It is believed Surfmoot first started in 1931 when a number of Geelong Rover crews invited some Melbourne crews to a surfing weekend in Anglesea. Originally, it was held at the Geelong District campsite. A bushfire burnt out the site in 1947 and it was then held on the Anglesea foreshore up to 1952. Since at least 1946, it has been held on Australia Day Weekend. 50 years of Surfmoot was celebrated in 1981.
It was first held at “Boss” Hurst’s property in 1953, where it has been held since for all but 3 years. In 1983, when the Ash Wednesday bushfires caused it to be moved at the last minute to Bay Park Scout Camp at Mt Martha on the Mornington Peninsula, and two years in the early 2000’s which were held at the Grand Prix track campsite at Phillip Island.
The Eumeralla site presented all with the now notorious cliff face to negotiate to and from the beach, tackled by track improvements, abseiling and haulage ropes (for eskies) at various times.
In 1971, the first female rovers arrived at Surfmoot when a Sydney crew brought their girls along. This sent everyone into a tizz as camp rules stated that no females were allowed on site after sunset or 8 pm, whichever was first. Needless to say, females have attended every Surfmoot since and there has even been a wedding, when two rovers married at Surfmoot 2000.
A huge number of events and competitions have been held over the years, with the Grand Prize of the overall winning crew taking the perpetual trophy the “Eumeralla Boot”. Some of the more prominent in various eras were:
- the campfire with performances
- the “Miss Anglesea” bathing belle contest (by men in drag only)
- the Billy Cart Derby (at one time finishing at the cliff top)
- an annual Smorgasbord dinner (in full uniform with pigs on spits)
- the Tug of War (over the dam)
- Sand Castle Sculpting (with some huge entries)
- Motorkhana (Mudbash at Surfmoot!)
- and, of course, the bands.
Other events/competitions have included kite flying, iron gut eating competitions, mud hole swimming, night car rallies, a “get lost” car tour, bush dances, iron man and woman competitions, beach sprints, marathons, greasy pole, egg throwing and gumboot throwing competitions, frisbee competitions, dig the deepest hole (on the beach, hands only), archery, beach cricket, darts, mini golf, table tennis, volley ball, earth ball, Scavenger hunts, waterslides, mazes, orienteering, film nights, comedians and the current favourite Jelly Wrestling.