Damian Prisk

The first Anglo-French Challenge between the French Surfing Federation and the British Bodyboard Club went off in superb style in Quiberon this weekend.  The French put out a very strong team including 2009 French tour winner Sylvain Langlet and Pierre-Louis Costes, currently 6th in the IBA World Tour and in contention for the world title.

The British Team (sponsored by Brittany Ferries, Rob Barber’s Bodyboard School and NMD) consisted of Damian Prisk, Danny Catten and Danny Wall in the Open section; with U19s Dave Speller and Cian Salmon completing the junior section.

The competition was held over two days in Quiberon in South Brittany; on the Côte Sauvage break of Port Bara.  Saturday afternoon saw a stormy onshore 7ft swell, and a lack of familiarity with the break may have seen the downfall of the British team.  Their French counterparts showed better wave selection in the difficult conditions, and raced into an early 5-0 lead in the man-on-man format.  Though a number of heats were close, the French riders were the ones hitting the critical sections more cleanly to impress the judges.

The second and third rounds held on Sunday morning saw a determined British squad hit the water.  Conditions were cleaner and bigger than on Saturday, and with some experience under their belts combined with direction from team coach Rob Barber, they were quickly back in contention.

A convincing win from Salmon over the diminutive Max Castillo (look out for Castillo in the coming seasons though – the lad shows a maturity and style beyond his years) got the Brits on the scoreboard.  Dan Catten was neck and neck with Langlet in the next heat when the man from Hossegor picked up the wave of the round - a long pealing left.  The Frenchman ignored two makeable sections in favour of down the line speed and pulled off a huge invert as the wave closed out and nailed the heat.

Wall and Prisk both took wins in the second and third rounds respectively to advance the British tally. Prisk’s score in his final heat was the second highest score of the weekend; with the French head judge Olivier Etchebers saying: “His ARS was just perfect, and his re-entry reverse was massive”. However, the quality of the French riding was epitomised by Costes who remained unbeaten through the two days. His third round heat against Catten produced the ride of the day and saw him pull off a back-flip and ARS on the same wave for the highest score of the event.

The French eventually took the competition 10-3 but were magnanimous in victory, acknowledging how close many of the heats had been.  The return leg will be held on British shores in 2010/2011. 

The BBC would like to thank Olivier Etchebers of the FFS and Yannick Allançon of the Spirit Surf Club for their hospitality; along with Brittany Ferries, Rob Barbers Bodyboard School and NMD for their kind support.


SOURCE: British Bodyboard Club