- 20 May 2009 | Surfing
Despite the current financial instability the Bude Community pulled together to give the Bude Surf Classic the backing it needed to run for another year on May 16 -17 at Widemouth Bay, North Cornwall.
The event, consisting of six categories with nearly 100 competitors, including a new grommets division, was run by Christian Surfers with the support Bude Surf Outreach group and other sponsors.
Forecasts during the week had been changing daily and it was clear by the end of the week the low pressure spinning over the South West was going to cook up quite a storm and present some tricky conditions for all involved. After ten minutes into heat 1 of the contest, Nathanial James has been dragged towards the rocks. After much paddling he made it to dry land and although obviously feeling unwell he still paddled out to finish his heat. It was going to be a long weekend!
As the tide on Saturday dropped, conditions deteriorated, with gale force winds and increasing surf size. After only the first round of grommets heats completed Phil Williams (Contest Director) felt it wise to put the contest on hold till Sunday morning, leaving the challenge of getting through 38 heats in one day. Many prayers were said overnight to rely on The Creator to abate the storm.
Despite a very stormy night, by Sunday morning at 7.00am the organisers were greeted with sunshine, cross/off shore winds and 3 – 4 ft of surf. The storm seem to have calmed, for four to five hours, and with a massive effort from all the competitors, the Christian Surfers crew from all over the UK, and a big hand from we believe the ‘Big Man’ upstairs, the CS crew ran two peaks all day and the event was completed by 4.30pm.
With his first Bude Surf Classic win, Andrew Griffin from Newquay took the £200 Open first prize with some powerful surfing through-out the contest. Despite an incredible 9.1 ride local boy, Reubyn Ash couldn’t find a back up and took 2nd. Brother Joss took 3rd with Eugene Tollemache ( Wadebridge ) came 4th.
Current English champion Newquay’s Ben Skinner showed us all why he is one of the world’s best longboarders coming first in the Longboard division, despite breaking his board in the semi-final. Nathan Carter from Bude came 2nd just ahead of Angus Murray from Buckfastleigh, with Newquay’s Gary Woodward coming in fourth.
The Junior final was a very close fight between George Picking ( Newquay ) and Toby Donachie from St Merryn, with George taking the win, despite Toby looking the favourite throughout the contest. Zak Lawton from Croyde took 3rd and Josh Daniel from Hayle came 4th.
It was great to see a strong turn out from the Ladies and with all the finals taking place in chunky onshore conditions, full respect was gained by all the finalists. Sophie Hellyer from Bideford came out the winner followed by St Ives’s Tassy Swallow, with Sarah Shelton-Palmer 3rd. Sophie Sainsbury of Port Isaac took 4th with Gabi Rowe taking the 5th spot.
The Under 14’s category ( Grommets ) had the biggest entry with 27 competitors. They amazed everyone by taking on the challenging waves and impressed us all with the quality of surfing. Miles Lee-Hargeaves ( Bournemouth ) sneaked the win by 0.2 points ahead of Jobe Harris. Lee also took home the Dick Willoughby Cup, given to the most outstanding grom. Harry Timson couldn’t match his 9.3 ride in round one and took 3rd with Alex Gibson taking 4th.
The bodyboard division was won by Danny Catten from Portreath ahead of Phil Milson who had travelled all the way form Oxford.
A big thank you to all the sponsors, these included Bude Surf Outreach Group, Outdoor Adventure, North Shore Backpackers, Relentless Energy Drinks, Saltrock, Fusion Fitness Gym, Felicity Kates, Tad Surfboards and the local Elim and Methodist Church.
Contest Director, Phil Williams head of Christian Surfers UK said “A big thanks to the competitors for bearing with the organisers during a very challenging couple of days and competing in some tough conditions. The attitude of all attending was brilliant.
Also a big thanks to the lifeguards, Cornwall council for allowing use of the beach, and the surfers of Widemouth area for sharing their waves with us. A huge thanks to all the judges, tabulators, runners and all other volunteers who worked so hard to put on the event. Without these the event could not have happened.
A final thanks to the Creator for abating the storm on Sunday morning, to enable the organisers to make real progress in the event, before the wind switched back to the south westerly and strengthened again.