If It’s October, This Must Be Fistral….

Once again we reached the climax of the British Longboard Union tour with The Stable, Fistral Longboard Classic. A firm favourite stop of the more progressive longboarder, and despite the cancellation of the original running date due to non-contestable conditions, the north end of Fistral finally delivered in spades on the second attempt.

The forecast 4-6ft clean swell appeared on time, in the right place and with a big ol’ dollop of power to greet the first round of the Men’s Open as the tide started to bottom out. Local lad and Surf Relik standout Adam Griffiths went straight to work like a man possessed.

The reduced number of entries from the original September dates certainly didn’t detract from the quality on show, standouts of Day 1 including Wales’s Elliot Dudley taking out his Single Fin heat with power, grace and no leash despite the ever-present threat of a punishing swim. In the Women’s division, Jenny Briant and Claire Smail set their stalls out early, both dropping into some significantly chunky walls of water to rack up the points and cruise into their respective semis.

Things were a bit tougher for the Masters and Grand Masters, as the incoming tide seemed to coincide with an additional pulse of power that made the paddle out a coin toss. Those that made it out back were rewarded with some big drops, long hackable walls and another punishing paddle for dessert. Paul Keenan looked nothing but comfortable in the big stuff and made the Grand Master’s final on his first foray into the over 50s club, alongside regular finalist Adam Zervas. The first Masters semi was a very close affair but finally saw Colin Bright and Thomas Gibson go through to meet Damian Hooker and current champ Jason Gray.

Day 2 opened with equally powerful but slightly smaller surf, which definitely made every division that much more contestable. Becky Brown made the most of the bigger surf to take 2nd in her semi and make her first BLU final. Ultimately, former BLU Women’s Champion Claire Smail was able to dig deep enough into her bags of experience to edge out the two Jen’s (Pendlebury and Briant) and Becky with a well-crafted 15 point total that also sees her name back on the perpetual trophy.

The more forgiving conditions and less insane paddle gave the Masters and Grand Masters the opportunity to really get to work, and with Jason Gray’s local knowledge and a vaguely partisan crowd, the result of the Masters final was never really in doubt. The Grand Masters, however, turned up more plot twists than a whole year of UK soap operas. With regular finalist Colin Bright missing out on a place, it looked pretty safe that current champ Adam Zervas would take the win. Enter Paul ‘Keeno’ Keenan to throw the cat amongst the pigeons and take out his first ever final with some style. You couldn’t make this stuff up!

The Single Fin final saw Elliot Dudley continue his dominance since returning from a self-imposed leave of absence.  It seems to have paid off, as he managed some of the biggest total heat scores of the weekend, finishing with a score of 16.75 and taking the event and tour wins. 

A reduced U16 Cadets, U18 Juniors and U18 Girls field meant that all three divisions were straight finals. This didn’t detract from the quality on show, Jordan Zervas and Jack Gregorius going goofy-toe-to-goofy-toe in the Juniors in a battle which saw Jack take the win thanks to some powerful surfing off the tail in the somewhat wobbly lefthanders. Fistral locals and salt-encrusted beach urchins Joel and Sienna Morison took first in the U16 Cadets and U18 Girls respectively, both finals being man-on-man. Hopefully, the apparent lack of younger longboarders is a blip, rather than a worrying trend.

Last, and most definitely not least, the Men’s Open saw Adam Griffiths, Ben Howey, Jack Unsworth and Evan Rogers battle it out in the almost high tide in front of a genuinely enthusiastic beach crowd. In the end, and despite the best efforts of Adam in particular, this was the time for a fairytale ending 15 years in the making. In spite of his unquestionable ability as a longboarder, a very strong performance at the ISA World Longboarding Games and on the European circuit, Ben had never managed to secure a win at a BLU event. Well, today it all finally came together with a cool, calm and complete performance that only wobbled ever-so-slightly in the dying moments when it looked like Adam may have pulled something out of the bag. With his first place at Fistral, and a narrow defeat to Elliot at Saunton earlier this year, Ben also gets his name engraved into the annals of BLU history as Men’s Open Tour Champion. Congratulations, Ben!

A huge thank you to our event sponsors, judges, support and media staff and all the competitors and spectators who helped to make The Stable, Fistral Longboard Classic 2018 the great success it was. Special thanks go out to our main event sponsor ‘The Stable, Fistral’ who kept the judges and event staff fed and watered, ‘Fistral Beach, Newquay’ for location support and parking and ‘Ocean & Earth’.

As always, special mention to Contest Director Minnow Green and the BLU committee for their continuing and unwavering belief in British longboarding.

Report/photos: BLU/Farscapes Ltd

BLU Stable Fistral Report BLU Stable Fistral Report

Men’s Open
1. Ben Howey
2. Adam Griffiths
3. Jack Unsworth
4. Evan Rogers

Women’s Open
1. Claire Smail
2. Jenny Briant
3. Jen Pendlebury
4. Becky Brown

1. Jason Gray
2. Colin Bright
3. Thomas Gibson
4. Damian Hooker

Grand Masters
1. Keeno Keenan
2. Adam Zervas
3. Tim Quick
4. Stephen Stritch

U16 Cadets
1. Joel Morison
2. Matt Mitchell

U18 Juniors
1. Jack Gregorius
2. Jordan Zervas
3. Joel Morison
4. Matt Mitchell

U18 Girls
1. Sienna Morison
2. Stella Briggs

Single Fin
1. Elliot Dudley
2. Jack Unsworth
3. Evan Rogers
4. Lewis Stritch