With over 80 longboarders entered, one of the highest since the competition began, all was set for a really exciting weekend to celebrate the 10th Jesus Longboard classic held at its traditional venue of Polzeath based in the amazing facility of the Tubestation.
Organisers Christian Surfers UK were in the middle of a very busy period of events, running the second leg of the Jesus Surf Classic (25th anniversary) the previous weekend.
After receiving feedback from the longboard community last year, there seemed to be a real desire to introduce for the first time a 60+ age category which was called ‘The Legends’ a fitting name for all those inspirational surfers who entered.
The organising team met to plan on Friday night in order that by 8 AM on Saturday morning all entered surfers were welcomed with breakfast and special commemorative event T-shirts. Heats were soon underway by 8:45 AM. Everybody knew that Saturday would be a tough day with onshore winds expected all day and wet conditions and this certainly turned out to be the case so huge respect for the judges, beach marshals’ and other beach based officials who faced the elements throughout the day.
By the end of day one over 20 heats were run in surf ranging from 2 to 3 feet, at the start of the day to a solid 4 feet plus and heavy onshore by the end of the day, but nobody complained. The atmosphere at the Tubestation was fantastic with a full house throughout the day, surf movies, and hospitality throughout.
Around 5pm as an additional treat for the surfers Sam Bleakley (currently recovering from an operation) had been invited to come and show one of his ‘secret corner’ surf documentaries based on his trips to Ghana.
This was really well received, and was followed by a lively and thought-provoking Q & A after from an appreciative audience.
Sunday dawned, day two, and as the saying goes ‘what a difference a day makes’, beautiful sunshine with 2 – 3-foot slight offshore waves and apart from a bit of early morning mist great visibility. As always happens on the second day of this event the surfers are invited to a very simple ‘Surfers blessing’ in the Tubestation, which this year was themed around the word, ‘joy’ and sharing joy, and reminding ourselves that taking small steps to improve someone else’s life can make a difference in the lives of those people.
Following that all those attended were blessed with Polzeath sea water from the new head of the church Alistair, and an Hawaiian Lei was giving out to all present, whilst the Grenaways played in the background.
The action moved swiftly then to the beach where 16 heats were run all semi-finals and finals in some great conditions. By around 3 PM the ‘open’ final was being run will which saw a fantastic 9.6-point ride from Ben Howey, which was the highest ride of the weekend, a fitting conclusion to the action in the water.
At the presentation in a packed Tubestation, thanks were given to all those involved by head of Christian Surfers and the Jesus Surf series, Phil Williams, who also shared a few reflections about the previous 10 years and the spiritual side of surfing which this event always embraced.
As always in an event like this will there are winners and losers but in addition it is always great to see people who entered for the first time, never were going to win, but made to feel very welcome, and confirming they will be back !!
With regards to the results, the inaugural over 60s title in a five-man final was won by Colin Bright (Llantwit major) a many time winner of various titles during this event, followed closely by Graham Hetem.
In the over 50’s category North Devon’s Rich Unsworth just took the title ahead of Colin Bright in his second final, and Tim Quick from Barnstaple.
The most popular category of the weekend was the Masters (over 35’s), and in a very tight final Porthcawl’s Steve Horn just took the title ahead of Rob Davin, Newquay’s Stephen Harrison, and Wadebridge local George Stoy.
It is always great to see a good crop of juniors (under 18’s) and this year was no exception, with Jordan Zervas from Newquay just taking the title ahead of Barnaby Innes.
The final two categories were both held in great conditions, as the low tide started to push and the wind remained light. Emily Currie dominated all the heats up to the final and in the final continued in the same vein, taking the title cheque and jewellery, although Dartington’s Claire Smail pushed her all the way with Jen Pendlebury, and Alice Brown also competing in a tight final.
The open final was a great advert for longboard surfing in the UK, which pitted one of the senior surfers Ben Howey against three of the youngsters coming through and on this occasion Ben, who sealed the victory with a 9.6 ride took the title and the cheque to retain his title.
All the other surfers in the final had also done so well by getting to the final in the juniors and on this occasion, Lewis Stritch just beat Barnaby Innes and Jordan Zervas to take second place.
As well as all the surfers, their families and supporters, and volunteer’s, the organisers of the event would like to say a huge thank you to the sponsors for their support in particular Nineplus, Finisterre, Zea Glass, Bird Sunglasses, Old Guys Rule and George’s Surf School, Tubestation, and Christian Surfers UK, and not forgetting the brilliant media team from Beagle Creative, photographer Andy Holter, and Era adventure, covering water safety, and of course the surfers of the Polzeath area who shared the waves with the event throughout.
The Christian Surfers crew are now heading up to help at the UK Pro Surf Tour in Snowdonia (Sunday 22nd October) and then heading up to Thurso to serve at the UK Pro Surf tour event.
If you’d like to know more about the work of Christian surfers or Tubestation don’t hesitate to contact [email protected] or log on to www.christiansurfers.co.uk or www.tubestation.org.
All in all, a fantastic weekend, a truly fitting event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this hugely popular weekend.
1st Ben Howey
2nd Lewis Stritch
3rd Barnaby Innes
4th Jordan Zervas
1st Emily Currie
2nd Claire Smail
3rd Jenny Pendlebury
4th Alice Brown
Under 18 men
1st Jordan Zervas
2nd Barnaby Innes
3rd Jack Gregorius
4th Tom Horn
1st Steve Horn
2nd Rob Davin
3rd Steven Harrison
4th George Stoy
1st Rich Unsworth
2nd Colin Bright
3rd Tim Quick
4th Martin Lewis
1st Colin Bright
2nd Graham Hetem
3rd Chris Taylor
4th Gwyn Bright
5th Ray Sampsom