With conditions for the initial date of this very popular longboard surfing event to run being pretty stormy, the new date of 29th and 30th of October was chosen, and the organising team focused on making sure that everything was in place if the wind and the waves behaved for this weekend.
The event which is held at Polzeath Beach in conjunction with the Tubestation and organisers Christian Surfers UK is traditionally one of the last longboard events of the season and is always enjoyed by the amazing community who ride boards over 9ft in length.
The 2022 event had a record number of entries with 85 in the six categories, and when the charts began to settle down, whilst organisers realised the wind would be pretty challenging at times, there was confidence that it would be contestable throughout the whole weekend.
Saturday dawned with good conditions amongst the squally showers coming through, and the dedicated team of volunteers and other staff set up the event site, and by 8:30 am the first heats were underway with the very popular over 35’s division kickstarting the competition.
Conditions for most the day remained pretty good and with around 25 heats run through, it was time to retreat back to the various establishments for a good old community catch up with friends from around the country.
Traditionally Sunday’s finals are always started with a very special event for the Christian surfer’s team which is a simple ‘surfers blessing’ at Tubestation Church, inviting surfers, their support crew, CSUK as well as the local church community to reflect on something relevant to start the day off, and for those wishing a blessing of sea water.
Following the thought-provoking surfers blessing the contest got underway with 18 further heats (semi-finals and finals in all six divisions) in somewhat more challenging conditions with strong cross shore winds.
Some excellent surfing in all divisions and in particular well done to the juniors and the women battling in some pretty big surf at low tide which was exposed by the elements. When it came to the finals all of the heats were pretty stacked and in the over 60s event a great performance by Peter Cosier saw him take the victory ahead of fellow Llantwit surfers Colin Bright and Gwyn Bright, with Backwells Ben Keay in 4th.
Moving through the age categories in the over 50’s Colin Bright got back to winning ways with just two ways scored in the final, but both of them good quality hence taking the victory over Matt Thomas in a very close final. Rich Emerson and Stephen Harrison made up third and fourth places respectively.
The over-35 division is always one of the most popular divisions, and this year was no different and saw a very highly contested final, but a big well done to Sennen’s Sam Bleakley who had a 9.17 backed up by an 8.33 to take the highest heat total of the event with 17.5 combined score.
Greg Norman placed second just ahead of Ashley Braunton with Adrian Napper also doing well getting fourth in the final. The under 18’s (mixed event) always showcases the future of the longboard sport in the UK and on form St Agnes surfer Arthur Randell took the victory ahead of Ted Pearson in a close final, Noah Strike just pipped Sylvie Puddiphat for third place.
In the stacked really competitive women’s division it was a one-two for Bude surfers with Emily Currie taking the victory ahead of Beth Leighfield, and the very talented Lola Bleakley still only 14 years of age, taking third ahead of Mali Harbour on her home break. A great effort in challenging conditions by all the surfers.
The open men’s final ended up being a double victory for Sam Bleakley with two strong waves totaling 14.8, beating Newquay’s Jordan Zervas by just two points into second place with Greg Norman and Ashley Braunton both competing in their second final taking third and fourth place respectively.
A massive thanks for all involved in putting on this really successful event and in particular for all of the surfers who competed in some tough conditions, the beach-based volunteers, and of course everybody involved with running the event and the hospitality back at Tubestation. Era did a great job with the water safety.
Without sponsors this event could not happen so a huge thank you for those that have been involved from the start Nineplus, Finisterre and Old Guy’s rule and a big welcome to new sponsors this year George’s surf school, Log fin co, Kosin and Ocean Frog. Also a big thanks to the British Longboard Union for ongoing support and Hotdoggers for the ‘loan of Norman’ as head judge.
Action photos from Ben Hartley and presentation pictures from Sarah Nankivell.
The event completes the Christian Surfer’s competition activities for the year and the team wants to thank all of those who have entered both the longboard classic as well as the 30th Jesus Surf classic, looking forward to some more exciting plans in 2023.
If anybody would like any more information on Christian surfer’s log onto www.christiansurfers.co.uk or the Facebook Pages Christian Surfers UK or Jesus Surf Series CSUK.