From the four corners of the Kingdom they came, chisel-jawed, keen of sight, fleet of foot with waxing hand primed and ready for battle. To be fair, that’s a slight exaggeration but there were a couple of Scots who now live in Cornwall, at least one Welshman who goes to the gym and a whole mob of troublemakers from North Devon. Some of whom didn’t need corrective eyewear. Oh, and the Cornish from the WEST west. But more on that later.

Anyway, the time had finally, FINALLY come for the first gathering of the BLU family following a couple of barren years that most of us will be happy to see consigned to the history books – a new start in a new year and a NEW venue. A beautiful venue. One of the jewels of West Cornwall. Porthmeor Beach, St Ives! The onsite facilities provided by Saints Boardriders made the whole deal that much sweeter.

The forecast had been on the ‘vertically challenged’ side in Cornwall with monotonous regularity for a while, and it took two swings at this one to get the contest under way. Even the reserve date didn’t look promising, and it took a brave decision by the committee to call the event on. They were repaid for their ridiculous optimism with just the faintest whisperings of a swell that, against literally all the odds, made the weekend not only contestable but astonishingly good fun.

Saturday morning saw most of the car parks within a mile radius stuffed full of vans, single fins, groms, beards, floppy hats, single fins, more groms, single fins etc. Some familiar faces, some not so familiar and some from way back when. All were welcome, all were keen to surf. The tide eventually drained out far enough for the long, long lines of swell to start spilling over into surfable waves and the biggest entry Single Fin division for many a year hit the water. Without any wasteful hyperbole, the amount of nose-riding that followed in the next few hours was so vast that even the hint of a turn was greeted with confused delirium. I have never seen so many toes over so many noses. By the quarter final stage it became clear that Day 2 was going to be a blinder. Standouts in the early rounds were goofy-legend-from-way-out-west Mikey Lay, Welsh wizard Elliot Dudley, Sam ‘Blimey He’s Erudite’ Bleakley, Ashley ‘The Comeback Kid’ Braunton and the three mega-groms Arthur Randell, Lukas ‘Oh no, he longboards as well’ Skinner and Ted Pearson, who made the most of their substantial weight advantage.

With recently crowned Boardmasters and English Nationals Champion Emily Currie in the Women’s Open, it would have been reasonable to assume the result was only going one way. In a proper ‘hold my coat’ moment, up stepped Izzy Henshall to take the highest heat score in both the quarter and semi-finals. Game on? Sadly not. Due to a commitment elsewhere for Emily on Sunday and an abortive attempt to run the final in the dying light and rising tide on Day 1, destiny this time was firmly with Izzy. Her strong and smooth performance in the final put her firmly ahead of Sam Sunshine and Amelia Hewitson who were separated by the wafer thin margin of 0.1 points.

Unsurprisingly, in the junior divisions Arthur and Lukas claimed the lion’s share of the honours, with Arthur taking the U16s and Lukas the U18 Boys thanks to an almost supernatural ability to find super-long noserides that served up 5s and 10s like they were in a going-out-of-business sale.
The U18 Girls division was short on entries, but definitely not on surfing talent. Izzy Henshall, Sylvie Puddiphatt and Eleanor Hewlett made a great contest of it in what turned out to be some of the weakest swell of the day. It was Izzy, with her super smooth goofy skills who prevailed by 0.34 points

The Masters and Grandmasters divisions, usually the well-attended stalwarts of the BLU, were also noticeably light on entries, with the Grandmasters being a straight final. Again, definitely no lack of talent with the seemingly ageless Sam Bleakley taking the Masters and Adam Chell victorious in the Grandmasters over timeless Robocop-of-a-man Colin Bright.
In conclusion, great to be back, amazing surfing, good weather, great location, great people and just enough swell to make a cracking weekend of it.

Men’s Open
1st Michael Lay
2nd Elliot Dudley
3rd Evan Rogers
4th Lukas Skinner

Women’s Open
1st Izzy Henshall
2nd Sam Sunshine
3rd Amelia Hewitson
4th Emily Currie

1st Sam Bleakley
2nd Adam Chell
3rd Adrian Napper
4th Stephen Burley

1st Adam Chell
2nd Colin Bright
3rd Ray Lee
4th Vikki Burley

U16 Cadets
1st Arthur Randell
2nd Lukas Skinner
3rd Teddy Nicholls
4th Sydney Randell

U18 Boys
1st Lukas Skinner
2nd Arthur Randell
3rd Ted Pearson
4th Sydney Randell

U18 Girls
1st Izzy Henshall
2nd Sylvie Puddiphatt
3rd Eleanor Hewlett

Single Fin
1st Mike Lay
2nd Elliot Dudley
3rd Sam Bleakley
4th Ashley Braunton