© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2024

A decade of dancing: 10 years of the Single Fin Mingle

Coby Moratti

April 4th-7th is the Single Fin Mingle's 10th edition. Held in Sumner every year, it's an international longboard festival which transforms a small town for a weekend.

Sumner beach2 Coby Moratti 28.03.24
Sumner Beach- Host beach of The Single Fin Mingle Coby-Moratti-NZBS

The Single Fin Mingle is more than just a high-level surfing comp. The Mingle has a film festival, a pub crawl and the highlight for many, a street party after finals day. A paved dancefloor takes shape with live band performances getting hips moving.  

Luke Oneil describes it as 'a festival like no other'. Having surfed every year since the inaugural event in 2014, a winner in 2022 and a Sumner local, he's really found the meaning of the Mingle. Although the surfing aspect is invite only, the Mingle is for everyone. It's inclusive, anyone can come and watch, buy a ticket to the street party and dance.

"The parties are ones to remember, it's epic to see returning acts, ones who were there from the start."

Luke is full of gratitude, to do what he loves on his home beach. "I might be bias but this is probably the best surf comp in the world." 

The Single Fin Mingle is an international event, attracting surfers from Aussie, Japan, California, Hawaii- last years men's winner Augusto Olinto is from Brazil.

This year, Sydney lad Lachie Meakes will be returning for his third event. His first Mingle was at the bright age of 18 and was his first solo trip overseas. Lachie had his mum on speed dial, raving to her about how 'Sumner is a movie set' and he loved the feel of the town.

Now 21, Lachie is looking forward to the highlight of his year.

For him, it's not even about the surfing.

"I really don't care about winning or losing, that doesn't affect how my weekend goes."

Comparing the mingle to Australian events, there is a clear contrast. Australian comps can be full of ego - emotions mostly rely on results. Whereas the Mingle, whether you get out in the first round or get your first title, the same love is shared with everyone.

It's an event where he relishes 'meeting epic people' and making memories to last a lifetime. 

Surf fin Coby Moratti 28.03.24
Longboard fin- Competition boards may only have a 'single' fin Coby-Moratti

2024 promises to maintain the standard set over the last decade. 86 surfers will get in the water and 17 artists will perform across four nights. The Butlers and Wax Mustang are returning South Island acts, who Luke remembered vividly from past street parties. Competition founder Ambrose Mcneill has created an event which encompasses good vibes. Opening with a Pƍwhiri, live jazz music playing throughout the comp and finishing with a boogie and a drink: you might not want to miss the 10th year of the Single Fin Mingle.  

Footage from last years comp, found on The Single Fin Mingle instagram