England’s best surfers will return to the waves of Watergate Bay this May to decide national surfing champions in the Headworx English Nationals.
Now in its 36th year, the Headworx English Nationals will see over 300 surfers competing from Saturday 3rd to Monday 5th May. As well as the prestige of being crowned a national champion, the winning junior surfers will also enhance their chances of representing England at the European Junior Surfing Championships later this year.
“At Headworx we have been sponsoring core surf events since the company was founded in 1976, and the English Nationals is a great event to be involved with because it’s all about the grass roots of surfing,” said Ben Byfield from Headworx, who are based at nearby Tolcarne Beach in Newquay.
“There is national pride at stake – this event decides national titles and the selection of surfers to represent their country at the European Championships. A good result at the English Nationals can set surfers up for the rest of the season.”
The Extreme Academy has been home to the English Nationals since 2002. With quality peaks at all stages of the tide, Watergate Bay’s two mile stretch of beach gives organisers the option to run four sets of heats simultaneously throughout the three days of competition.
Last year’s event saw surfers face extremely challenging conditions, with Newquay-based Oli Adams winning the Open division final in stormy 6-8ft waves at Watergate Bay. Second-placed Mitch Corbett won the Randall Davies Memorial Trophy, while Headworx team rider Reubin Pearce finished third.
“Winning the English title last year meant a lot me,” said Oli Adams, who has been competing on the international World Qualifying Series (WQS) in 2007. “I have been training hard this winter and am very focused on doing well in the competitive season ahead, and can’t think of a better start than holding on to the Headworx English Open trophy.”
One young surfer to watch at the event is Extreme Academy team rider Harry Timson. Widely acknowledged as one of England’s most exciting young surfing talents, Harry has exercised total domination in the under 12 division for the past two years, and will hope to continue his winning form as he moves up to the under 14 category.
Headworx team riders Johnny Fryer and Matt Capel will also be competing in the event. Devon-born Matt Capel has spent the winter in Australia and Hawaii, and the 22 year old is keen to start the season with a good performance at his sponsor’s event.
“You always want to win the English Nationals, it’s a big event and it’s different to the other competitions because the points count for national places,” said Matt.
“I made it to the quarter finals last year, but not it’s not what I’m in if for! I’d really like to do better this year. I’ve been training hard recently – there were three really good swells while I was in Hawaii with the Headworx team, and right now I’m in Scotland for a photo shoot. I surfed 6ft Thurso East for eight hours yesterday, so I’m feeling pretty good at the moment.”
This year will also see some new categories. Already one of the largest surfing events in Europe, the Headworx English Nationals will expand again this year to a total of 24 divisions, including for the first time standup paddle surf.
The discipline, which combines elements of longboarding with traditional Polynesian outrigger canoes, sees surfers standing up on their boards using a single canoe paddle to power them into the waves.
Those unable to make it to the beach can watch the action unfold through video content and live results on the Headworx website, www.headworx.com. The site will also be regularly updated with photos, surf reports and news throughout the event.
The Headworx English Nationals are run by the English Surfing Federation (ESF), a non-profit-making organisation dedicated to the support and development of English surfers.