We thought we’d let the dust settle a little after a hectic weekend down in Cornwall but we’re also conscious asylum fans will be keen to see our report and snaps so here’s the low down on this year’s BSUPA National SUP Surfing Champs from boss man Joey T.
After an exhausting 500 mile drive Finn and Joe finally landed at Watergate only to be greeted by large onshore conditions so it was decided to meet up with Tina at Crantock’s more sheltered beach and get some pre-event practice in. We were met by 4-6ft of green loveliness and it wasn’t long before the Finn and Tina were both out back catching some stonkers after the small boy had familiarised himself with his new 7’2” Pro.
It wasn’t long before the young shaver was dialled in and both riders were out back picking off the best of the set waves with Tina showing some real promise on our new 7’10” Short SUP after only paddling for 5 months!
Despite struggling with a 30L drop in volume from his previous Loco board and the wobbly conditions making life hard young Finn never likes to be out-pointed so started sticking some take offs and getting his wiggle on.
The meds must have kicked in as both Loco inmates were soon tearing the proverbial out of the sizeable waves. Deep gouging bottom turns and hacking off the top throwing loads of spray in the brisk offshore wind.
Whack of the morning went to Finn, smacking the hell out a late lip on his 7’2” Pro. For 13yrs old he’s certainly game!
Tina had a few work commitments to sort out so Joe played snapper while Finn tested our new 5’6” Tomo Surfboard for an hour or so until ‘stoke face’ was replaced with ‘need carbs face’ so it was off to Crantock’s village shop for a some local Cornish fare. We headed back to Watergate to see whether the waves had cleaned up any and the usual suspects were already there giving it the chat. Standard banter!
After some ‘man love’ it was decided we all hit Towan Beach for a little afternoon practice. We weren’t expecting much but as the tide went out the sets started jacking up, beautiful clean Cornish lines offering up 2-3 smacks. Just what the doctor ordered! Invariably there are no snaps from the session as everyone was in killing it! Not sure how pleased the surfers were when 15 SUPers rocked up but it was good to see people leaving a few for our prone brothers on the inside.
Naturally spirits were high and everything looked set for an interesting competition but much would depend on the size of the onshore surf the following day. The wind and rain howled all night making for a cold and restless night in the vans but everyone was up with the larks, game faces on and ready to do battle with the Hosigorian dump fest and strong onshore treadmill straight back to the beach. Today would be more about sensible equipment choice and having the stamina to get out back or play it safe and try and milk a reformer on the inside. Everyone had their own game plans.
Joe and Steve Laddiman resisted the urge to spend £45 on a white water rinsing to early exit. Most competitors were struggling to get out back erring for the still sizable reformers on the inside. That said Ben Fisher was one of the legends who combined a bit of luck with some sustained grunt and finally got out and dropped in on the huge bomb pictured above. Thankfully the U16 competition had been postponed to the Sunday which promised a smaller forecast but Tina was still expected to compete in heat 1 of the ladies competition in the F5 onshore wind! She was confident she could get out back coming from a longboarding background but after 15mins of paddling it was evident that she’d tired herself out even struggling to catch the reformers with very little time left in her heat which meant she didn’t finish first and automatically qualify for the finals. Thankfully she was going to get to surf twice in the form of the reportage the following day. A game plan was at least hatched that she’d score a couple of reformers the next day then try and venture out back for green faced glory!
The mens event continued undeterred but it boiled down to who got out back which meant we didn’t see any meaningful turns from several riders we had our eye on for potential team selection which was a bit of a shame.
As ever the event was awash with brands and shapers all checking out each others wares. Having buddied up with custom shaper John Purton last year I was keen to get his view on our latest surf shapes and am pleased to report he thought they looked really good and were respectable weights even compared to the some of the superlight and often fragile customs dotted around the beach.
