Jack Johns: incredible victory

October 2nd 2010 will go down as one of the greatest day’s competition in British Bodyboarding history. The forecast for days had been good; the reality on the morning of the Nationals competition and the fourth and final round of the Auto-Sleepers British Bodyboard Tour was simply epic. The offshore wind blew down the Porthtowan valley, chilling the assembly of competitors before heading out to sea grooming the six foot plus bombs that were unloading on the banks outside.

There was so much at stake, eight national champions would be crowned at the end of the weekend and the 2010 Tour champion decided. At 9am on Saturday morning it could have gone to six different riders, who could hold their nerve?

First in the water was the Open division. Huge ARS’, tweaked inverts and perfect reverses set the tone for the event. Early standouts included Portreath ripper Tim Brown who after a couple of years out of competition looked hungry for glory. Another rider back on the contest scene was Ali Daniels whose fast reverses and a sick after the hooter, backflip had the regulars worried.

Day one also saw the semi finals of the seniors, the under 16s and under 18s and the drop knee divisions in the water. Again the standard was high but the under 16s in particular showed the future of the sport is in great shape as they committed to heavy sections landing some lofty rolls, watch out you open division riders, the new kids are coming!

The day was completed with the quarter finals of the Open division. Once again Brown looked good taking another first place in his heat but showing equal form was local hotshot Damian Prisk and tour contender Jack Johns. The other contenders for the tour title fell by the wayside in the quarters which meant it was a two horse race, Jack Johns or current tour leader, Remi Geffroy.

Day two was different, the swell was still there and so was the wind but now it was a straight northerly, straight onshore and the big clean faces were now at best “tough” but in all honesty, it looked plain nasty! First to take on the punishing conditions was the Masters division, sponsored by Collection House Ltd. With two out of the four riders coming from Jersey, the trophy looked like it could be heading for the islands. It sounds odd but the honourable mention of the heat has to go to Colin Crowther who endured a full 35 minutes of paddling as set after set landed on the pint sized Jersey man but he didn’t give up, good effort! The title was really only between Pete Bolam and Simon Watkins. Both struggled to find a section that didn’t threaten life and limb but it was Bolam’s longer rides and controlled spins that eventually saw him take the title back to Bristol. Colin managed to snag one good ride just before the hooter to finish 3rd and edge Wales’ Jono Sharp back into 4th.

The conditions were still big when the Beach Hotel Porthtowan under 16 division took to the water, but once again they showed they will be contenders in the open division in a year or two’s time. This clash of the south coast titans featured a number of big rolls which impressed the judges. In the end, it was the speed and power of 15 year old Harry Smith’s riding that helped him beat Lloyd Atherton into second place.

The increased number of women in this year’s competition was really encouraging. The style and commitment to the conditions was excellent with all four finalists demonstrating great control in the heavy surf. The early exchanges had all four riders on similar scores and at the half way point it was anyone’s to win. However, Tabitha Fox upped her game and nailed a number of spins in a flurry of waves that saw her posting excellent scores on the judging sheets which was enough to seal the deal and take home the CW Harwood women’s crown.
As in the women’s division, it was reassuring to see so many entries in the under 14 division. The big conditions made it hard for the young riders to make it out the back but some tactical positioning got them into some nice inside reform waves. All the riders demonstrated solid control in the fast waves with some great rail to rail surfing. Sian Spooner came within inches of landing several el rollos and Jamie Loweth and Ryan Bullen also came close to completing their forward spins. It was Sam Crabtree who took the Rob Barber Bodyboarding School sponsored title as he ventured further out and took off on two big clean faces and scooped down the line fine style, nice one Sam.

