British SUP Surf Nationals – Watergate Bay 2016 – My Personal Experience.
Watergate was the third event in the new BSUPA Surf Series for 2016. Previous years has just been the solo event at Watergate, but this year there were three events as part of a series. The first event was at Putsborough in North Devon, and the second at Gwithian, West Cornwall.
With this being my first event of this years series, I was eager and ready to get the surf contest jersey on. It was great going into the event with no pressure.
We arrived Friday afternoon, to our AirBnB, and drove around Newquay trying to find some clean swell. We ended up at Crantock. I had a fun session on the Starboard 6’10 Hypernut.
Saturday arrived with slightly smaller swell than Friday, but still strong onshore conditions. Sean Facey decided to go for a pre heat warm-up, kiting! My first heat was heat 2 in the first round, up against Ollie Laddiman and Ben Sawyer. It was a decent size, and 25mph onshore wind. I used my Starboard 8’0 x 28″ Pro. I advanced from that with a 2nd to Ollie. That put me straight into Round 3. I had my Junior heat on Saturday afternoon. The Junior standard just gets better each year! I was up against Blue Ewer, Todd Sawyer and James Greenwood. All very good surfers. No-one had an advantage in this. It was low tide dumping close out. I used my Starboard 8’0 x 28″ Pro once again. It is a truly great board!
Sunday was a much better day for sure.
The conditions cleaned up, the
sun came out, and the swell was pumping! I started off the morning
with a great result, winning my junior heat, against some very tough
competition in some good surf. I chose the Starboard 7’7 x 27″ Pro for
my heat, and it gave me the win for sure!
Later on I had my Men’s round 3 heat against some very tough competition, Jason Sawyer, James West and Blue Ewer. They were ripping. That finished the men’s event for me unfortunately, but it was a learning experience for me.
Next up I had the Junior final, a man on man final with Blue Ewer, a very good SUP surfer. I managed to find the rip like in the rest of my heats, and get out the back quickly. I got one good wave early, and soon after, a second. I felt set up for the heat and it put me in good rhythm. Blue also got a couple good waves and the heat finished with it feeling close! I used the awesome Starboard 7’7 Pro for this final and it was the perfect board!
The men’s final was all time to watch, with the standard being improved every year. With Aaron Rowe, Matt Barker Smith, Max Shepherd and Ollie Laddiman all battling it out. It was the best and most exciting final ever in my opinion. Aaron came out with the win, and Matt second, Ollie third and Max fourth.
Every year the standard in the juniors is raised and it is great to see!
I am super stoked to come away with the win, against some very tough competition. I had a great experience competing in the men’s too!
I would like to thank a number of people for their support for this event. Marie Buchanan and Ben Sawyer for the loan of their boards for all of my heats on Sunday. Steve, Jo and Holly Pye and Rob Martin for being there whenever I needed them as Board caddies, photographers and keeping me focused and just helping me in general throughout the event. Starboard SUP UK, SUPboarder Magazine, West Country Surf Wax, Standuppaddleuk. I could not have done it without such a brilliant support crew.
A fantastic, well run event, and I can’t wait till next year!