Saturday night was not so much of a party as many riders still had to compete but that didn’t stop the usual band of reprobates knocking back large doubles until the early hours. Sadly Joe was on grom-sitting duty so it was a few early ones then back to the van for some kip ahead of an early morning dip to assess the prevailing conditions.
photo credit: Geoff Tydeman
Sunday was a much nicer day with warm sunshine and the wind had swung cross off making the treadmill of large white water a little bit easier for the majority to negotiate at low tide. After a couple of mens heats the groms took to the water with Finn easily winning his heat on his 7’4′ short SUP which looked to be the best option for catching the reformers on the inside. He came off the water totally amped and was talking about giving Ollie a run for his money in the final.
Tina was up next and she seemed confident she could get past her heat and get into the final later in the day. That said there were a few nervous moments when she continued to try and get out back and it looked like she’d be out of time and make an untimely exit from the heat. Thankfully the strategic penny finally dropped and it wasn’t long before she accepted defeat and scored a couple of bankers on the inside which was enough to get her through. Things seemed to shaping up nicely for Team Loco!!
Against Joe’s better judgement Finn insisted on going surfing in between in his heat win and the groms final which came back to bite him in the ass. Again determined to get out back and catch ‘a proper wave’ Finn tired himself out when he should have stuck to the original plan and dialled in reformer after reformer on the inside which would have probably secured him a solid second place versus 4th! We’re confident he’ll learn from the experience and will embrace practice with a little more gusto over the next 12 months! A well deserved win for Ollie Laddiman in the U16 Boys and it was good to see Jim Richardson’s daughter Bethan taking the U16 girls title which must have taken the edge of his persistent toothache.
Tina was up in the ladies final next and it looked like the wave Gods were smiling on her as she put together a 5 turn wave at the very start of the heat. After some persistent paddling out she put together another wave, again with more surfing flare than her fellow finalists so it was reasonable to think she’d done enough to win.
Everyone who watched the final certainly thought she was miles ahead, so much so the SUPBoarder Mag guys even did an interview with her after it! Needless to say when the results were announced it was unfathomable that the judges had her down as 3rd? Even the crowd jeered shouting ‘Tina won that’. Quite how they arrived at the decision that Holly Bassett won it still remains a mystery? Considering the process is supposed to be about selecting the best possible paddle surfers for Team GB selection I can’t honestly say this happened this year in the ladies event!
The men’s final was certainly some spectacle with some real atlantic bombs appearing as the tide pushed in. Once again the standard of SUP surfing had progressed with Aaron, Matt, Glyn and Alex all showing that they could twist in even the most challenging conditions. Bit of a schoolboy error from Aaron smashing a wave before the start of the heat, leaving himself on the inside for a few on the head without even scoring!
Alex was first out of the blocks with a solid backhand ride throwing some nice tails ending with an almost vertical lip climb.
Then it was Aaron’s turn dialling in about 5 turns on what looked to be nothing. His ability to pick out open sections in a wave is second to none in my humble opinion.
Matt laid down a solid wave smacking the lip and re-directing at full speed a couple of times before nailing a couple of hacks to max out an opening score. Aaron looked like he might have stolen it with a huge air attempt but sadly didn’t land it.
Glyn was certainly dancing around the pocket but a wave never really presented itself until him and Aaron fought was what was probably Aaron’s last chance to win the final. Glyn did enough to get the wave but was given an infringement so his 2nd wave score was halved!
Wave of the comp went to a deserving Matt who hit the lip so late everyone thought it would end in a left hook from mother nature but in true Welsh Shrek style he beast-moded it sticking a tricky landing like a true champ!
Needless to say boss man Joe is over the moon with his Team’s results and looks forward to next year’s competition where we’re hopeful justice will be finally served.
Once again the sun decided to pop out just as the prizes were being given out but more annoyingly the surf decided to clean up just as Joe received ‘decree absolute’ that Finn had to be back at school in the morning (no excuses) which basically meant no afternoon surf.
As we drove up the hill we witnessed Loco Steve Laddiman hitting lip after lip on his 8’2” Pro testifying that our production boards can go toe to toe with anything else out there.
Make sure you’re on the best production sup surfing brand this winter. Stay tuned for our 2014 end of season sale, grab one of the first 2015 boards and watch this space for our first Loco invitational event.