The build-up to this comp was exciting as it had been a while since I had attended a BLU competition.
So I was pretty excited to see what was upcoming. The usual familiar names were signed up ready to go but also some surfers I was unaware of. Especially in the younger categories. It is always a pleasure to see how longboarding is progressing in the UK.
In the week building up to the event, some questions were being asked about the forecast. Especially when looking at some of the main surf forecast websites. Would it be on? It was a difficult call to make with the forecast looking so marginal. Luckily this was nothing to do with me! But Minnow called Go! and we all jumped into place!
In preparation for the comp, I got the preview of who was coming and set all the draw up in the software. Some stand-out names were going to be in attendance – but also surprised by some of the omissions. This was going to be a fun competition in all categories.
Once everything was in position on Saturday morning, even with marginal conditions, the attitude and keenness of the surfers to get going was applaudable. Such motivation to get on and showcase their skill and style. The conditions on Saturday were a messy 2ft but it was contestable. The first rounds were put in as we had so many entrants in the Open and Single fin.
These heats seemed to fly by from the judging tower.
I have to say what a nice place Tregenna Surf House is.
This was the perfect elevated balcony to watch and judge from. The judges, led by Norman, was a place of calmness and busyness as they went about their business. Everything worked calmly and smoothly. This was also ably managed by Contest Director Minnow Green, from the car park, sorting out competitors, preparing contestants with the heats board and handing out the T-shirts and Posters. Those posters are definitely a wall-hanging piece of artwork.
As Saturday concluded, we hoped that Sunday would bring better surf – maybe cleaner would be good – so that we could progress through the semis and finals that allowed these talented Longboard Surfers to showcase their skills. Luckily, the surf and weather didn’t disappoint. It was much better. Still small but very contestable.
Sunday felt like heat after heat of the highest quality longboarding you could imagine. Some of the noticeable highlights were the smoothness and development that Lola Bleakley is making. She is one to watch develop. Ted Pearson, worked so hard in the conditions to eke out every point he could from a wave. Watching Sam Bleakley in so many different categories just pull it all together in the Open; he was just picking waves off at will and scoring heavily. Smooth and solid all the way. In the ladies, it was a massive battle between the contrasting styles of Emily Curry and Izzie Henshall. Both are amazing to watch but very different in their approaches.
It was close, but Emily pulled off the win.
This will continue to be a fantastic battle to watch as the series progresses.
Chris Thomson in the Masters with that kick hang 5 (photo) was immense – again very solid – picking out the right waves to ensure he could get the scores. In the Grand Masters, it was tighter, but Alan Read pushed on to get the win.
Amongst all of this we saw the super smooth operators of Mike Lay and Elliot Dudley battling it out in both the Single Fin and open categories. It was really good to see what these two can accomplish on small waves. Nothing seemed to get in the way of them making linked manoeuvres with class, smoothness and style.
I came away from this competition happy on two fronts. Firstly, as the tabulator Liveheats worked smoothly and consistently throughout. The judges were able to carry out their jobs with no technical issues and the contestants had access to the scores and results almost immediately. Secondly, I was so pleased to see how strong the UK Longboard scene is currently looking. Our surfers are as good as any I have seen anywhere in the world.