Russel Winter 

The 2008 British National Surf Championships will certainly be one to remember.

This weekend (25th & 26th October) surfers from across the country converged on Fistral Beach, Newquay, to make the most of solid 6ft waves in one of the most prestigious contests on British soil.

With a bitter wind and changeable weather conditions, all of the contestants were pushed to the max with challenging, arm-stretching 10 minute paddle-outs. The action was explosive with the likes of Russell Winter pulling out big air-reverses while defending senior champion Ben Baird turned on the power with huge, gouging power carves. 

Saturday saw all of the initial rounds being successfully completed and a later Sunday start ensured that the nail-biting finals were run on the high tide, giving the surfers the best possible conditions to put on an amazing show for the beach–side spectators.

In the Veterans category, defending champion and local legend, Jed Stone opened the heat with a 4.0 ride leaving Gary Collins hitting back with a string of hacks claiming a top score of 5.83.  Jed replied with two huge turns out back and a ride through to the inside scoring a 7.17.  With Jed confidently in the driving seat, the three other surfers couldn’t match his experience and he claimed the Veteran title for the ninth time.

The Seniors hit the water next and it was Russell Winter that dominated the field with only a 4.83 from Paul Kirby to challenge him.  Russell hit an 8.50 before getting out with three and half minutes remaining, safe in the knowledge that the category victory was his. 

In the Masters, only feeler gauges could separate the four surfers  - from Tony Good’s excellent wave selection picking out all off the best waves, down to Cullum Murrells aggressive back hand attack.  The computer judging system was like a kaleidoscope of colour with the situation changing after each wave ridden, with the commentator out of breath reading scores and requirements for surfers to win.

Steve Winter and Chris Harris also worked hard throughout the heat but it was Newquay resident Murrell who emerged victorious. The British Women then hit the water for what was to be essentially a two woman final between Jo Dennison and Kathleen Spears.  Welsh girl Jo claimed a 8.00 for one of the most radical close out re-entries of the contest, smoothly earning her the British 2008 Woman’s Champion title.

On the beach and online the audience then gathered expectantly for the Open final on the perfectly placed high tide which was lashing up head high plus waves.  Oli Adams set the pace straight after the horn with a 6.67 and a showcase of fast off-the-tops and stylish fin release re-entries.  Mitch Corbett then stepped in to show his laidback smooth style earning a 6.0 from the judges. Up next was renowned aerialist Joss Ash who masterminded a range of smacks off-the-top earning his first real score of 5.67.

But with less than three minutes to go, Russell Winter then paddled-into a left-hander that started out back then opened up all the way through to the inside. He gave everything possible, tearing the wave to pieces earning a 7.60 and leaving the water. A last minute attempt by Joss Ash gave him the chance to try and steal Russell’s thunder but his valiant 6.27 just wasn’t enough. WQS surfer Winter celebrated his first British Open Champion title in over 15 years as well as the Senior’s top podium placing.

Russell said, “It was really great to be competing back where my roots are and I had a great laugh and joke with the old boys.  It’s certainly changed days with me also being in the Seniors and a lot of my old peers being in the Masters.  Definitely a different story to 15 years ago!  I really was putting everything on the line and although I felt that I surfed well in my heats, there was a lot of hard paddling and it really was pot luck with the waves with the conditions being the way they were.”

Contest Director Anton Roberts says, “It was without a doubt a sick weekend with extremely cold and challenging conditions but we couldn’t have asked for more solid swell.  Huge congratulations to all of the competitors and on behalf of the BSA, I would like to thank all of the sponsors for their contribution to the sport.  A huge amount of appreciation must also go to all of the staff and officials who worked so hard to make the event the success it was.”

Nick Briant of Fistral Beach Hire says, “All of the team at Fistral Beach Hire were delighted to get behind such a prestigious contest with our sponsorship. To witness the top British surfers performing in such awesome conditions right on our doorstep made us all very proud.”

For the first time ever the whole event action and live scoring was also streamed on the web by sponsors Tiger24.  In the past only the Rip Curl Boardmasters has had this resource and the invaluable new addition brought 5,700 unique hits from all across the world on Saturday alone.

Dave Sale from Tiger24 says, "We never imagined this amount of people would hit our site but we have learnt a lot this weekend and will now move forward ready for next year’s events. Bringing even more higher quality images will mean the contest is open for viewers across the world and it will bring a host of added benefits for sponsors.”

