With surfing growing massively year-on-year as a mainstream UK sport, 2006 could consolidate Britain’s presence as a key surfing nation at the World Surfing Games on California’s Huntington Beach.
British Surfing Association has announced the names of the Freespirit British Surf team members who have earned prestigious places representing the UK in the World Surfing Games, which is widely regarded as surfing’s equivalent to the Olympic Games.
The International Surfing Association’s World Surfing Games will take place at Huntington Beach, California from October 14th – 22nd and over 350 competitors from 35 nations will be entering. British hopes are high as a result of an extremely credible 10th placing in Ecuador in the 2004 games, and those selected represent the cream of UK surfing talent. They are:
- Alan Stokes: 25 year old Alan from Newquay, Cornwall, is one of the UK’s most consistent competitive surfers having won the British Championships twice and the English Nationals in 2005. This is Alan’s fifth outing on the British team having competed in Ecuador (2004), South Africa (2002), Brazil (2000) and, Portugal (1998).
- Mark Harris: Also from Newquay, 24 year old Mark has been steadily climbing through the rankings and is the ex-British Junior Champion. Mark last represented Britain in California as a junior in 1998.
- Johnny Fryer: Originally from the Isle of Wight, 22 year old Johnny has taken the British Junior Championship title three times and came ninth in the World Junior Championships. This is Johnny’s second time on the Open British team, following his strong results in Ecuador in 2004.
- Sam Lamiroy: Brought up in the North East, 30 year old Sam is the ex-British Champion and will be making his fourth British team appearance having represented his country in Ecuador (2004), Brazil (2000) and California (1998.) Sam will actually be taking some time off from his honeymoon to compete!
- Bethan Mason: Just 16 years old, and from Swansea, Wales, Bethan is still a Junior and has combined her surf training with her GCSEs. She has been showing highly consistent surf form taking the Welsh U18 Girls Champs and coming 2nd in the European U18 Girls Championships.
- Robyn Davies: 31 year old Robyn from Porthleven, Cornwall, has been one of the UK’s top female surfers for over ten years and has been the British Champion five times over. This will be Robyn’s sixth British team spot having competed in the World Games in Ecuador (2004), South Africa (2002), Brazil (2000), California (1998) and France (1996.)
- Damien Prisk: Aged 29 from Camborne, Cornwall, Damien is the current English bodyboarding champion and has been the British Champion four times over. This will be Damian’s fourth time representing Britain at the World Championships and he will be keen to follow up on his success in the Ecuador games when he got to the finals and also in South Africa in 2002 when he convincingly beat the current World Champion.
- Bjorn Storey: Bjorn is a one of the British bodyboarders who has continually set trends and new moves with the sport. Aged 28 from Plymouth, his form has seen him take 5th place in the European Championships and the British title several times.
- Gemma Harris: Originally from Aberavon, Wales, 26 year old Gemma is the most accomplished UK female bodyboarder with a range of titles to her name including being the four times British Champion & multiple Welsh Champion.
- Ben Skinner: 22 year old Ben, originally from Jersey now living in Newquay, Cornwall, is multi-talented surfer who is equally at home on a longboard as shortboard. Ben has won the Junior and Open Longboard English titles and represented Britain as a junior shortboarder in South Africa 2002.
Karen Walton, National Director of the British Surfing Association (BSA) said, “Achieving a place on the British team obviously represents the pinnacle of a career for many UK surfers and this year’s team has been selected based on their current form and ongoing high placing contest results. As a nation, we are continuing to build our profile and credibility on the international stage and we’re looking to consolidate this even further at these World Games.”
Karen continues, “Now that the team has been confirmed, the BSA will be running an ongoing pre-event training programme to ensure that each and every surfer is at the very top of their game and their highest possible fitness levels. We took the 10th spot two years ago and will be doing all possible to up that placing even further this time around.”
Adam Smith, Marketing Manager of the team sponsor, Freespirit, commented: “Freespirit is extremely proud to be sponsoring the British Surf Team, at such a key time for the ever-growing sport. It is an honour for us to support the elite of British surfing and we’ll be right behind the whole team as they head on out to show the world just what they can do.”