BSUPA White Air sponsored by Tiki, NSP and Wight Water Sports.

Briefing for the Surf event

Round three of the British Stand Up Paddle Association series was held at the White Air festival, Isle of Wight. Saturday morning the forecast was flat for the waves, with an Easterly wind forecast so distance racing was the only real option. The White Air event had the chance to have a roving location depending upon swell, but we stayed at the event site at Yaverland on the south side of the Island.

With 18 competitors the first distance event was held. The usual start line was on the beach, and there was a small rolling swell and easterly winds of around 12 knots. John Hibbard and Neal Gent from the start line were battling, with Mark fighting in third. Neal had to fight hard because he was riding a standard 12 ft board, where as John had special new distance board – the Starboard point to point. In the final downwind leg John broke away from the pack and won the event clearly. Mark Slater and Nick Healey were very close in third and fourth place respectively, followed by Steve Carter.

In the shorter course ladies Clare Blacklock was in first place, Sharon Shaw second and in the Juniors Bobby Cooper was first and Holly Bassett second.

Towards the end of the day there was a small line of surf so we held a mens expression session where there was a heat of nine people, with the best wave counting. John Hibbard was first, followed by Neal Gent, Scott Gardener and Matt Argyle.

Saturday night was party night at the White Air festival with some good tunes from the Pigeon Detectives and a DJ set by Rob Da Bank.

Sunday morning we were greeted with 15 knots of wind and a disspaointing surf forecast, but as the day progressed after the red arrows display on the beach, the wind dropped and swell cleaned up. We then held the first round of an expression session, which after the first two heats it was decided to run the full surf competition as we had enough constant surf to ride waves. The ladies and juniors went first with Claire winning, in the juniors Bobby rode well to take first with Holly coming in second.

Holly Bassett, 10 years old.
Holly Bassett, 10 years old, has a great SUP future ahead of her.

Then we had the first round of the men’s surf, which was 12 minute four man heats, with best two riders progressing. Each rider had to have good wave selection in the small surf, and put in combinations of smooth high scoring turns. Through the heats it was clear that John, Neal, Scott and Matt all had the conditions dialed in. Mark and Nick all had good combinations but failed to find the waves to bring in maximum points.

In the final John, Neal, Scott and Matt paddled out into the swell. It was a really close run thing with a count back in the judging between Neal and John, John could have clinched the first place, but he fell on an excellent set wave, and Neal took full advantage to win. Scott surfed well, but Matt could’nt find the form that got him through the semi final.

BSUPA event director Simon Bassett said “we were not expecting any surf this weekend. On Sunday small surf arrived similar to Gwithians, and Head Judge Adrian Howell, myself and the riders decided to run the contest. With the results from 3 events for distance and 2 events for surf there now seems to be title battle between John Hibbard and Neal Gent for the overall season championship. Every thing will hang on the results at Newgale in October 17/18 to find the National BSUPA Champions at the end of the season (the BSUPA series will be the first SUP championship outside of Hawaii). I have to thank all the sponsors of the event Tiki NSP for donation of board wetsuit and gear bags, Scott at Wightwater, Phil, Gunner, for help with the judging at the event, Shag as head judge, Matt, Neal and John for technical help during the event. We also must thank Nigel and his Wight air crew for putting on a good event and must say to the jet ski team who showed no respect to anyone on the water as usual !”.

Left to right John Hibbard, Neal Gent and Scott Gardner
Left to right John Hibbard, Neal Gent and Scott Gardner
Claire Blacklock and Bobby Cooper
Claire Blacklock and Bobby Cooper


1. John Hibbard (Starboard point to point)
2. Neal Gent (GONG NFA 12ft)
3. Mark Slater (Jimmy Lewis distance)
4. Nick Healey (Jimmy Lewis Distance)
5. Steve Carter (Starboard point to point)
6. Boyd Shaw (starboard 12ft 6)
7. Jay Manning (starboard 12ft 6)
8. Matt Argyle (GONG NFA 12ft)
9. Johnny (GONG 10ft 2 Greedy)


1. Claire Blacklock (GONG 10ft 2 Greedy)
2. Sharon Shaw (Starboard 12ft 6)


1. Bobby Cooper (GONG 10ft 2 Greedy) age : 16
2. Holly Bassett (Jimmy Lewis 10ft 4) age : 10

Surf Open

1. Neal Gent (GONG 9’11’’ Electric)
2. John Hibbard (Starboard 9ft)
3. Scott Gardner (South Point Bonga Perkins)
4. Matt Argyle (GONG 9’11’’ Electric)
5. Nick Healy (Starboard 9ft 8)
5= Mark Slater (Jimmy Lewis 10ft 4)
7= Steve Carter (Starboard 9ft 8)
7= Boyd Shaw (Starboard 9ft 8)
7= Jay Manning (starboard 11ft 2)
7= Johnny (GONG 10ft 2 Greedy)

Womens Surf

1. Claire Blacklock (Jimmy Lewis 10ft)


1. Bobby Cooper (GONG 10ft 2 Greedy) age : 16
2. Holly Bassett (Jimmy Lewis 10ft 4) age : 10

All of the following photos are taken by Jon Carter.

White Air SUP Contest
SUPers in the water
John Hibbard on the nose
John Hibbard on the nose
Neal Gent off the lip
Neal Gent off the lip
John Hibbard Paddles out
John Hibbard Paddles out
The contestants
The contestants on the beach