Historic World Adaptive Surfing Championships for Team England
In a small corner of Southern California, the sun set has set on an phenomenal event and a moment of reflection is held – a community of talented surfers and passionate humans have just come together to create memories that will last a lifetime and achievements that will resonate for generations to come.
Team England have just taken part in the World Adaptive Surfing Championships, which has seen a record breaking 109 surfers from 26 countries compete in La Jolla, California.
2017 has been an historic year for English Surfing, with Sport England’s decision earlier this year to finally recognise Surfing England as the as the sports National Governing Body the catalyst for the first English Adaptive Surfing Open held at Watergate Bay in September.
Fast forward a few months and three surfers from that inaugural event, Spike Kane, Pegleg Bennett and Charlotte Banfield flew the flag representing England at the World Adaptive Surfing Championships, doing so in fine fashion as ambassadors of the sport and their country.
Spike led the team and performed heroically in his heats but didn’t get the necessary heat total scores to progress. Peg committed to all the waves he could and progressed, bowing out after his quarter finals head held high. Charlotte, in her international debut, participated in the women’s divisions which were the first to be held at this level, and incredibly made it to the finals, then overcoming everything she secured a silver medal, a moment that will be treasured in English surfing history.
Charlotte Banfield -England’s silver darling
“Well done to each of our surfers Charlotte, Peg and Spike, we can’t begin to express how big an inspiration you are to us. We also want to give a massive thanks to the support team who were with them at every point of this journey.” said Bruce Daniel Surfing England Chair.
The programme has been kindly managed and supported by volunteers Matt Harwood of Isle of Wight surf club, Andy Joyce of Surf Steps Surf School in Bournemouth, Chris Knowles photographer, Nick and Noah Hounsfield from the Wave, Tanya Weston and many more.
“What an amazing experience, I am so proud to have played my part in this. England finished 16th in the end, with a team of three surfers. Our goal is to drive forward from this into 2018 and beyond, harnessing the passion and focus, and ensuring that the opportunity to surf for England is embraced by as many as possible, as the interest and popularity grows we know that this will come” said Andy Joyce, volunteer manager.
Congratulations to Team Brazil for taking the top team honours, and all the many other medallists and champions. Full results can be found here.
“The ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship is where Adaptive Surfing took off. Once we get to the Paralympics we will look back on these early days with the ISA and Stance as the beginning. We are clearing the jungle and the next generation will pave the path”, said USA’s newly crowned world champions in AS3 division Alana Nichols.
The future for Adaptive surfing is bright and Paralympic status the ultimate goal. “We paddled for the Olympic wave for over 20 years and all the hard work paid off, but now we are paddling for another wave towards inclusion in the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. The platform that this event has created and the athletes that are here today will play a large role in our push towards getting Para Surfing to the world’s greatest sporting stage” said ISA President Fernando Aguerre.
Thank you to our amazing sponsors for making it possible; The Wave, Korev Lager, Pacsafe, Dryrobe, Caravan and Motorhome Club and Virgin Atlantic.
To anyone out there interested in taking up adaptive surfing, please get in touch. There is an amazing community just waiting to welcome you and the door is wide open, Surfing England are committed to enabling and breaking down the barriers for all – please email firstname.lastname@example.org.