all others involved in hosting Rhythm at our first Single Fin Mingle. See you next year!
Photos by Brett Johnson and Cam Hay.