Where: East Strand Portrush Northern Ireland
When: 27 - 28 October 2007
With an early morning call at 8am, surfers from all over the UK and Ireland prepared themselves for the Circle One Portrush Open, the final leg of the Relentless Triple Crown and one of the most important, high-scoring events of the tour.
With some great surfing conditions on show, the ocean opened up providing solid 3-4ft sets breaking on good banks. As this was a 3-star event with the winner gaining a maximum 2000 points, it was crucial for the surfers to get as many points as they could to secure a good seeding place.
Llewellyn Whittaker held his own throughout the final with his strong and powerful surfing ability taking him to a firm win, ahead of Oli Adams who took 2nd, Sam Lamiroy who came in 3rd and Fergal Smith who secured 4th. With many spectators lining the beach to watch this man throw his spray, the most explosive final was seen with Whitaker demonstrating his best surfing style.
Sitting over on the left peak away from the rest of the finalists, Llewellyn picked up the best set of waves throughout his final, using every part of the wave and strength throughout his turns, the other finalists found it hard to level up with not only Llewellyn’s power but also his wave selection.
Llewellyn Whitaker describes his win: “It was a really inconsistent final so I wished the waves my way, I started off with an average wave and then momentum just built throughout the final. It was not about the points and not about the money, it was a mile stone in my life just coming out of a couple of tough months and coming out on top. This just goes to show if you pursue anything and give it your hardest, you’ll always come out on top whatever you do."
Stand out surfers of the day were Richard Mullins who put on an utterly professional show progressing strongly through his heats, unfortunately being knocked out in his Quarter finals. The Relentless Money Move for the most progressive manoeuvre went to Mullins with his reo, winning him the £250 prize money.
Other standouts without a doubt were Llewellyn for his powerful surfing and for taking the title, alongside Fergal smith who made it to the final piping Reuben Ash in the last few minutes in the semi finals to progress through to the final. Not to forget Matt Capel whose progress throughout this year on tour has increased immensely alongside Ireland’s young talent Fergal Smith.
The women’s open saw Gwen Spurlock taking the Circle One Portrush Women's title with consistently good surfing against finalists Beth Mason, Celine Gehret and Ireland's Shauna Ward. From Beth leading strong in her semi final heat, Gwen soon became determined and focused in getting the better set waves of the final heat and putting her turns in with her solid surfing knowledge.
Gwen went on to say: “I needed to do well at this contest to gain better results and to extend my lead. I am really happy in taking the title and hope to do well in the last and final event of the year in a few weeks time at the Gul Newquay open."
Contest Director Dave Reed said: “This is the first time we have come to Portrush in Northern Ireland, it’s a beautiful venue and has great waves. We gave the opportunity for surfers on the north coast of Ireland to surf their home break and give them the potential home advantage. Fergal Smith is an exceptionally talented surfer as is Cain Kilcullen, this resulted in a fantastic opportunity to show what they could do on their home break and encourage others to participate in the sport."
A big thanks go out to sponsors Circle One, Ocean Warrior Surf Shop, G Shock, Relentless and Skinners Brewery for the party refreshment.