Action was off the charts in Bristol on Thursday 7th July at the 2022 English Adaptive Surfing Open. A record day for Surfing England and the Adaptive surf community as 2022 marked the first year we ran the contest with the 9 ISA Para Surfing Classes. We are firmly supporting the global drive to see surfing included in the Paralympics as this inclusive sport goes from strength to strength. The ripple effect from this event will carry on for many weeks and years as we inspire a whole new crew of adaptive surfers to join the sport. How did it unfold…
With travel back on the agenda, we welcomed home legend and the force behind adaptive surfing in England Spike Kane back to the contest after a couple of years out. A fantastic international presence, surfers made the journey from Israel, France, Canada, Argentina and more. It was epic to welcome some of the top athletes on the scene to the contest and show those competing for the first time what can be achieved on the waves.
Contest heats ran for 6 hours on both sides of the lake, with a phenomenal crew of volunteers supporting the event – a huge thank you to you all. A record year saw 10 surfers competing in the Prone Assist and scoring epic waves racking up the points on the score table. Stand out surfing from Andy Guy, his first-time surfing in the lake since last year & tearing up the advanced, he’s one to watch. At the crunch, Mark Hagger took the title, and Hannah Dines came 2nd, the highest scoring woman in this class. A strong Scottish attendance for the first time ever also saw their surfers performing exceptionally. This event is scored by the top wave on the left and right combining to give a score out of 20 and forming a leaderboard (results below – individual scores viewable on LiveHeats).
With every division, competition was fierce in the water and the focus was on. The Visually Impaired 2 division saw Melissa Reid showing her style, taking the top spot, adding to her run of wins! In the Visually Impaired 1 division, two surfers went head-to-head, with Thomas Da Silva from France taking Champion.
In the kneel, the crowd were going wild. Martin Pollock nipping at Llywelyn ‘Sponge’ Williams tail on the waves, Martin was stoked to see his scores ‘closing the gap’ on Sponge, who, in the end, claimed the champion position for a consecutive year, racking up his English Champ titles. Victoria Feige from Canada placed third and was the highest placed woman in this class.
Stand three and Sit only had one surfer in each class – we took the decision to run these and blended with other heats to give the competitive experience. The surfers gave it their all, and we hope to see more surfers join from these classes in future years. We have to mention Alon Avisar who travelled from Israel and went booking straight onto some expert sessions at The Wave, fantastic surfing!
In the Stand one division, 3 surfers charged hard, two entering the contest after surfing in the Waikiki Participation session that took place last year, a sign of the growing appetite for adaptive surfing in England. With the Adaptive Surf Club running at The Wave, we expect to see more surfers coming through year on year. Back in the event after a couple covid years break, Benoit Moreau from France came back with his firm attention on the Champion title, his surfing was mesmerising to watch, and the judges rewarded the waves and he took the top spot.
Another busy division with some seasoned athletes, Stand two, saw Pegleg Bennett and Nachman Yariv Balulu in another close contest, with some friendly rivalry reenergised that started last year. Nachman pinched the Champion title, he really surfs with flair. Zoe Smith who started surfing last year placed 3rd and highest woman, her development in surfing has been rapid and you can see how hooked she is on the sport.
Finally prone one was an international head-to-head class, as we welcomed Nicolas Gallegos (Argentina) and Parker Olenick (USA) to England! These two kept a close race, Parker just nipping top – incredible surfing and we hope to see you next year.
A standout mention and additional award went to Jade Edward, 10 years old surfer from Scotland, who got the hearts of the crowd all week at The Wave nipping around on her skateboard, and more importantly shredding on the advanced waves.
Surfers – check out the photos, all free to download via: https://imagecabin.thewave.com/f203090327
Our huge thanks to all 37 surfers that travelled from near and far with their families, friends & supporters to compete. The event would never run without the incredible support of the surfing community, and the 50 plus volunteers that gave their time to provide water safety, pushing, catching, land support and beach marshal support. We are so thankful to you all! Shout out to Surfability UK CIC and The Wave Project!
Thanks to the Event staff for delivering another sterling contest, Pauly Jeffrey Contest Director on the day, Hannah Brand and Zoe Gowers heading up the Surfing England operational planning & delivery, working closely with Nick Rees from The Wave, in what is a fantastic partnership.
Finally, it is our event partners that enable us to deliver events such as this. Thank you to The Wave who host us for a third consecutive year, and to korev Lager, who attended & provided post event korev Caravan and Motorhome Club, dryrobe, Decathlon UK, Wild West Jerky, Cutty Sark, Clarke Willmott, Vospers, The Wave Project, Surfability UK CIC
Inspired by what you’ve watched & read, every membership to Surfing England supports events such as this. Just £25/year for adult (£18 for Under 18), including worldwide personal accident insurance & discounts. Be a part of our community & help drive our sport forward. Sign me up!
For all event enquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on The Wave & to book a surf, visit: www.thewave.com
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