World Bellyboard Championship: don't laugh, this is serious

Now into its eighth consecutive year, the World Bellyboard Championship is going to be held on the 5th September, at Chapel Porth Beach, Cornwall, UK.

Organized and hosted by the National Trust, it is a celebration of all things connected with the art of riding traditional wooden boards.

Judges will be looking for the length of ride, wave selection, change of direction, style, and the most radical maneuvers in the most critical part of the wave, i.e., the curl.

Robyn Davies, contest director and NT surf guru, says, "The event has gone truly global in recent years with entrants from Australia, New York, San Francisco, and the British Virgin Islands."

"It continues to grow from strength to strength, yet we hope to remain connected to its fun roots. So dust down your old plywood stick, grab your brand new shaped model from the rack, or unveil your homemade."

"We'd love you to come along and share your stories of riding ply. See you in the water!"

The World Belly Boarding Championship (WBBC) was first started in 2002 at Chapel Porth by Martyn Ward and Chris Ryan as a memorial contest to the late Arthur Traveller, a Londoner who holidayed with his wooden board at Chapel Porth every year.

From its humble beginnings with only a handful of competitors, it has now grown into the World Championships we see today with over 200 entrants.

Bellyboarders: aren't they amazing?

From the beginning, it has been a very simple, back-to-basics comp - no wetsuits, no leashes, and no swim fins.

A bit of wood and a swimsuit are all you need. You don't even need to bring money as the entry fee is free.

The first surfing of this type which we now call "Belly Boarding" (although in the UK it was just called surfing on surfboards until the arrival of the Malibu boards in the early 1960s) is thought to have started in the very early 1900s when a form of the Hawaiian' Paipo' board was copied by British soldiers returning from the Great War inspired by stories of surfing from South Africa, Australia, and Hawaii.

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