Will Bennett

Twenty competitors trekked to the north eastern town of Fraserburgh in Scotland for the BKSA Wavemasters 2009.

The forecast was looking epic for the week and current 2007 and 2008 champ Will Bennett was there to defend his two year title.

Wednesday dawned with registration from 9-10 am followed by a Riders briefing.

The wind was light however picked up gradually during the day with a nice 4 ft swell – blowing crosshore from the left giving port tack conditions.

Riders had 10 mins to be scored on their 2 best waves – scored out of 10 for Size, length of ride, turns, power, style and how close you are to the critical breaking part of the wave. It had been decided to run as many rounds as possible.

The comp started at the “Waters of Philorth “ in Fraserburgh bay with the ladies;  Helen Thompson excelled in the difficult conditions on her Naish Surfboard, also competing were local organiser Maggie Cleeve and Ali Hendry – Helen took the win ahead of Maggie

Next up were the seniors, French rider Sebastian Harinkouck surprised everyone by competiting on a twin tip – however he ripped on it. Local rider Richard Wiseman put in a good fight to almost make it to the final however Martin Coulthurst from Blackpool pipped him to the final.

The final had Paul Stebbing on his Naish quad fin take the win ahead of Martin and Sebastian.

The Men then took to the water with a mix bag of styles and kit – strapped surfboards, unstrapped, bow kites, deltas and 5 line C’s. There were some big names and the riding was world-class.

The Losers final Dave Ibbertson was ripping on his 10m Vegas and 5”9 Kontact laying down some great powered bottom and top turns, however it was Neal Gent who had worked his way up through the loser heats to make it into the final with some great strapped riding.

The final saw ex pro surfer Richard Sills take to the water in an increasing wind and fading light all riders were on 7m kites- against Will Bennett and Neal Gent.
Richard and Will were riding strapless with great style both breaking out with tail slides and big off the lips – however it was Will with his long rides who took the win ahead of Richard and Neal.

Thursday and the  waves were up even more – it was decided to start at the town end – with the wind cross off and with 6 ft waves good enough to surf – the wind was lighter with most riders on 10 , 11 meter kites.

The pro men were first up with a world class display – notable standouts in the first round were Lee Harvey who was excelling in the light conditions with great wave selection. Will Bennett and Neal Gent ended up in the semi final – however it was Will who just slipped into the final  – it was a close call.

The final saw Lee, Richard and Will display some excellent strapless waveriding in an increasing swell – Lee took the wind with Will in second – Will had a smile from ear to ear!

There was a short break while we all got treated to freshly caught fish and chips courtesy of fellow competitor Richard Wiseman – fantastic thanks !

The seniors were up next however the wind was not great – 3 heats were run and then the comp was then called off for the day

Thursday night saw a pub Quiz which saw Team Synergy take the win.

Friday saw no wind – everyone went surfing in the 4ft swell

Friday night saw bowling with Neal Gent showing his skill in the lane to take the highest scores.

Saturday an early start at 9.30 am – however riders were late to the beach so the first heats did not start till 10.30 am – everyone was on 5, 6 or 7m kites with cross offshore port tack on the 2 ft waves.

3 heats were run until the wind went off the scale – we waited an hour however it kept increasing topping out at near on 50 knots!

We packed up and all headed to the Tufted Duck for a BBQ

Sunday briefing was 8.30 am with the senior finals taking place at the town beach end in cross off 30 knots a little less than the 50 of the day before.

Paul Stebbings made it again into the final through the loser bracket to meet Sebastian and Martin. However it was all over for Martin in the first minute as his kite went down
It was then a battle between Paul and Sebastian with two different styles Quad fin versus twin tip.
The wave were peaking at 12 ft and a great show was put on – however it was Paul with his wave selection and great ripping style that gave him the win .

The ladies were next out with Helen Thompson from Tiree showing her skills in the waves ahead of Ali Hendry and Maggie Cleeve – well done girls.

The Swell was increasing by the minute and the judging vehicles were taken further back as we were not sure how far the big swell would come in. The faces were double to triple overhead! Everyone gave it their best shot – quite a few kites went through the rinse machine – however surprisingly all survived – giving testimant to how strong kites now are.

The wind started off strong riders were using 5-7 m however as the morning went on kites got bigger. Dave Ibbertson was ripping like a man possessed on his 10m while Neal Gent was on his 5m!

The big upset was Will Bennett not making it to the final being stopped by Dave Ibbertson.

It was now up to Richard Sills to win to take the British title – however Lee Pasty and Dave Ibbertson were both on fire ; Richard although getting a storming first wave was unable to find another high scoring wave in the 10 minute heat – dashing his hopes .

Overall Results – British Champions 2009

Men

1 Will Bennett
2 Richard Sills
3 Lee Harvey
4 Dave Ibbertson
5 Neal Gent
6 John Ellman Brown
7 George Noble
8 Gareth Morgan
9 Chris Simpson

Ladies

1 Helen Thompson
2 Maggie Cleeve
3 Ali Hendry

Seniors

1 Paul Stebbings
2 Martin Coulthurst
3 Sebastian Harinkouck
4 Richard Wiseman
5 Richard Gowers
6 Jason McCaffery
7 Phil Clarkson