Over the weekend Junior surfers from around the UK and Europe descended upon Widemouth Bay, Bude for what was to become the largest British Schools Surf Championships in history. Surfers, spectators and staff were welcomed to one of the surfing gem’s of the Cornish coastline by consistent 2-3ft waves glistening in the sunshine that an engulfed the event for day one of the annual Calypso British Schools Surf Championships.
With over 120 entries from 29 Schools the event organisers from Surfing GB and The UK Pro Surf Tour announced an early start on Saturday and Surfers responded with electrifying performance from the start. As the temperature rose around the contest site (to 15degrees, not bad for the UK!) so did the intensity in the water with stand out surfing from local boy Miles Lee-Hargreaves and foreigner Aaron Strong (a previously unknown 14yr old from Portugal) setting the tone for the weekend.
This unique contest combines the traditional individual format with an overall schools trophy- so a strong emphasis is placed upon the importance of team work. Each individual placing counting towards overall team points, and the crowning of the British Schools Champions. The team aspects brings an incomparable atmosphere to the event.
‘It’s awesome to see so many young surfers here today ripping it up, getting involved and supporting their mates’ said GB Junior Coach Lloyd Cole. Harry De Roth
Summery music and informative commentary with a hint of humour reverberated around the beach, whilst (much to the delight of competitors and spectators alike) Calypso Soft Drinks were on hand to give out loads of fruity free drinks! The car park was full of groms whizzing around on their bright skateboards whilst Maverick Slacklines provided an ideal and often hilarious addition to the event with a free slack line to have a go at on the beach. However as heat after heat was battled out the surfing remained the focus. Intense motivation and determination was imprinted on the face of a selection of the Surfers, many of whom are battling for selection for the GB Junior Surf Squad to travel to Nicaragua for the up and coming 2013 World Junior Surfing Games. As day one drew to a close and the sun burnt into the horizon, talk and focus turned to Sunday’s finals and the usual inter school banter ensued into the night…
As blurry eyed spectators arrived to the smell of frying bacon from the campervan’s that lined the cliff edge, junior surfers kicked off day 2 with a display of progressive manoeuvres and raw carves that are sure to be a hearty and welcomed addition to any breakfast. The conditions varied throughout the day and the shorts & t-shirt wearing renegades riding off the back of Saturdays warmth were quickly addressing the wardrobe malfunction and donning the traditional ski jacket. The swell had built over night and although the wind had swung onshore some 3ft nuggets were out there to be found.
As finals commenced the conditions were challenging for those riding the longer form of board and local girl Emily Currie powered her way to victory in the Girls U18 Longboard ensuring maximum points for defending team champions Budehaven. The boys U18 Longboard final was a tight affair with Simon Trebilcock stylishly piping the talented Raife Gaskell to victory much to the delight of his Truro team mates. The U14 Girls shortboard showed the strength of Welsh Surfing as Welsh surfers Niamh Mathias took second and Bethan Lewis showed the importance of wave selection by only surfing two waves on her way to victory for Ysgol Bro Myrddin. The U14 Boys shortboard final was a slightly different affair with Liam Murray Strout showing surfing beyond his years to the title and points for Wadebridge with a 14.60 total, the final also showed strong surfing from Welsh boy Cieran Hughes and super grom Stanley Norman added to the growing excitement around his surfing future.
The Maverick Slacklines Zen Garden
In the first of the UK Pro Junior Division’s the Girls U16 shortboard finalists battled it out for pride, points and prize money as local girl Emily Currie pushed Braunton School surfers Flora Lawton and Peony Knight to the end but Flora’s impressive carves impressed the judges and earned her the well deserved victory. The Boys U16 shortboard final enthralled spectators as the impressive Portuguese surfer Aaron Strong totalled 11.00 in the final, this wasn’t enough though as Harry De Roth came in with 11.33 but sealing the victory with his last wave and representing Humphry Davy school with style was Issac Marshall with a 11.40 total. The U18 Girls Shortboard final saw Peony Knight of Braunton go one step further than her U16’s placing and comprehensively take the title with an 11.20 total over Ellen Harding in 2nd with 7.37 and Lucy Campbell 6.73 heat totals. The highly anticipated Boys U18 Final went off in solid 3ft fun waves and Miles Lee-Hargreaves took control from the start with a 5.33 and 7.83 on his first two waves. Treviglas’s Josh Braddock put up a good fight as Harry DeRoth and Max Payne tried to find the scoring waves but Miles held strong and convincingly defended his title and took the maximum point for Budehaven.
U18 Champ Miles Lee-Hargreaves
The overall team trophy was won by Braunton through strong representation and a great team spirit, team captain Taz Knight performed well throughout and had this to say in the end, ‘we had a great weekend, thanks to all the other competitors and well done to the rest of my team, YEEWWWW’.
2013 British Schools Champs Braunton Academy
Organisers Surfing GB and UKPST were both stoked on the event as SGB’s Project Manager Nick Rees said ‘Awesome turn out and representation from the schools, this event keeps growing and now has some really solid foundations for us to build on in the future!’. Massive thanks to the sponsors Calypso for their continued and passionate support of junior surfing in the UK, also POSCA, Elements Hotel and Carve Surfing Magazine for their vital input to the event.
U18 Girls Longboard
1st – Emily Currie (Budehaven)
2nd – Lucy Howell (South Devon College)
3rd – Jasmine Oades (Braunton)
U18 Boys Longboard
1st – Simon Trebilcock (Truro College)
2nd – Raife Gaskell (Treviglass)
3rd – Taz Knight (Braunton)
4th – Rhys Burton (Budehaven)
U14 Girls Shortboard
1st – Bethan Lewis (Ysgol Bro Myrddin)
2nd – Niamh Mathias (Ysgol Y Preseli)
3rd – Jordy Lowe (Tretherras)
4th – Beth Leighfield
U14 Boys Shortboard
1st – Liam Murray Strout (Wadebridge)
2nd – Cieran Hughes (Cowbridge)
3rd – Stanley Norman (Bude)
4th – Ben Tucker (Heaton Manor)
U16 Girls Shortboard
1st – Flora Lawton (Braunton)
2nd – Peony Knight (Braunton)
3rd – Emily Currie (Budehaven)
4th – Bethan Lewis (Ysgol Bro Myrddin)
U16 Boys Shortboard
1st – Isaac Marshall (Humphry Davy)
2nd – Harry DeRoth (St.Ives)
3rd – Aaron Strong
4th – Rory Morgan
U18 Girls Shortboard
1st – Peony Knight (Braunton)
2nd – Ellen Harding (Kingsbridge)
3rd – Lucy Campbell (Braunton)
4th – Jaide Lowe (Tretherras)
U18 Boys Shortboard
1st – Miles Lee-Hargreaves (Budehaven)
2nd – Josh Braddock (Treviglas)
3rd – Harry DeRoth (St.Ives)
4th – Max Payne (Wadebridge)
1st – Braunton
2nd – Budehaven
3rd – Truro College
4th – Tretherras
Video: Ornella Hawthorn Gardez
Photos: Rob Tibbles
Any event enquiries please contact Nick Rees at firstname.lastname@example.org