In the history of British wave sailing we have never spent so long at one beach in one day. Sailors arrived just after half six in the morning and the Pros were packing up at quarter past nine Tuesday evening. That’s an epic 14 hours at Gowlane so no surprise we got a result in all the fleets.
The wind was cross offshore all day but the swell let us down at times, with not enough waves at low tide causing an hour’s postponement but other than that, competition ran all day long.
Why not start with the two ladies who entered this event; Katie and Louise. Louise Emery beat Katie last year in a cracking final but this year, it was Katie that was ripping in the cross offshore conditions. She picked the best waves and rode them all the way into the beach in two heats so Katie McAnena from Galway remains 2-0 up.
The proceedings started today with this fleet and it was super competitive as usual but all in good jest. Scott McDowell wore the yellow rash vest as the Tour leader from 2009 as Dave Horrocks was not in attendance. He wore it with his usual Scottish pride and cantered through the heats to win the single elimination but of course in the new BWA format we run the double elimination (PWA style) and there were a few sailors wanting to take down the Scotsman. Firstly Steve Roberts who at his first competition showed the judges some serious spray in the port tack riding conditions. He got through to the semi’s before being taken out by Niall Mellon (local milliner). But it was Adam Simms who had a cracking day making the most of the small waves, he out rode Scott and under the double elimination rules he had to beat Scott twice which he did in a great man-on-man final so Adam is leading the Amatuers.
The yellow vest was worn by Damian DeBacker from the 2009 rankings as Nigel Treacy (BWA Chairman) took time out of competition to help run the event. But Damian found the competition tough down at Gowlane and his winning run soon ended as new faces appeared and boy could they wave ride. Craig Hamilton for one who shocked the regulars by winning the single elimination. Mark Lloyd had a good run in the double elimination getting through to the last three but then he met Dave Edminston, better known as Big Davey and a legend on the Tour. As travelling buddy of Scot McDowell this giant of a Scotsman was looking to take the yellow jersey back to his homeland and he slayed Mr.Lloyd with his snappy wave rides.
But he then faced Craig Hamilton in the final and Craig had a better handle of the conditions and just made more turns with more spray to take the Masters title and wear that yellow vest.
The Pros really believed that they wouldn’t compete on that long Tuesday and who could blame them as it was 7pm before Head Judge Duncan Coombes decided to send them out for the evening session. And he then asked sailors to sail downwind towards Stradbally where the 4ft set waves allowed the Pros to show off their style.
Sam Neal had a break through heat beating Oisin Van Gelderen and Rich Jones to make it into the last eight – a great result for the 20 year old who has been training hard in Baja and Maui all winter. The last eight consisted of: Graham Woods, Phil Horrocks, John Skye, Timo Mullen, John Skye, Sam Neal, Rob Jones and Chris Murray. But it was the usuals who made it to the final four: Timo, Phil, John and Ben. It was a very slow start to the heat with sailors changing positions throughout the first half. After an early lead from Timo, Ben and Phil were looking neck and neck ahead of Skye who was unable to find any decent waves. In the final minutes, Skye racked up his biggest score to give him first place with one judge. But on Ben’s last wave, the other two judges scored this higher to give him the win. Phil Horrocks was closely behind (by one point) in third place. So a great day in Brandon Bay and now we await some more wind & waves.
Top 4 RESULTS
1. Ben Proffitt (Simmer/Quatro)
2. John Skye (RRD)
3. Phil Horrocks (Gaastra/JP)
4. Timo Mullen (Severne/Starboard)
Joint 5th: Graham Woods (Goya/Quatro), Rob Jones (RIKS/Kerry Sail Company), Sam Neal (JP/NeilPryde), Chris Murray (Tushingham/Starboard)
1. Craig Hamilton
2. Big Davey
3. Mark Lloyd
4. Gerry Wilcox
1. Adam Simms
2. Scot McDowell
3. Niall Mellon
4. Steve Roberts
1. Katie McAnena (RRD/Maui Sails)
2. Louise Emery