On May Bank holiday Watergate Bay played host to the English Surfing Federation’s National Surfing Championships, in association with Quiksilver and Roxy, who through their support of the event had competitors of all ages from the U12s to the over 45 year old veterans and promised for the first time equal prize money to both the male and female surfers in the Open and Longboard Categories.

The event started off on a beautifully sunny day, gradually getting busier and busier as it progressed. At 7:30 in the morning a solid queue began to develop as check in for the junior events started, and by 7:45 the queue was snaking its way back towards the Watergate Bay Hotel.

The south westerly winds created a nice surf for the juniors in the morning, with some nice lines rolling through for the groms to show the judges exactly what they can do on a wave. Credit has to be given to the juniors for their constant enthusiasm and passion, surfing their way through declining surf conditions. In the evening of the first day, the organisers and the judges made the decision to postpone the finals until the next day due to the surf, but this didn’t dampen the atmosphere at all. With the beach full of families, dog walkers and surfers from both the competition and those who had come down on a sunny bank holiday to give surfing a crack. The DJ made sure that the soundtrack for the first day of the competition was perfect, playing everything from Prince to Basement Jaxx. The voice of the commentator booming over the tannoy not only kept everyone up to date with the competition, but also keeping everyone laughing with his ramblings on anything that he felt was necessary to share with the beach.

Typical English bank holiday weather met those who made it down to the beach on the Sunday, with the competition surrounded with a constant drizzle. The wind howled around the beach making sure that everyone that had been looking forward to the extra day of their weekend was thoroughly drenched whilst watching the surfing. Alongside the Junior finals the first few heats of the men’s and women’s open, longboarding events and the under 18 events progressed in small but competitive conditions, those who had made it out to watch the action were met with a array of talent from various categories. The presentation for the junior events was in the evening, and whilst the families of the competitors crowded around the award tent, the children stood relaxed, boards under arm, waiting to hear which one of them had won.

Waking up on the final morning the competitors were met with a grey sky that promised rain. Arriving at the beach, the conditions looked sizeable and heavy, the surf forecasters had promised it would gain in size as they day progressed, a promise they didn’t break. As we worked our way through the events of the day, the surfing conditions slowly started to pick up. The veterans, masters and seniors were the first of the finals, followed by the Under 18 events. As the Under 18 girls got into the water the waves began to get a bit heavier and they faced a brutal paddle out back for their final. The longboarding, men’s and women’s final followed on from the Under 18 events and as the conditions picked up it encouraged the surfers to show the judges why they should be going home with the prize money. The Men’s final didn’t disappoint with Alan Stokes pulling off an awesome floater and Reubyn Ash stomping a massive backside air reverse. The weather slowly turned round to beaming sun again, with the miserable Sunday being sandwiched with two days that finished off with warm sun and smiling faces.

The presentation began for the winners of each event with Reubyn Ash from Bude winning the Men’s Open, Ellie Turner from Bude winning the Women’s Open, Ben Skinner from St Agnes winning the Men’s Longboard and Emily Curry from Bude winning the Women’s Longboard. Ellie Turner deserves a special mention for her absolute dominance in the tournament, winning the Under 16s, Under 18s and Women’s Open, not a bad weekend for Ellie as a whole, in fact not a bad weekend end for Bude. As the final day drew to an end, the scenes were perfectly fitting for a surfing competition; sunny, full of family and friends laughing and joking and contestable surf conditions with some extremely talented surfers showcasing their skills to all those watching.

Photos by Louis Supple.

The Final event listings

Under 12 Boys
1st – Sam Hearn
2nd – Bertie Norman
3rd – Thomas Reeves
4th – Ollie Keast

Under 14 Boys
1st – Stanley Norman
2nd – Noah Capps
3rd – Woody New
4th – Sam Hearn

Under 16 Boys
1st – Kit Innes
2nd – Stanley Norman
3rd – Fynlee Millar
4th – Barnaby Cox

Junior Longboard
1st – Jack Unsworth
2nd – Joe Hornbuckle
3rd – Max Hudson
4th – Beth Leighfield

Under 14 Girls
1st – Bonita Whitelock
2nd – Tegan Blackford
3rd – Lauren Sandland
4th – Carys Potter
5th – Francesca Sayer

Under 16 Girls
1st – Ellie Turner
2nd – Lilly Mandeville
3rd – Mischa Maguire
4th – Amy Dyer

1st – Mike Young
2nd – Drustan Ward
3rd – Karl Smith
4th – Gary Clay
5th – Graham Parker

1st – Luke Embleton
2nd – Rob Watson
3rd – Andrew Griffin
4th – Felix Dixon

1st – Mike Young
2nd – Rob Watson
3rd – Joel Gray
4th – Jackson Del Aguila
5th – Matt Harwood

Boys U18 Final
1st – George Hudson
2nd – Eno James
3rd – Will Masterman
4th – Kit Innes

Girls U18 Final
1st – Ellie Turner
2nd – Ruby Breadon
3rd – Lilly Mandeville
4th – Tilly Theobald

Mens Longboard
1st – Ben Skinner
2nd – Zak Lawton
3rd – Jack Unsworth
4th – Lewis Stritch
5th – Joe Hornbuckle

Womens Longboard
1st – Emily Currie
2nd – Charlotte Bayliss
3rd – Katrina Beddoe
4th – Jenny Briant

Women’s Open
1st – Ellie Turner
2nd – Lucy Campbell
3rd – Keshia Eyre
4th – Emily Currie

Men’s Open
1st – Reubyn Ash
2nd – Alan Stokes
3rd – Jayce Robinson
4th – Oli Adams