Glen Hall wins The Saltrock Open to debut the 2009 UK Pro Surf Tour | Photo: Jason Feast

The benchmark has been set for the UK Pro Surf tour – and what a benchmark! A Phenomenal standard of surfing prevailed across the weekend. Fantastic weather, consistent, clean swell and a great turnout to watch what proved to be the best start to the tour yet.

Saturday stood out as possibly the best conditions for The Saltrock Open to date and an exciting surprise for those on celebrity watch as British comedian Justin Lee-Collins turned up to compete in his first ever surf contest. After a 15 minute heat with Russel Winter, and local talent’s Scott Rannochan and Lynden Wake Justin said ‘This is just so great and has been very fortuitous as I was meant to be competing in Newquay in the English Nationals but due to a perforated ear after a sky diving experience it was postphoned to The Saltrock Open. You guys have been great and it’s been fantastic to be able to take part’. Only a month after taking up surfing Justin Lee Collins gave a very credible performance in Croyde’s challenging conditions, managing to score two waves during his heat.

The main competition started on Sunday having been delayed from Saturday to wait for the building swell. Accompanied by great weather and large crowds the best of the future British talent was on display for day one of the The Saltrock Open and they didn’t disappoint. Starting the day with a small but clean 1-2ft the waves built to a solid 3-4ft by the afternoon. Spectacular surfing from Lewis Clinton of Newquay helped him clinch the pro junior final. 2nd was Luis Eyre followed closely by Jaycee Robinson and Toby Donachie.

In the under 16 boys Leon Mansfield captured a very close final despite slipping on the way down to the beach and having to use his reserve board. Local surfer Beau Bromham came a close second followed by Tom Good and Nathan Elms.

In the under 16 girls, Gabby Rowe was not to be outdone and defeated the rest of the field to clinch 1st place ahead of Tess Swallow, Lucy Campbell and Laura Crane.

The closest final held was the under 12 open where Alex Gibson showed how far he’s come in the last 12 months to defeat an ‘on form’ Alex Scotney in an unprecedented display of outstanding emerging talent. With Harry De Roth in 3rd and Will Bailey in 4th giving very credible performances.

Sunday saw the majority of the battle for the Men’s Open take place in slightly smaller but cleaner waves. A global list of competitors made for some interesting and challenging heats. Battling for first place in the final was Russell Winter (Newquay), Glen Hall (Ireland/ Australia), Matt Capel (Newquay) and Alan Stokes (Newquay).

Against some tough competition Glen Hall stormed the final with some aggressive surfing despite Matt Capel giving him some serious competition. Russel Winter came back in the later stages with some serious moves but failed to connect them and took second place in a gripping battle full of drama and technical brilliance.

Reuben Ash won the £250 prize provided by Relentless Energy drink for the biggest ariel by pulling off two amazing moves in one heat. Prize for highest scoring wave was won by Sarah Beardmore in the women’s and by Lous in the juniors on Saturday.

A strong women’s field also took to the water on Sunday, with Sarah Beardmore (Littlehampton), Gwen Spurlock(Swansea), Jo Dennison (Pembroke), Tass Swallow). World qualifying Sarah Beardmore competing in her first UKPro surf tour event dominated the final and took first place with a stunning performance. Sarah clearly thrilled with the event said ‘Fantastic competition, many thanks to the sponsors and organizers for a great weekend.’

Presenting some epic glass trophies donated by Dartington Crystal a beaming Ross Thomson form Saltrock said ‘We were delighted with the weekend and with the conditions on Saturday in particular. We couldn’t have wished for better conditions and the standard of surfing was inspiring. Holding the event later in the season was definitely the right move and it was great to see so many people on the beach enjoying the surfing.’

Many Thanks go to all the sponsors and everyone who participated in the contest, surfers and organisers alike. All in all The Saltrock Open 2009 was an incredible start to the tour and set the standard for an exciting tour to come.


SOURCE: Saltrock Open