- 08 January 2009 | Bodyboarding
David Speller dominated the Earth Wind & Water Channel Island Bodyboarding Championships 2008, by winning the Open, Junior and Drop-Knee titles in pumping 3-6ft surf at Petit Port Reef early on Sunday morning.
Following a month of postponements due to December’s poor weekend surf conditions, the belated 2008 event finally got underway in bitter conditions, with an air temperature of only -3 Celsius.
Due to the severity of the cold, the organisers, the Jersey Bodyboarders, adapted the format of the event so that each bodyboarder would only have to surf one long heat, rather then be in and out the cold sea throughout the morning. The competitor’s highest scoring two waves would then count towards their overall championships score. This made for an interesting competition, as the usual heat progression tactics of doing just enough to progress through a heat had to be put aside, in favour of going all out for the win.
Heat one saw junior surfers Dan Garton, Mike Alfano, Phil Le Neveu and British junior champion Speller first up to test the conditions. Le Neveu was the first to post a high scoring ride, finding himself perfectly positioned for a big drop into an A-frame 6ft peak. Le Neveu followed this wave with two more good right-handers, launching a big air on the first one and an excellent back-flip on the other. Unfortunately the manouevres weren't fully completed, and therefore didn't post notable scores from the judging panel. Garton, the youngest competitor in the event missed out on the bigger set waves, but did pull into one very hollow barrel on the inside, which slammed shut on him, giving him quite a wipeout.
Alfano's bodyboarding has gone up a level recently, and this was again evident as he found some good peeling waves performing forward and reverses 360's along the way. It was Speller who shone in this heat though, by first wetting the judge’s appetite by launching into an incomplete back-flip attempt, which was followed next wave by a much bigger and this time perfectly executed back-flip on a hollow left-hander. Later in the heat Speller found another hollow left, posting a second high score, following a cleanly exited tube ride.
Heat two featured Eduardo Afonso, Andy de la Mare, Seb Bonnier and one of the pre-contest favourites Clint Loake. Despite riding some of the biggest and heaviest waves of the day, Loake failed to find his usual rythym, and couldn't make his manoeuvres stick. Meanwhile de la Mare, was picking off some solid clean peeling waves, pulling spins along the way. Eduardo and Bonnier both had good rides of their own, but couldn't find strong second scoring waves to back up their best rides.
The draw for heat three pitched together the more experienced bodyboarders Simon Watkins, Gary Le Neveu and club Chairman Peter Bolam. This heat featured the biggest set of waves of the day, with several solid 6ft+ waves marching in from the outside reef at Corbiere. With Watkins and Le Neveu caught too far inside, Bolam paddled as hard as he could to reach the waves, and just paddled far enough over to get on the end of one of the bigger ones. Had Bolam caught the wave a bit deeper, it would arguably have been the wave of the day.
Watkins, surfed strongly throughout the heat, pulling multiple forward spins on one long left-hander, the second spin of which was performed tight in the pocket of the wave, picking up good scores.
Le Neveu, caught some of the larger set waves, but scored interference after dropping in on Watkins, hindering Watkins scoring potential on a nice left.
Summing up the event Contest Director Colin Crowther said that it was great to see such a high level of competition, especially considering how harsh the conditions were out in the water. The bodyboard scene is the strongest it has ever been in the Island, and on the evidence of the performances at this event, it is looking promising, come the European Surfing Championships, which are due to be staged by the Jersey Surfboard Club in Jersey later this year.
1 David Speller (Also 1st Junior, 1st Drop-Knee) 13.16 points
2 Phil Le Neveu (2nd Junior) 11.33
3 Simon Watkins (1st Senior and 1st Master) 10.66
4 Peter Bolam (2nd Senior and 2nd Master) 8.66
5 Andy de la Mare (3rd Senior, 2nd Drop-Knee) 8.5
6 Clint Loake 7.66
7 Seb Bonnier 7.5
8 Eduardo Afonso 6.99
9 Gary Le Neveu 6.49 (3rd Master)
10 Mike Alfano (3rd Junior)
11 Dan Garton (4th Junior)