The Headworx English National Surfing Champs came to a climax in Watergate Bay, Cornwall this weekend.
Day three was an epic climax to the Headworx English Nationals. With the swell increasing overnight, the men’s open kicked off in six to eight foot conditions, with the other divisions moved to nearby Tolcarne. The surf was challenging, forcing the UK’s best riders to dig deep in their quest for the Headworx English crown.
Several of the top contenders were eliminated early on with Alan Stokes, Matt Capel and Johnny Fryer all coming unstuck in the choppy conditions. Sam Lamiroy the British Champion even snapped his board on his second wave, leaving him unable to continue his challenge for a double national title.
In Round Two, Newquay’s Gareth Llewellyn suffered an exhausting battle with the elements when his board broke free over the rocks. After swimming ashore to collect his board he faced a harsh paddle out back with no leash to keep his board attached.
Last year’s winner, Joss Ash was also knocked out in Round Two during a competitive heat against Gareth Llewellyn, Richie Mullins and Andrew Griffin. Although Joss scored an impressive 11.63 overall, it was not enough to take him through to the quarter finals.
Richy, along with Headworx rider Reubin Pearce, Mitch Corbett and Ollie Adams were the stand-outs of the day, constantly impressing the judges with some gutsy surfing as they ripped apart the stormy overhead waves in front of an awed crowd on the beach.
These four chargers contested a thrilling final, with textbook power moves from all the boys but it was Ollie that wowed the judges with his free flowing display of powerful surfing. “He surfed to his full potential, setting up his heat with a long left hander,” explained Head judge Ester Spears. Ollie, 22, said “I’m so stoked! It’s unbelievable to take the national title! I’ve been working really hard on the WQS (World Qualifying Series) circuit recently so this feels really great.”
Down the road at Tolcarne Beach, the longboarders, women, bodyboarders, legends, masters, kneeboarders and junior divisions all made the most of the cleaner 4ft surf to put on a series of incredible finals in front of a big crowd.
Sennen Cove’s Sam Bleakley, fresh from competing in the World Champs in France, pulled off some smooth hang 5’s, off the lips and nose rides to secure him the title of Headworx English Longboard Champion in an exciting final. “I always have such a great time at the Nationals, because there are so many divisions there is such a great vibe.”
Local boy Harry Timson earned big respect, competing in three divisions. He was rewarded with the Headworx English Groms Champion title and third place in the Under 14 Youths – even though he is only 11 years old! “I was so tired, but it’s been great! I’m amazed,” he said.
As for the Women it was Zoe Sheath aged only 15 who took both the Womens Open and Under 18 titles. Zoe pulled out big backhand snaps and floaters in the final to claim her prize as Headworx English Womens Champion. She said: “the standard has really improved over the years for the girls, it’s really encouraging to see.”
The important title for any Newquay surfer is the decision of who wins the Randall Davies Memorial Cup in memory of the former English Champion, which was awarded to Mitch Corbett this year for his impressive display and performance in the testing conditions at Watergate. “I’m, well chuffed, absolutely stoked, what more can I say?”
The Dave Jenson cup for the highest placed Newquay Junior was awarded to Aiden Wright for the third year running. He impressed the judges by his dedication to the sport. Aiden said: “It’s amazing, I’m speechless, I can’t wait for next year!”
Head judge Ester Spears summed up the weekend: “It was amazing to see the improvement in performance levels this year, there was a powerful display of surfing from the semi finals onwards. It looks as if British surfing is on its way back. Although the conditions were not always ideal the surfing was top notch, at times it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.”
Becoming English Champion is the perfect start to any competitive surfer’s summer and this year’s results will be at the front of the panel’s mind as selections are soon to be made for the Headworx-sponsored English National Team to compete at June’s European Championships being held in France.
For the first time this year sponsors Headworx provided a full online event, with live video (in association with Focusworx), scores and messaging provided throughout the event on the official website www.englandsurf.com.
Ben Byfield, Marketing Manager for Headoworx commented: “It’s been a superb event this year, the standard of surfing and judging has been the highest yet and its been a pleasure to be able to extend our support English surfing in this way. In particular, its been great to have had such a good response to the website which gave friends, family and fans across the world a chance to be a part of the English Nationals for the first time!” The Championships, now in their 35th year, are run by the English Surfing Federation (ESF) – a non profit making organisation dedicated to the support and development of English surfers.