Article and photos via Surfing England.
The 2019 English National Adaptive Surfing Open has crowned its champions for 2019. Well, what an epic weekend we had down in Fistral Beach, Newquay. The event has grown exponentially since last year & we’re so stoked to let you know how we got on!
Since last year, the competition over doubled in size with 45 entries across 6 divisions. We had adventurous surfers travelling from over 10 countries to compete including Hawaii, South Africa & Australia! We had over 50 volunteers learning key skills on Adaptive Surfing over the weekend. Oh, & whilst the rest of the country basked in glorious sunshine on Saturday, we battled some heavy sea mist – it wouldn’t be an English Surfing Competition without some challenges would it?!
Saturday morning started with our Adaptive Surfing Workshop, led by Surfability UK CIC. Over 40 surf coaches & volunteers came together to equip themselves with knowledge on Adaptive Surfing. Surfing England strive to increase the opportunities for every person no matter what their disability to access the therapeutic properties of the ocean that we all enjoy. We also had loads of surfers turn up to see what we were up to, get involved & give real perspectives on what its like to be a part of the Adaptive Surfing Global Family.
The afternoon saw the official Aloha Welcome for competitors & the opportunity to jump in the water for a free surf. This enabled the volunteers to put their newly learnt skills straight into practise & for some of the surfers to get their first taste of Cornish waters! As the sun finally showed itself, we wrapped up day one & headed to Fistral Beach Bar for a refreshing pint of Korev. A true Cornish welcome!
Sunday saw the pace ramp up as surfers arrived for 08.15am check in, first heat set to roll at 9am. There was a definite competitive energy in the air as global rivals prepared to battle each other in the surf for those much sought after titles! The surf may have been small, but the surfers sure made the best of it & back to back heats ran all day long.
The commitment shown by athletes across the weekend was evident as Spike Kane surfed his death or glory ride onto dry sand in front of an ecstatic crowd. An emotionally charged high tide series of finals ended with Charlotte Banfield claiming the hearts of the crowd as she surfed her final wave and took the win of the Women’s Open.
Jaws dropped in awe all over Fistral Beach as perspectives of disability were challenged as the general public witnessed what some would assume impossible. It truly is all about how you can adapt a sport.
Event commentator Martin Reay kept the athletes informed & beach updated on action on Sunday really got to grips with the event & summarises his feelings as “watching these athletes perform makes you reflect on whether the barriers you think are holding you back actually exist at all”.
Surfing England Director Phil Williams who spent the weekend on the beach volunteering with us summarised his experience “the camaraderie, the smiles and the atmosphere amongst the surfers and volunteers made it a very special day. Add to that the incredible skills, bravery and effort put in by competitors made it the most awesome event”.
This truly has been the most phenomenal weekend.
Results are as follow:
1. Charlotte Banfield
2. Melissa Reid
3. October Hamlyn-Wright
4. Darian Haynes
1. Benoit Moreau
2. Pegleg Bennett
3. Spike Kane
4. Miloslav Brzak
Additional Awards as follow:
Most Stoked Surfer: Darian Hayes
Highest Single Wave: Mark Mono Stewart
Best Manoeuvre: Spike Kane
Volunteer of the event: Rob Stewart
Most Inspirational Surfer: Martin Pollock
A huge thank you to The Wave for enabling us to run the event & Surfability UK CIC for leading the training & volunteer team all weekend. A further thank you to the events team, the media team & finally to the incredible surfers who travelled from all over the world to be with us!
Thanks to Fistral Beach for hosting us & Fistral Beach Bar for keeping us entertained in the evenings. Korev for re-hydrating us with a cold beer. Also to The Wave Project & Surfers Against Sewage for joining us & sharing with the wider community your work. Further thanks to Stance who were onsite keeping us cool with ice-creams & perpetuating the stoke with giveaways of the coolest socks around.