The education day at Goldcoast Oceanfest saw the return of the North Devon Schools Surfing Championships. Over 60 junior athletes congregated on Croyde beach for the 13th annual event, in conditions that were an ideal 2ft and sunny. All competitors lucked out on goodie bags supplied by Carve surfing magazine, SurfGirl magazine and Surfing Great Britain. Here began the fight to win the bragging rights of being the best school in North Devon.
Competition got under way in the Nalu Beads Girls Open with some stand out surfing from British athlete, Lily Mandeville (Ilfracombe Academy) and Amy Dyer (Pilton). Whilst in the WESC Boys Open, back in competition for the first time in over a year, Garin Clay (Braunton Academy) showed that he hadn’t lost any of his ability, by setting the standard pretty high in the first round.

With the competition hotting up in the sun, the carnage that was the Tiki Tag Team event brought grit, determination and good fun to the competition, with the top three schools being: Bideford School, The Ilfracombe Academy and Kingsley School. Caitlyn Shaddick made the difference in the last few minutes, helping to secure the top spot and claiming fantastic prizes from Tiki Surf Shop.

In the finals of the Nalu Beads Girls Open, tough competition between Lily Mandeville (Ilfracombe), Lydia Surridge (Park), Amy Dyer (Pilton) and Francesca Sayer (Bideford) saw an amazing showdown at the high tide bank. Despite valiant efforts by the others, no one could match the form Lily Mandeville displayed, showing why she turned the heads at Billabong Europe and caught the eyes of the UK judges to secure a place in the Great British Surf Squad.
In the finals of the WESC boys open, Freedom Wall (Pilton) made the final for the second year in a row and faced heavy competition from the two contenders from Braunton Academy: Garin Clay and Jake Arrowsmith. An extremely close final (which left the judges deliberating for over ten minutes after the final hooter sounded) saw Wall pip Arrowsmith to secure the title.

Showing that it’s not all about individual’s success and more about teamwork, a general overall performance amongst the boys, girls and tag events saw this year’s tournament winners being presented to Pilton Community College. The winning team can enjoy their victory with a trip to the Wave Rider, courtesy of Woolacombe Bay Holiday Park.
Contest Director and organiser, Rob Whitney said, “I’d like to thank everyone who helped make this event possible, in particular all of the volunteers from Croyde Surf Club, the teachers and Nick Rees, from Surfing GB. I’m very proud that this grass roots surf event is still going strong. I was impressed that for the first time in the event’s history, there were more female competitors than male, showing that we’re doing something right in North Devon!”

The North Devon Schools Surfing Championships 2016 couldn’t have run without the help and support from the following people:

Steve England @ Carve Surfing Magazine/ Surf Girl Magazine, Warren & Shaun Latham @ Goldcoast Oceanfest, volunteers from @ Croyde Surf Club, Adam @ WESC, Tiki Surf Shop, Woolacombe Bay Holiday Park, Rae@ Nalu Beads, Parkdean, Nick Rees @ Surfing Great Britain, and all of the students and teachers.

Final Standings:

Nalu Beads Girls Open
1st – Lily Mandevill – Ilfracombe Academy
2nd – Amy Dyer – Pilton
3rd – Francesca Sayer – Bideford
4th – Lydia Surridge – Braunton

Tiki Tag Team
1st Bideford
2nd Ilfracombe Academy
3rd Braunton Academy
4th Pilton Community College
5th Kingsley School
6th Park School

Final Placings
1st – Pilton Community College (3608 pts)
2nd – Ilfracombe Academy (3553 pts)
3rd – Bideford (3505 pts)
4th – Braunton Academy (3244 pts)
5th – Kingsley Park (2792 pts)
6th – Park School (2645 pts)

WESC Boys Open
1st – Freedom Wall – Pilton
2nd – Jake Arrowsmith– Braunton Academy
3rd – Garin Clay – Braunton Academy
4th – Reuben Morgan – Ilfracombe Academy