2009 Bude Surf Classic

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.

Bobby Martinez

Bobby Martinez (USA), 26, has taken out the Billabong Pro Tahiti presented by Air Tahiti Nui, defeating fellow Finalist Taj Burrow (AUS), 30, in clean three-to-five foot (1.5 metre) waves at Teahupoo.

Event No. 3 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Billabong Pro Tahiti survived a marathon waiting period, culminating on the second-to-last available day in improving conditions that peaked for a climactic Final.

Martinez surfed a near-flawless heat, opening up with an impressive 8.73 out of a possible 10 before putting his opponent in a combination situation with a Houdini-esque 9.73 out of a possible 10. Netting the highest heat total of the event, an 18.46 out of a possible 20, Martinez claimed his second Billabong Pro Tahiti and fourth elite tour win, establishing himself as one of the premier tube-riders in the world.


Aritz Aranburu

Basque surfer Aritz Aranburu (Zarauz, EUK), 23, caused the upset of Round 2 at the Billabong Pro Tahiti last night by eliminating nine-time and reigning ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (Florida, USA), 37, in Round 2 of competition. Aranburu, who found his rhythm in the three to four foot (1 to 1.2 meter) waves breaking over the infamous sharp reef of Teahupoo, not only defeated Slater but also posted an impressive 17.27 point heat score (out of a possible 20), the highest total of the day, to finalize his exceptional performance.

"Kelly (Slater) is the best competitor and the best surfer in the world and I was just trying to stay focused out there so I could get my own waves," Aranburu said. "Once I got that first score I almost felt more pressure because I was surfing against Kelly and I know what he can do with his priority. I just tried to put the pressure off and luckily I got a second good score and it worked out."

By besting Slater, Aranburu follows the footsteps of fellow European surfers Jeremy Flores (Capbreton/New Caledonia, FRA), 21, who defeated Slater on his first year among the ASP Top 45 at the same venue of Teahupoo in the Quarterfinals of the 2007 edition, and Tiago Pires (Ericeira, PRT), 27, who took the best over Slater in Bali last year.

Aranburu, a former ASP European Junior top competitor who qualified for the ASP World Tour in 2007, had not made it through to Round 3 of any event since the season started in February and was looking to eventually break the bad roll, something he achieved in style at Teahupoo nailing a near perfect 9.77 point ride (out of a possible 10) in the first minutes of his encounter with Slater, the best single wave score of the Billabong Pro Tahiti thus far.

"I was lucky to get that first wave," Aranburu said. "I paddled deep because I knew I was going to need a big score against Kelly (Slater) and when I was paddling into it, I thought I was going to fall, but I made it, so I'm happy."