The waves pumped and the sun shone, two statements not usually associated with a surfing competition held in the middle of the infamous 2012 British summer.
But there’s an old adage that you make your own luck- and the hard work carried out in recent months by Surfing GB paid off in Spades at the weekend. The Calypso British Schools Surfing Championships was a significant milestone: the contest was cancelled in 2011 and hadn’t run for over 18 months. It was also the first national event run under the new relationship forged between Surfing GB and UK Pro Surf Tour.
The combined expertise of those teams, working to a tight timetable, produced the highlight event of the 2012 calender to date, SGB having chosen swell- magnet Widemouth Bay’s location on the border between Cornwall and Devon to stage the event. The contest combines the traditional individual format with an overall schools trophy- so a strong emphasis was placed upon the importance of team work. Each individual placing counting towards overall team points, and the crowning of the British Schools Champions.
Despite an ambitious attempt to erect the contest site late on the Friday evening, the rain fell & the wind blew- not ideal marquee building conditions. But Saturday morning dawned bright and less breezy, and frothing Groms & parental taxi services arrived in hordes. The contest got underway in highly contestable onshore conditions at a neapy low tide. The waves pushed in with regular 3-4ft sets giving the competitors an abundance of shreddable walls as the tide filled into the Bay. Stand-out performances of the day came from both old & new faces, with Angus Scotney from Newquay Tretherras school continuing his good run of form, Wadebridge’s Rhys Barfield posting some solid scores, Bude’s Jobe Harriss looking sharp, and culminating with Braunton’s Peony Knight paddling out in 2-3ft onshore fun only to casually return to shore 20 minutes later with 15.67 points and the highest heat score of the day.
Sunday morning came and as the relaxing melodies of reggae echoed around the bay the first heats of the day were run in stronger winds and a faltering low tide; but still the surfers produced exciting performances. All semi finals and finals were held on the Sunday, and as the sun appeared and waves picked up with the push, the beach filled with visitors who were greeted by the sight of the UK’s finest junior surfers relentlessly throwing spray and chucking airs around the 3-4ft waves.
Anticipation built through the day and the action intensified in the finals with impressive long board manoeuvres on show and progressive short boarding, not only impressing the judges and spectators, but successfully imparting a look of disbelief on the faces of the many beginner surfers in the shallows. All the finals were fought in good spirit and highly competitive nature and many went down to the dying seconds with scores still to drop and high drama in the air.
Longboard Titles went to Ben Bates from jersey, and Emily Currie from Bude. In the u-14s shortboard Harry de Roth from St Ives battled through to take the crown. Emily Currie also made it into the u-16s Girls shortboard and 18s girls shortboard finals, a standout performance that went a long way towards Bude’s eventual team victory. Similarly prolific, Angus Scotney made it into three Shortboard finals, winning one, but his effort wasn’t enough to single-handedly lift his team to the overall winners trophy.
Lucy Campbell from Braunton laid it all on the line for her team, bravely casting aside crutches designed to support a broken foot, and making the finals of the 18s Girls, a courageous effort that came close to clinching a Braunton victory. But it was Bude’s Miles-Lee Hargreaves and team mate Jobe Harriss ,who put the icing on the cake for their team, taking the first and second place spots in the Boys 18s and the overall winners trophy for their School.
Surfing Gb extend Big thanks to the sponsors…..particularly Calypso, for their ongoing support of the British Juniors. Thanks to the sponsors for prizes, Anns Cottage, Zuma Jay, Wooda Holiday Park, Chawel, Robie Robes, Stalefish, Carve, Surfgirl and Breo.
“Amazing surfing seen this weekend and big thanks to all who made it happen! Lucky to get sun & waves so we must be doing something right… “
Nick Rees, Projects Manager for Surfing GB
“Steady progress means we are building a solid future for SGB. The British Schools represents the future of surfing in this country, its a really important event and we are greatful to Calypso soft drinks for their continued support for Surfing GB which has made this event such a great success”
Bruce Daniels, Surfing GB Steering Committee chair
“Calypso Soft Drinks are pleased to support British Junior Surfing with funding this event. As usual the quality of the surfing on show was high, and there was great enthusiasm showed by all the competitors. We hope the success of the event will attract more schools to enter next year. The weather was kind and the surf held up for the weekend, which help to produce a quality event. Calypso are pleased to support Surfing GB in the development of Junior Surfing, with the Schools Competition being a key event in the calendar.”
Richard Cooke, Calypso Sales and Marketing Director
”It’s great that the UK Pro Surf tour is working in partnership with Surfing GB to unify contests for the benefit of surfers across the country”
Dave Reed from the UK Pro Surf tour
1 Peony Knight
2 Ellen Harding
3 Flora Lawton
4 Emily currie
1 Ellen Harding
2 Flora Lawton
3 Lucy campbell
4 Emily Currie
1 Harry De Roth
2 Angus Scotney
3 Will Bailey
4 Max Payne
1 Angus Scotney
2 Ben Bates
3 Dale Foster
4 Liam Murray Strout
1 Miles Lee Hargreaves
2 Jobe Harris
3 Rhys Barfield
4 Angus Scotney
U18 Girls Longboard
1 Emily Currie
2 Lucy Howell
3 Maisie Marshall
4 Jenna Richards
U18 Boys Longboard
1 Ben Bates
2 Connor Griffiths
3 Raife Gaskell
4 Isaac Marshall
Calypso British Schools Surf Champions
Budehaven Community School