Watergate Bay played host to the 2010 Extreme Academy / British Stand Up Paddle Association Series Finals.
With its golden sands, clear ocean blue swells and its natural amphitheatre shape, it is clear why Watergate Bay is the perfect venue for so many ocean sports, including the sport of stand up paddle boarding. The main competitions to be run over the weekend would be Surf and Distance. Over the season there had been three rounds of distance racing completed, but no surf to date. This being the case it meant that a national title for surf would be won or lost by this, the deciding competition of the year.
Forty paddle boarders from around the country would battle it out for the fame and the glory, amongst them would be last years contest winner in the Men’s Surf, Adam Zervas from Newquay. Tipped as one of the favourites, how would Adam fair against a strong field, which included previous Series winners, Jock Patterson and Neal Gent. With a brisk North Westerly wind blowing down across the contest area, it would require experience in the picking of waves and great levels of skills to get the highest scores to proceed to the next round.
As the beach basked in sunshine the competition became more intense and it was clear that everyone was there to lay claim to the title. Round three saw some of the closest competition of the day with Jock Patterson and local Cornish Man Alex Murray tying point for point on their two scoring waves. The Judges would have to go back to the judging sheet. The call came out it would be Alex who would be proceeding to the Semi Final’s. The difference between Alex and Jock 0.2 of a point.
In the Second Men’s Semi Final disaster hit local favourite Adam Zervas when his paddle blade snapped soon after the start of the heat. Despite a sprint up to the top of the beach to fetch his spare paddle and a heroic effort to get back into contention, it was clear Adam, would be a spectator at this years final.
Late afternoon and the stage, was set for the Men’s Final. Conditions started to become marginal but with the odd set of waist to shoulder high set’s still coming through it pushed the guys all the way. A great show case for the sport, with some skilful riding from all four finalists. First place went to Neil Gent, second to John Hibbard & third place to Charlie Grey, forth place Matt Argyle.
In the Women’s Surf, although the entries were somewhat smaller than the Men’s, the desire to win was just as strong. First place went to Marie Buchanan, with Bobbie Cooper in second place and Claire Blacklock taking third place. Forth place went to Cath Jones.
Sunday morning, and with the winds of Saturday gone the conditions were perfect for the distance race. A race, which would see the competitors’ race out through the surf, and then race down to Porth beach, where they would turn at a marker buoy and back across the whole length of Watergate Bay to another buoy at the top. Once competitors had make that turn in it was back down the bay to the finish line, a total distance of around 5 miles.
First to cross the line was ex Iron Man Athlete Ryan James from Bournemouth. Ryan’s superb paddle skill and upper body strength clearly showed as he crossed the finish line some 400 meters ahead of Nick Watt in second place, Matt French in third and the rest of the fleet. A fantastic weekend of competition was had by all with everyone leaving feeling exhausted.
Event Organizer Richard Marsh commented, “ I’m really pleased with the way the competition has gone. We could not have asked for greater weather than what we have been blessed with this weekend. I am also pleased to announce that we have already been invited by Extreme Academy/ Watergate Bay Hotel to return and stage the competition once again in 2011”.
BSUPA/Richard Marsh would like to thank all of the following who contributed or supported, to make this a great weekend for everyone.
Extreme Academy -Watergate Bay - www.watergatebay.co.uk
Beach Hut - Watergate Bay - www.watergatebay.co.uk/thebeachhut
Nalubeads the original surf bead – www.nalubeads.com
Power Balance - www.powerbalanceuk.com
Westcountry Watersports – firstname.lastname@example.org
Nah-Skwell Paddleboards – www.nahskwell.com
X-Paddles – www.kaisports.com
Prosport Waterproof Sunscreen – www.prosportsunscreen.co.uk
Lifeboat Tea – www.lifeboattea.co.uk
Curve – www.thianleisure.com
Pure Blue Water – www.purebluewater.com
Wicked Wedge – www.wickedwedge.co.uk
SUP Global – www.supglobal.com
Naish – www.naish.com
Over-Board – www.Over-Board.co.uk
Indo Boards – www.indoeurope.com
R.N.L.I / Beach lifeguards – www.rnli.com
Finally Judges and all beach crew
Finalist in Mens Surfing, left to right: John Hibbard, Neal Gent, Charlie Gray, Matt Argyle © Bob Berry
Neal Gent - Photo © Bob Berry
John Hibbard © Bob Berry
Charlie Gray © Bob Berry
Matt Argyle © Bob Berry
Women's surfing winners, left to right: Claire Blacklock, Maria Buchanan, Bobby Cooper, Maria Buchanan
Results for Extreme Academy/BSUPA 2010 Series Finals at Watergate Bay
1st Neal Gent (Nah-Skwell, 2XS, Kialoa)
2nd John Hibbard (Starboard)
3rd Charlie Grey (Fanatic)
4th Matt Argyle (2XS, Nah-Skwell, Kialoa)
1st Maria Buchanan (Starboard)
2nd Bobbie Cooper (Fanatic)
3rd Claire Blacklock (Naish)
4th Kath Jones
Men’s Unlimited Distance
1st Ryan James (Starboard)
2nd Nick Watt (Starboard)
3rd Matt French (Starboard)
Men’s 12’6” Stock Distance
1st Mark Slater (Starboard)
2nd Charlie Grey (Fanatic)
3rd John Hibbard (Starboard)
1st Marie Buchanan (Starboard)
2nd Bobbie Cooper (Starboard)
Expression Surf Session – Sponsored by Westcountry Watersports
1st Neil Gent
2nd Adam Zervas
3rd Jim Richardson
© Richard Marsh/BSUPA 2010