The next final was Found Boards sponsored Seniors division. Four stalwarts of the British bodyboarding contest scene went for it with Chris Bray making his mark early in the heat with a tight spin in the pocket finished with a projecto roll. Barber responded with a similar wave but threw in a tight reverse to lead the heat. Prisk gambled and sat to the right of the other riders and it almost paid off but a second solid ride from Barber saw him pip his rival to the post and another shiny trophy to add to the cabinet was confirmed.
In the Alder Wetsuits Dropknee there was a mouth watering line-up of in-form Dave Spencely and Chris Milford alongside local pair, Jonny Winkworth and Seth Hamon. The conditions were far from ideal for DK and the early rides looked nervous. Milford took the bull by the horns and at the halfway point nailed a solid spray throwing cutback backed up with a couple of carving spins. The patience and local knowledge eventually rewarded Hamon with a hefty left which in typical style was hit hard from the local ninja. This was quickly backed up by another high scoring ride featuring a couple of forward and reverse spins. There was a late charge from fellow local boy Jonny Winkworth but it wasn’t enough, leaving Seth in first place and the new national DK champion.

The penultimate final of the day was the under 18 division sponsored by NMD Boards. If ever there was a perfect start to a heat, this was it. With barely 30 seconds on the clock, the increasing force that is Steve Hall took off; bottom turned into a sweet forward spin, headed down the line and tweaked possibly the best invert of the event! Hall posted a second solid score soon after that making it a competition for second place. South coasters Atherton and Smith went for it with Callum Morse getting in the thick of the action. After being beaten by his rival in the under 16s, Atherton took it on and with a couple of big rolls posted the scores he needed to beat Smith to second place.

The final final of the day was a proper nail biter. Jack Johns needed to finish in first or second place to beat Remi Geffroy (who had narrowly lost out in his semi) to the Auto Sleepers Group national title. The trouble was he needed to beat Prisk, Daniels and Speller first. In the semi final, island lad Dave Speller had beaten Johns and, Prisk and Daniels were literally flying through their heats, game on! Remi could barely watch as Jack opened his account with a solid invert off a bowling right hander. Prisk responded with a text book reverse and barely one point separated the two. Daniels and Speller never quite found the form they had in the earlier rounds so it was looking like a showdown between Johns and Prisk. Both riders sat patiently and eventually backed up their early waves with similar rides but it was the slightly larger wave choice from Johns that allowed him to boost bigger and faster than the rest of the pack. With the tabulation done, the final order was revealed, Daniels in fourth, Speller in third, Prisk in second and to a huge cheer, Jack Johns was announced at the 2010 British Bodyboard Club National champion and winner of the 2010 Tour. The top three positions on the Tour were Damian Prisk in third, Remi Geffroy second and Jack Johns first.

You can see the full leader board at www.britishbodyboardclub.co.uk

Huge thanks must go to the BBC team for putting on a fantastic year of competition. Thanks must also go to the headline sponsors Auto Sleepers Group, without them the growth of British bodyboarding recent years simply couldn’t have happened. Stay tuned for announcements of the 2011 tour and before then one more special competition!

Final places

Under 14 – Sponsored by Rob Barber’s Bodyboarding School
1st Sam Crabtree
2nd Sian Spooner
3rd Jamie Loweth
4th Ryan Bullen

Under 16 – Sponsored by Beach Hotel Porth Towan
1st Harry Smith
2nd Lloyd Atherton
3rd Joe Woodhouse
4th Josh Soar

Under 18 – Sponsored by NMD Boards
1st Steve Hall
2nd Lloyd Atherton
3rd Harry Smith
4th Callum Morse

Women’s – Sponsored by CW Harwood
1stTabitha Fox
2ndKirsty Mann
3rdGemma Briton
4thOlivia Smedley

Seniors (Over 28) – Sponsored by Found Boards
1st Rob Barber
2nd Damian Prisk
3rd Chris Bray
4th Joe Franklin

Masters (Over 35) – Sponsored by Collection House Ltd
1st Pete Bolam
2nd Simon Watkins
3rd Colin Crowther
4th Jono Sharp

DropKnee – Sponsored by Alder wetsuits
1st Seth Hamon
2nd Jonny Winkworth
3rd Dave Spencely
4th Chris Milford

Open – Sponsored by Auto Sleepers Group
1st Jack Johns
2nd Damian Prisk
3rd Dave Speller
4th Ali Daniels

BBC Tour – Sponsored by Auto Sleepers Group
1st Jack Johns
2nd Remi Geffroy
3rd Damian Prisk


SOURCE: British Bodyboard Club