We were delighted to welcome Scott Mitchell, Scottish Surfing Federation Social Media manager, to the 2022 English Adaptive Surfing Open which took place on Thursday 7th July at The Wave, Bristol. Ops Manager Hannah caught up with Scott to give the run down on what was going on in, and just how far people had travelled to compete at this ever evolving, prestigious event.
SM: Okay. So I’m here at The Wave in Bristol, and it’s an amazing event going on. I’m with Hannah, can tell us who you are, who you’re with and what’s going on?
HB: I’m Hannah Brand and I’m the operations manager at Surfing England and I run our Events Program
SM: And we’re here today for, I mean, an amazing event. We’ve got an amazing day for it and what’s actually going on today?
HB: It’s an adaptive surfing competition. Also sometimes called parasurfing. And it’s all about getting athletes that need adaptation to surf in the water and competing. The surfers with different disabilities as such and they’re all here competing.
SM: So far, I’ve seen like these boys and girls are ripping. I’m embarrassed to go in the water and let them see me surfing and I’ve got no excuse. So, the challenges they face in terms of obviously disabilities is completely different restrictions. What is a support element for them? How does that sort of flow, and I’ve seen a lot of people in the water to help them in to the waves. How does that look and what’s the standard practice for that?
HB: Yeah, so it’s different depending on every surfer, every surfer has got a different level and every surfer wants different levels off support and some surfers just want to be left to it, they want to crack on and surf, it’s their thing that they do. Other surfers maybe a little bit more new, a little bit nervous, need a little bit more on land and maybe emotional support as well as physical support in the water.
SM: So we’ve got an amazing team here with over 50 volunteers, and they’re covering land and water support.
HB: We’re so fortunate we’re so well supported. So, yeah, some of the surfers have been catching waves. They need help pushing in. And then there’ll be other volunteers to catch them and get them back out.
SM: We’re halfway through the day at the minute. I’ve seen some really good heats, so far. We’re looking to get finals about six pm. Is that the final round? Yeah.
HB: So, the presentations will be at half 6. It’s not traditional progressions format and finals. The format of this event is it’s your best wave on the left and right. Take these 2 scores, add them together and then it’s your best out of 20 which forms a leader board.
SM: And it’s one left. One right?
SM: I’ve seen Scottish guys here, I’ve seen Welsh teams are here. Do you know how many people we’ve got in total?
HB: We’ve got 37 surfers in total which is incredible.
SM: So good.
HB: We’ve got surfers come as far as Canada, USA, Israel, French crew. We’re totally, totally stoked for it. It’s great to be here, for them to come to England, little England were people think there’s no waves. And bring them to the wave pool.
SM: Waves every day for sure.
HB: and the sun’s out.
SM: What a safe environment to get this going
SM: So would you look to do these events in the sea ?
HB: So, we used to do them in the sea and then this is the third year running at The Wave. We’ll see what the athletes want because a lot of international competitions are also in the sea. It’s a balance of getting that practise but running it at The Wave is fantastic. Pros and cons to both. We love being here and so do a lot of the surfers.
SM: I bet, I can only imagine. Oh, thanks very much for your time and let’s have a great day for the rest of the day. Your hair’s finally not on fire. You’ve been a busy person all day.
HB: It’s been nonstop. Yeah. It’s all going to start again now so I better get back to it.
SM: Amazing. Thanks so much Hannah
HB: Thank you.
SM: Just how many bananas have you had pushed in your face all day?
To catch up on the full event press release, gallery & edit, check it out here.
A huge thank you to Scott for joining us in Bristol for the event and supporting our goals to raise awareness of adaptive/para surfing across UK and beyond. Thanks for putting this edit together for us!
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