2009 Auto-Sleepers British Bodyboard Nationals at Porthtowan 

The 2009 BSA/BBC Auto-Sleepers British Bodyboard Nationals were completed over the weekend, with impressive performances across all divisions and a new National Champion crowned.

With highly contestable waves all weekend at Porthtowan, the cream of British bodyboarding ripped the conditions apart in pursuit of the biggest prize pot in European national championship competition. The highlight was the Open and Drop Knee finals, with the winners needing near perfect scores to win.

The Women’s and age category divisions (Cadet – Under 16, Junior – Under 18, Senior – Over 28 and Masters – Over 35) were all completed on Saturday in two- to three-foot conditions. The Porthtowan banks were producing an abundance of open faces and rampy sections, so there was no shortage of opportunity for the competitors to strut their stuff.

The Under 16s saw Stephen Hall battle through the heats to successfully defend his title. Sam Newby upped his game to finish a creditable second, with Olly Bayliss third and James Moores fourth.

The Under 18s ultimately produced a memorable contest between Stephen Hall and Cian Salmon. These two, along with Luke Brabyn, dominated their respective early round heats and were clear favourites in the final. Jarryd Wingfield secured the last final berth with a late combo in his semi to progress. As it was, it was the looping el-rollos of Salmon that caught the judges’ eye in the final and secured the victory. Hall came second after a series of good combination moves but was missing any eye-catching moves above the lip line; he narrowly beat Brabyn into third and Wingfield into fourth place.

The Seniors saw current Welsh champion Mark ‘Splinter’ Griffiths qualify for the Over 28 division for the first time; and the diminutive former WSG representative saw off stiff competition to clinch the win. The Senior’s division produced the stand out surfing of the day through the heats, and saw Bjorn Storey, Dan Catten and Eldred Hawke (fresh from his victory in the Greenaway Pro competition the previous day) join Griffiths in the final. With the biggest waves of the day three-foot sets offered some high-performance lefthand rides as the tide pushed in. Splint secured victory with three big outside rolls on one wave; the judges all scored the ride in the excellent range.

The Masters final saw a tussle between Porthtowan locals Eldred Hawke and Danny Catten and the Jersey contingent of Colin Crowther and Simon Watkins. Eldred boosted a tight ARS that saw him lead for the back half of the heat with the lead passed from one to the other of the local boys with some high scoring exchanges . In the dying minutes Dan Cattern snatched victory with a long left that reformed back right and offered a string of fast carving spins. 

The Women’s final saw a commanding performance from reigning champion Gemma Britton, who within five minutes of the heat starting had nailed two fast spins on a wave which gave her an unassailable lead. Olivia Smedley was hot on her heels with some nice carving turns and some good forward spins. Tabby Fox was surfing well and challenging for second until she came unstuck on one ride and got caught in a rip current to the righthand side of the contest area which kept her busy for the second half of the heat. Christine Blackburn showed good promise for the future and placed fourth. Gemma Britton is proving to be a force to be reckoned with in the Women’s division, it will be interesting to see how she fares against Clemi Hardy, who missed this event due to travel commitments.

The perfect conditions on Sunday saw the Drop Knee heats and final run off in three- to four-foot left and right breaking peaks. Aidan Salmon took an early lead with a strong forehand floater and as the 30 minute final moved on the right handers were the waves that offered the best scores as the tide came on to an excellent sandbank. Danny Wall smashed an excellent reverse off the lip and stole the lead only to be usurped by an incredible performance from Laurie McCall. He scored a perfect 10 point ride followed by a 9.5 for a tight snap followed by a floater then another big floater on the following wave. Remi Geffroy left the heat early in order to save himself for the Open final which followed shortly afterwards. McCall took the award for the best performance of the event and won the much sought after BZ Yamo custom board.

The Open final was stacked with three generations of top British bodyboarders — elder statesman Danny Catten, the grand master Damian Prisk and newer schoolers Remi Geffroy and Jack Johns. Prisk opened his account early with a move-filled wave that ended with a big ARS that he was unlucky not to land as the wave reformed. Jack Johns was surfing with a silky-smooth style but lacked any big moves above the lip line. Remi Geffroy looked tired after making the second major final of the event. Other than a wave with three rolls on it he seemed a little lost in the three- to four-foot peaks. Catten found his rhythm 10 minutes into the heat with a set wave that included a barrel roll, a cuttie reverse then a big invert air on the inside. The judges threw him a 10 and he spent the next 10 minutes waiting patiently for a back up wave. After another big outside roll and combo packed inside connection the title and a cheque for £1,000 were his.

The event was a great success with an excellent standard of riding. Conversations on the beach suggest that it was the best British National Championships ever. Roll on next year.

The British Bodyboard Club would like to thank the Auto-Sleeper Group for their continuing support as main sponsor of the event alongside divisional sponsors Alder Wetsuits, Assured Highway Solutions, The Beach Hotel Porthtowan, Collection House, C W Harwood, NMD, Rob Barber’s Bodyboard School and ThreeSixty. Sub-sponsors were The Beach Café, The Blue Bar, BZ, Corona Extra, A1 Surf.com, Kernow Bodyboarding and Prone.


Full results:

Auto Sleepers Open

1st Danny Catten (£1,000)
2nd Damien Prisk (£500)
3rd Jack Johns (£250)
4th Remi Geffroy (£150)

Rob Barbers Bodyboard School/ThreeSixty Drop Knee

1st Laurie McCall
2nd Danny Wall
3rd Aiden Salmon
4th  Remi Geffroy

C W Harwood Womens

1st  Gemma Britton 
2nd  Olivia Smedley
3rd Tabby Fox
4th  Christine Blackburn

The Beach Hotel U16

1st Stephen Hall
2nd  Sam Newby 
3rd  Olly Bayliss
4th James Moores

NMD U18

1st Cian Salmon
2nd Stephen Hall 
3rd  Luke Brabyn
4th Jarryd Wingfield

Alder Wetsuits Seniors

1st Mark Griffiths
2nd  Bjorn Storey
3rd Danny Catten
4th Eldred Hawke

Assured Highway Solutions Masters

1st Danny Catten
2nd Eldred Hawke
3rd Simon Watkins
4th  Colin Crowther


SOURCE: British Bodyboard Club