The past weekend (17 – 19 October 2008) witnessed hundreds of students from across the country taking over Newquay’s Fistral Beach for the first-ever British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) Surfing Championships, sponsored by Ticket to Ride in association with the British Surfing Association (BSA) Inspiring surf conditions provided Britain’s student surfers with the ideal playground to showcase their skills and take-on their peers in a healthy exhibition of sporting rivalry. It was Falmouth and Swansea who had the most reason to celebrate at the end with Falmouth’s Men’s team lifting the Championship trophy and Swansea’s Women’s team taking home the female equivalent.
Entries were phenomenally high this year, which meant the Contest Director was forced to cap entries to 100 woman and 200 men. These figures make the BUCS event the largest British surfing competition with only male and female entrants - only the English Championships attracts a bigger entry, yet includes a whole range of Grommets and Seniors categories - exemplifying just how enthusiastic the British student surfing scene is.
Friday saw perfect conditions roll-in for the competition with stunning sunshine accompanying shoulder to head height waves. Saturday’s smaller waves weren’t quite as challenging but they provided all the power necessary for the contestants to be able to impress the judges. On Sunday, ‘textbook’ Fistral conditions with epic waves greeted a charged set of finals competitors and judges.
In the Woman’s event, both Amy Brock-Morgan of Plymouth B and Jaydean Kerton from Plymouth A won every single heat to make it to the finals. There they met Hannah Dixon of Swansea A and Isabella Burke from Falmouth A for an impressive battle. Following a tightly fought heat, Amy Brock-Morgan emerged victorious with Isabella Burke taking second place, Jaydean Kerton in third and Hannah Dixon in fourth.
In the Men’s final, Falmouth surfers dominated with both Josh Leatherbarrow and Fabian Baker making it to the final where they encountered Rob Webster-Blythe of Cardiff A and Jacob Downs of Plymouth A. At the end of the heat it was Falmouth who succeeded with Josh Leatherbarrow taking first with Fabian Baker coming second and Jacob Downs and Rob Webster-Blythe taking third and fourth respectively.
Anton Roberts, Contest Director for the Championships said, “Obviously this was a massive event. With 300 entrants, that’s a lot of heats to get through but the ideal conditions made it an amazing showcase and I have to say that the judges were particularly impressed with the level of improved female surfing that was on show at this university competition. Overall, it was a brilliant event with a very enthusiastic range of surfers in the water and a major supporter crowd on the beach. We’re considering adding a repercharge set of rounds next year to make it really worth the while for all the travelling surfers.”
For more information on this event click here > BUCS student surf news
For Surfing courses from learning to contest preparation click here > Surfing for students