FINAL RESULTS:

Open
Pos    Score              Competitor Name
1st       13.60               Russell Winter
2nd      11.94               Joss Ash
3rd       11.67               Oli Adams
4th       10.17               Mitchell Corbett

Womans
Pos    Score              Competitor Name
1st       14.17               Jo Dennison
2nd      11.67               Kathleen Spears
3rd       5.20                 Nicole Morgan
4th       3.33                 Rachael Taylor

Veterans
Pos     Score             Competitor Name
1st       12.10               Jed Stone
2nd      10.16               Gary Collins
3rd       5.80                 Phil Williams
4th       5.77                 Laurence Couch

Masters
Pos     Score             Competitor Name
1st       8.70                 Cullum Murrell
2nd      8.00                 Chris Harris
3rd       6.40                 Tony Good
4th       6.33                 Steve Winter


Seniors
Pos    Score             Competitor Name
1st       15.00               Russell Winter
2nd      9.16                 Paul Kirby
3rd       7.53                 Pete Williams
4th       4.27                 Chris Harris

Jason Ribbink 

The 2008 edition of the South Coast Surf Carnival, presented by Jeep Apparel and the Independent on Saturday, was blessed with perfect conditions over both days this past weekend, with Durban’s Jason Ribbink taking full advantage to snatch the SALSA (South African Longboard Surfing Association) sanctioned Premier open division.

In the race to capture the first ever stand up paddleboard (SUP) title in South Africa, Dylan McCleod (Eastern Cape) was clearly the most consistent performer and rightly claimed the prestigious title and the main prize of a BILT SUP valued at R12 500.

In addition to the longboard and SUP divisions, the crowd at Scottburgh’s main beach witnessed some radical maneuvers in the longest running kitesurfing event in the country, thanks in part to the strong south-westerly wind that blew all Sunday. Here, Craig Chrystal (Durban) and Lyle Bottcher (Durban North) took 1st and 2nd place respectively in the men’s open event, whilst Nicole Annells (Warner Beach) triumphed in the ladies division defeating pre-event favourite Kathryn Clarke-Mcleod (Amanzimtoti). Bryce Rawlins (Umhlanga) cemented his position as one of the country’s leading up and coming kitesurfers when he successfully defended his junior title.

In the longboarding event, a ladies division, as well as a grandmasters (age 35+) and over 50 division were contested. Competition was strong due to the large field, and it was Zanie Cawood (Durban) who clinched victory in the ladies event. Brandon Ribbink (Morningside) came out firing in the final of the grandmasters division, and managed to outscore Craig Daniel (Bluff) in a closely fought heat. In the over 50 division, Mike Patterson (Umdloti) showed that age is no obstacle as he powered his way to the title.

Contest director Hugh Thompson was right in saying that “all the elements came together - wind, waves, and spectators - which made the event an amazing spectacle”. Thompson regarded the competitive introduction of SUP as “a roaring success”, setting a precedent for future South African SUP events. As the day progressed, “the wind came through for the kiteboarding guys, and the surf got bigger which added to an already exciting final”.

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The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau

Quiksilver is pleased to announce the 2008/2009 Invitees and Alternates for The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau and the official launch of the event website.

Scheduled to take place at the hallowed grounds of Waimea Bay, on the North Shore of Oahu, between December 1, 2008, and February 28, 2009, the event, otherwise known as "The Eddie", requires one day with a minimum of 20-foot surf (Hawaiian scale) in order to run.

It is the world's most prestigious big-wave surfing event and is the only big-wave surf contest sanctioned by the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), the governing body of professional surfing.

Held in honor of the legendary Hawaiian waterman, Eddie Aikau, The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau gathers 28 of the most skillful and dynamic big-wave surfers from around the world as polled by a comprehensive panel consisting of influential watermen, members of the surf industry, and internationally recognized surfing Associations.

The first memorial event for Aikau was held in 1984 at Sunset Beach, two miles north of Waimea Bay. It was won by local standout Denton Miyamura. Following the inaugural event, The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau moved to Waimea Bay, where it has remained ever since. 2008 marks the event's 24th anniversary; in only seven of those years have the waves been big enough and the conditions right to hold the contest.

In the realm of big-wave riding, the name Eddie Aikau commands as much respect as Waimea Bay itself. Aikau was the North Shore of Oahu's first lifeguard, watching over the Bay when he wasn't charging the biggest waves of the winter.

Tragically, he lost his life in 1978, at the age of 33, during a re-creation of the Polynesian voyage between Hawaii and Tahiti. In huge seas, the voyaging canoe Hokule'a was capsized. Eddie paddled off in an attempt to reach help for his fellow crewmen. He was never seen again but his spirit and legacy live on.

The complete list of Invitees and Alternates for this year's event are listed below. The website also includes photos and video from previous year's events, Invitee profiles and swell updates. Visitors can sign up to receive text updates for the "Official Contest Call" and watch online when the Bay calls the day.

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