BUCS 2008

British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) Surfing Championships, sponsored by Ticket to Ride in association with the British Surfing Association (BSA) Inspiring surf conditions provided Britain’s student surfers with the ideal playground to showcase their skills and take-on their peers in a healthy exhibition of sporting rivalry.  It was Falmouth and Swansea who had the most reason to celebrate at the end with Falmouth’s Men’s team lifting the Championship trophy and Swansea’s Women’s team taking home the female equivalent.

Entries were phenomenally high this year, which meant the Contest Director was forced to cap entries to 100 woman and 200 men.  These figures make the BUCS event the largest British surfing competition with only male and female entrants - only the English Championships attracts a bigger entry, yet includes  a whole range of Grommets and Seniors categories - exemplifying just how enthusiastic the British student surfing scene is.

Friday saw perfect conditions roll-in for the competition with stunning sunshine accompanying shoulder to head height waves. Saturday’s smaller waves weren’t quite as challenging but they provided all the power necessary for the contestants to be able to impress the judges.  On Sunday, ‘textbook’ Fistral conditions with epic waves greeted a charged set of finals competitors and judges.

In the Woman’s event, both Amy Brock-Morgan of Plymouth B and Jaydean Kerton from Plymouth A won every single heat to make it to the finals.  There they met Hannah Dixon of Swansea A and Isabella Burke from Falmouth A for an impressive battle.  Following a tightly fought heat, Amy Brock-Morgan emerged victorious with Isabella Burke taking second place, Jaydean Kerton in third and Hannah Dixon in fourth.

In the Men’s final, Falmouth surfers dominated with both Josh Leatherbarrow and Fabian Baker making it to the final where they encountered Rob Webster-Blythe of Cardiff A and Jacob Downs of Plymouth A. At the end of the heat it was Falmouth who succeeded with Josh Leatherbarrow taking first with Fabian Baker coming second and Jacob Downs and Rob Webster-Blythe taking third and fourth respectively.

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Tim Boal

The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) WQS European title race is heating up as the 2008 Champion will be crowned next Sunday at the end of this year's final event, the Estoril Coast Pro, taking place this week at Carcavelos in Portugal.

After a season of intense action with the biggest leg of consecutive ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 5, 6 and 6-Star Prime events ever taking the pro-surfing caravan from England's Cornwall to the Canary Islands including France and Portugal, the 2008 ASP European Champion will raise his trophy this weekend in Portugal during the 2008 ASP Europe Award Ceremony.

Tim Boal (Anglet, FRA), 24, current ratings' No.1 who comfortably leads the pack with six results only and yet one more to add to his end-of the-year total, missed the Canarian leg because of a serious foot injury but will show-up in Portugal to get the minimum 336 points in the Estoril Coast Pro.

Boal, who will not surf his heat though, finishes the year after a fantastic run this summer where he reached the finals of all events he attended between the ASP WQS 6-Star Sooruz Lacanau Pro and ASP WQS 5-Star the Rip Curl Pro Zarautz which he ended up winning finishing his European campaign with an average of 800 points per event.

His win in Zarautz rocketed him to No. 3 on the international ratings awarding him a solid 11888 points' total, enough to guarantee his berth for next year's ASP World Tour.

Boal, who has had his most successful year on tour since he became a full-time WQS touring competitior three years ago, will be watching closely the Estoril Coast Pro as his direct followers Michel Bourez (PYF) and Glenn Hall (IRE) remain in contention for the 2008 prestigious title.

Michel Bourez (Tahiti, PYF), 22, ASP European Champion in 2006 and currently No. 2 on the regional ratings, will have two major goals in the Estoril Coast Pro for both his regional and international runs. Bourez, renowned for his powerful surfing and already seen as Tahiti's next ASP World Tour surfer, needs to reach the Quarterfinals to place 5th or better in Portugal to secure a second regional crown and steal Boal's maiden one.

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Garut Widiarta

20 year old Garut Widiarta Rip Curl's rider from Bali became the first surfer in history to win a gold medal in the sport of surfing at an Olympic event at Kuta Beach in Bali, Indonesia.

The talented young surfer proudly held up the Indonesian flag as he and silver medalist Raditya Rondi accepted the cheers of the crowd in front of the judging tower.

In an intense 30 minute round of competition in their home break of Kuta Beach, the two cousins fought a pitched battle in the 2 foot low tide surf with Rondi leading for most of the heat, until Widiarta maneuvered into the perfect position to let loose with a couple of amazing aerial displays that had the judges reaching punching some big numbers into their keypads. When the horn blew Widiarta had tallied up a score of 18.50 for his best two waves, leaving Rondi just short with 17.20.
 
10 surfers from 5 countries, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, the Maldives, and Vietnam competed today in the 1st Asian Beach Games men's shortboard surfing event, with Widiarta winning the gold over Raditya Rondi and Shigenori Suzuki from Japan getting the bronze.

This is truly a benchmark for surfing, as it is the first time the sport of surfing has ever been included in an Olympic event.  In addition to the men's shortboard event , there will also be a women's shortboard event, a men's longboard event, an aerial surfing event, and a team event.