Cornwall prepares for the World Bellyboard Championships

August 18, 2010 | Bodyboarding

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

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

Organised 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 manoeuvres 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 British Virgin Islands. It continues to grow from strength to strength, yet we hope remain connected to it's 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 great?

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 is 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.