On the weekend of the 23rd & 24th March, the British Junior Squad congregated at Fistral Beach, Newquay for their third training session of their winter coaching program. Unlike the previous two meetings where conditions were small and challenging, on Saturday morning the squad was greeted with 4-6ft surf and light offshore winds. With the conditions as good as the squad could have hoped for, Head Coach Lloyd Cole wasted no time getting each frothing surfer into their wetsuit and out into the relatively empty Fistral Lineup.
Once the squad had spent an hour warming up in the pumping conditions, it was straight into the classroom for a diet and flexibility seminar with personal trainer and Yoga instructor Emily Cole (www.personaltrainingswansea.com). Taking inspiration from the success of British Cycling over the recent years, the constant emphasis from Lloyd over the course of all the training weekends has been to make marginal gains in every area of performance. Emily’s session gave the squad some great tips on how their diet and lifestyle can impact their surfing performance. All these points were reinforced further on Sunday afternoon, when Tom Butler and Johnny Fryer held a Q&A session with the squad. The majority of questions that the squad directed to Tom and Johnny were related to how they could significantly improve their surfing career from making simple lifestyle changes.
As the swell peaked and the tide started to push, the squad surfed their first round of the weekend’s heats. The sun came out and a large crowd of spectators started to gather on the beach at North Fistral, setting the stage for the squad to display their full potential. With some 7ft sets breaking and lots of water moving around, competitors had to make sure they made their waves count. Croyde’s Taz Knight drew cheers from the beach as he found his way out of a Barrel to win his heat, and Newquay local Jaide Lowe showed impressive commitment taking off on some overhead set waves. However, it was South Devon’s Joe Harding who secured the highest heat score of the day with an impressive display of powerful surfing in the overhead waves.
During the round one heats, events organized to raise funds for the junior squad commenced at Fistral Blu. Rick Stein chef Paul Harwood cooked fresh seafood dishes on the patio, Joe Hurworth played live music in the bar, while students from Cambourne College gave massage treatments to the large crowd of people. The squad all got involved and took part in a Zumba class from Sigara.
The activities were a huge success and with some great prizes for a raffle, supplied by Lanzarote Retreats, Nigel Hudson, Newquay surf shops Smile, North Shore and Boardwalk as well as Santa Cruz, Billabong, Vans, Monster and TJ’s, everyone managed to raise an impressive total of £1478 for the Junior Team. On behalf of the squad, a huge Thank you to everyone who was involved and made the day so successful. A special Thanks to Matthew Stevens of ‘Fish for Thought’ in St Ives, for providing all the fish; as well as, Darren Hendy, Bookers, John Lenton and Abi Whithers at The Beach Bar, and Moira Dixon – without them, the event wouldn’t have been nearly as successful.
On Sunday the swell dropped and was a much more manageable 2-4ft. Still clean and offshore, conditions were perfect for competition and the squad went straight into a full day of heats. The day was started with the Long Board division. Jack Unsworth from North Devon was the top performer, showing the best repertoire of Nose riding and progressive long boarding to finish the weekend ahead of Sam Cavin 2nd, Raife Gaskell 3rd and Arran Bright 4th . All three surfers were very closely matched and displayed good form over the course of the day’s heats. In the afternoon the division spent time with Local Long boarder and ETL surfer Adam ‘Bearman’ Griffiths. The surfers enjoyed a video analysis session and master class with one of Britain’s most successful long board competitors.
The Under 18 boys were the most closely competitive division over the weekend. Paddy Daniel continued to be clinical and consistent, whilst Will Davey from Lanzarote applied his impressive backhand to finish in 2nd place at the end of the competition. Miles Lee Hargreaves, who was returning from a Knee injury sustained from surfing Porthleven on a recent winter swell, put his power to good use in the larger conditions to end the weekend’s action in 3rd place. Carrying on from his good first day, Taz Knight continued to post scores into double figures to top the division in 1st.
In the Under 16s it was Liam Murray Strout who finished on top with consistently impressive rail-to-rail surfing and the ability to find the best waves on offer. Challenging Liam’s consistency was Rhys Barfield who was fresh back from Australian waters and Angus Scotney who was beginning to show form at his local break. George Hudson was the coach’s choice for frother of the day. Making the most of the pumping conditions, George spent practically the entire day surfing both in and out of a jersey. We all know that feeling of surfing to the last possible minute before having to be somewhere, but George took it to a new level by doing a 30 minute Zumba class still in his wetsuit. A quick refuel and he was back out there catching more waves before the afternoon workshop with Tom and Johnny.
After a lot of paddling on Saturday, the girls were happy to be catching plenty of waves, although along with most of Newquay. Emily Currie led the average rankings with three heat wins but with both Ellen Harding and Laura Crane taking two, and Flora Lawton winning a heat against the pair of them, the competition in the division was extremely tight.
The weekend was a great success. As well as the great waves and performance surfing, it was announced that CompriseIT (www.compriseit.com) have provided additional funding to become a team sponsor. Owen Pettiford and Dean Wood, Co-Founders of CompriseIT said “We are proud and delighted to sponsor the British Junior Surfing Squad and applaud their efforts to represent Great Britain at the World Junior Surf Championships in Nicaragua. We commend these young athletes, who are completely self-funded, and believe they act as an inspiration and role models for others”. With this and the money raised at the weekend’s event, along with the continued fantastic support from Calypso Soft Drinks and their Aqua Juice brand, (www.aquajuice.com) the squad are carrying great momentum into their next event. The Surfing GB British Schools contest will be held at Widemouth Bay, Bude on April 20th & 21st. This will be a crucial event for squad members to make a strong case for selection onto the team, which will represent Great Britain at the ISA World Junior Games in Nicaragua come June.