Though Cherating could never beat Australia’s Surfer’s Paradise or Hawaii, the destination successfully attracts surfers from all over the world during its annual Cherating Surf Festival, an international surfing competition.
After having organised this event successfully for the past three years, Cherating Surf Festival 2011 saw the participation of surfers from France, Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, Maldives, Australia and Singapore. This exciting event increasingly attracted more tourists to visit Cherating. Billabong, the main sponsor for the event, offered various prizes for the championship. Beginning late 2011, Billabong has listed Cherating Surf Festival as one of its Asian Surfing Championship circuit, making it one of the most sought after events by surfers all over the world.
Cherating beach is one of the best beaches in Malaysia because it offers one of the longest surfs considering the flow of the wave runs in parallel with the beach. The combination of the long distance and the strong, big wave makes surfing in Cherating one of the more exciting and interesting surfs compared to the other surfing spots in Malaysia like Batu Burok and Tioman. Additionally, the fact that surfers can surf at Cherating beach all year round (including during monsoon season) is one of the reasons why Cherating’s tourist arrivals increase yearly.
According to the General Manager of Ministry of Tourism Pahang Office, Tuan Haji Edros Yahya, in 2009 alone, Cherating Surf Festival managed to attract 198,764 visitors to the event. The figure doubled in the following year, chalking up to 301,819 visitors. The annual staging of this event gives a good exposure to the locals, including a number of surfing enthusiasts, about Cherating being the suitable place for this sport.During the festival, a free surfing clinic was organised. This free clinic was an effective approach used by the Ministry of Tourism Pahang Office to attract more people to get involved in surfing and demonstrate that surfing activity can be enjoyed by the whole family.Apart from motivating the local surfers to perform better during competition, Cherating Surf Festival is one of the platforms upon which local and international surfers can exchange information and improve skills. At the same time, the festival brings more opportunity to the local businesses, thus directly contributing to the local economy.