Pembrokeshire Surf Club win the Welsh Surfing Federation’s Wilkinson Sword following victory in the Welsh inter-club surf contest at Langland Bay.
Report Steve White. Photos Chris French.
The west Wales team put on an outstanding display to finish just ahead of last year’s Sword winners Langland Board Riders.
The win means PSC are guardians of the Sword for the first time in the competition’s history.
On Saturday 25th March, Channel Coast Surf Club (CSC), Welsh Coast Surf Club (WCSC), Pembrokeshire Surf Club (PSC) and Langland Board Riders (LBR) battled it out for Welsh surf supremacy in the 44th edition of “The Wilko”.
As defending event champions, LBR had earnt the right to host the Welsh inter-club event and hoped that home ground advantage would ensure retention of Welsh surfing’s most coveted of trophies, the Wilkinson Sword, donated by its names sake’s sponsors when the event was founded back in 1980.
Proceedings got underway in the morning with a big U18s Boys showdown between Elliot Barton (LBR), Eli Perrins-Davies (CCSC), Euan Buick (PSC) and Henry Munro (WCSC) slashing the trough at Langland on the drop from high.
This was followed by the Over 45s and Over 35s, then the reef started to throw up shoulder-high rights for the Women’s heats. Millie Zoeftig and Ellie Dixon (both LBR), Caitlin Bazley (CCSC), Katie David and Josie Hawke (both PSC) battled the rippy conditions successfully to register good scores.
The waves stood up to the cross-off wind for the Men’s and Women’s longboard mid-morning, with Ed Bresnan (LBR) and Craig Bright (CCSC) getting over the nose in clean, waist-high surf. Ellie Dixon and Breige Lawrence put numbers on the board for LBR and WCSC respectively with some solid longboarding displays.
With the big tide falling back and the breeze picking up, conditions got more challenging in the afternoon for the juniors’ heats. Despite this, Ffion Lewis’s efforts in the U18s Girls division gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about. Indi Lynch kept the scores ticking over for PSC, and some nice controlled turns from Gwen Morgan (WCSC) went down well with the judges.
Arthur Buick (PSC), Sol Williams (CCSC), Tom O’Leary (WCSC) and Max Davies (LBR) divided their attentions between the lefts and the middle of the bay, each laying down some quality carve action in the U16s Boys category. This was followed up by a fiercely contested U16s Girls heat that saw LBR’s Belle Thomas up against Poppy Owen (PSC) and Ruby Lewis (WCSC).
A big shout out to Ted Davies (LBR), Elijah Jones (PSC) and Coby Williams (WCSC) in the U14s Boys heat. Also to Josie Hawke (PSC), Taylor Shelmerdine (LBR), Caitlin Bazley (CCSC) and Summer Moore (WCSC) in the U14s Girls heat, all of whom managed the wind-blown conditions heroically to rack up points for their respective teams.
The outcome of the comp hinged on the final five Men’s heats, with competitors threading together scores over a wide area at near-low tide Langland. Mark Vaughan led by example, heading straight out back to patrol the sand bar. CCSC’s team captain was rewarded for his efforts with a nice cover-up on one of the bigger sets.
Euan Buick saved the fireworks for the end of the day. His clean boost off an inside ramp sent spectators and PSC into a frenzy and set the seal on the Wilko heading west for the first time in his club’s history.
1st PSC – 13,750 points
2nd LBR – 10,750
3rd WCSC – 9,500
4th CCSC – 7,250
Reacting to the win, PSC team captain, Harry Cromwell said:
“It’s a huge achievement to get a full team out and it’s the first time we’ve taken home the Wilkinson Sword.
“The waves were not the best and it was a bit difficult, but there’s been some great surfing today so that’s no excuse.
“Mark Vaughan was a stand-out surfer today, and Euan Buick who landed a nice air at the end of the day and a barrel in there somewhere as well.”
Phil Sadler, Coach & Team Manager at Pembrokeshire Surf Club said:
“It’s been a long time coming – we’ve been trying to get a full team together for quite a few years. It’s been difficult as the contest is very much a tactical game in terms of how it’s scored. But we’ve finally clicked, which is great.”
Welsh Surfing Federation’s director, Huw John said:
“It’s fantastic to see the Sword travel to Pembrokeshire for the first time in the event’s over 40-year history.
“The day’s action brought a range of conditions and at times some superb surfing. More importantly it brought the Welsh surfing community together for what is the WSF’s traditional curtain raiser to the season.”
In summary, the Wilkinson Sword was a great day, with Langland Bay’s multiple breaks giving plenty of variety given the conditions available. A big shout out to the Welsh Surfing Federation, event officials and LBR crew for hosting a fantastic event, and congratulations to PSC on the historic win. We look forward to heading west next year for the Wilkinson Sword 2024.
Huge thanks go to:
Judges / Officials – Huw John, Jamie Bateman, Rhydian Brewer, Steve White, James McGregor, Gwen Spurlock, Craig Nicol, Paul Killa, Phil Sadler, James Jones and Simon Page.