Posted on September 18, 2017
The inaugural UK Bodysurfing Championships 2017 (sponsored by Slyde Handboards) took place on Saturday 16th September in some quite challenging swell conditions. Although we experienced nice peaky waves around the high tide, the period was only 6 seconds – exacerbated by the fairly stiff onshore wind. Despite this most contestants were able to get in some quite decent rides, and thankfully, no sightings of the recently reported Portuguese Man of War jellyfish on the day (seen recently on some of the North Cornwall beaches)!
This event (also sponsored by Da Fin, DMC Repellor, 37 Bodysurfing Apparel, Newquay BID, Korev Cornish Lager and the Fistral Beach Bar) was jointly organised by UK Pro Surf and the UK Bodysurfing Championships CIC.
Angie and Steve Watts from key sponsor Slyde Handboards (and their family) travelled all the way from California to watch the action – and were on hand to present the trophy and medals!
The 16 bodysurfers from the UK were competing against some very seasoned bodysurfers from France and Portugal, many of the UK bodysurfers having never entered a competition before!
So, this was a new experience for some, but all were willing and able, and out to put on a good show. The UK bodysurfers (all of whom were obviously having a great deal of fun) ensured there were good vibes throughout and helped instil great camaraderie amongst all who were there. Well done to everyone!
In the first heat it was Portuguese Champion Miguel Rocha and Ben Watson (Devon) who progressed, getting the better of Andrew Whitworth (Cornwall), Bernie Stone (Kent) and Paddy Rogers (Merseyside).
In the second heat it was Cornwall’s very own Jack Middleton and Loic Doison (from France) who came out the better – verses Sam Ticehurst (I.O.W.), Darren Kearney (London) and Will Griffiths (Bucks). Still these three didn’t seem to mind as the bar was beckoning!
The third heat winners were Matt Taylor-Garcia (Cornwall) and Rui Lopes (Portugal). Runners up were Ben Schofield (Dorset), Damien Nicholson (Cornwall) and Steve Davies (Devon).
Winners of heat four were Peter Connolly (Middlesex) and Nicholas Manacas (Portugal) knocking out Dan Murphy, Owen Jacka and Laura Workman (all from Cornwall). This was a fantastic achievement for Peter, who just happened to be our oldest competitor on the day!
It was then straight into the semi-finals with Miguel up against Jack, Loic and Ben in the first semi-final. The second semi-final pitted Rui Lopes against Nicholas Manacas, Peter Connolly and Matt Taylor-Garcia.
These semi finals were well fought out with more great bodysurfing. Miguel continued to show his classy style with some great rides, which seemed to be endless, but congratulations to Miguel, Jack, Rui and Nicholas, all coming through to reach the final!
To give the contestants a well earned break ahead of the final, we then held the first fun Expression Session for spectators. Sponsored by Slyde Handboards, SP Gadgets and Silver Label, four spectators were armed with Slyde Grom Boards (fitted with water proof cameras) and given a 20 minute session. Becoming a winner was going to depend on the video footage shown later in the Fistral Beach Bar!
The 2017 Slyde Handboards UK Bodysurfing Champion was runaway winner Miguel Rocha. Miguel again scored very highly! A well earned second place went to Jack Middleton from Cornwall, with Miguel’s compatriots Nicholas Manacas and Rui Lopes in 3rd and 4th places.
The initial prize giving took place immediately afterwards on the balcony, but that wasn’t the end of the action as there were a further three Expression Sessions.
Thanks to Slyde Handboards, SilverLabel and SP Gadgets sponsoring the Expression Session spectators had the opportunity to try out bodysurfing for themselves. The development of handboards and waterproof action cameras to the sport has grown its popularity right across the world, increasing the spectacle of the sport immensely, as seen in this fun event.
Anyone who wishes to join the UK Bodysurfing Association and come along to Meet Ups all year round are encouraged to join. These Meet Ups are held regularly throughout the year at many of the best beaches in Cornwall and Devon.
Without the assistance of Dave Reed from UK Pro Surf along with his well drilled team of life guards, judges, etc. none of this would have happened. Thanks go out to all of them!