Archive for September, 2010
They say Brighton rocks. They should try Bournemouth.
The surfboat circus swung into town last Saturday for the fifth and final round of the Shyman/Shygirl Summer Series. Unbelievably, the crews were greeted by a 2-3′ off-shore wave. It was hugely inconsistent, often with 15 minutes between sets, but waves is waves and this was far better than anyone had seen here before for a competition.
For the first part of the event the boats had to be launched down a steep sandbank and it meant the simple act of jumping in was bloody precarious. The poor bowman had the gunnel over his head while the sweep still had his feet dry. Those who still haven’t drunk Biarritz from their memories may have suffered a moment of deja vu albeit conditions weren’t quite that demanding. Happily, as the tide dropped back, things became much easier.
Eleven mens crews turned up including two from Bryanston school and the Mongrels of Amsterdam. The men from Bryanston were right up for it and excelled themselves in scoring a heat win over Llantwit that gave them the last berth in the golden nugget final. For a scratch crew having their first outing in surf that was exceptional.
Blue Bali, as ever, were the crew to beat and remain a class (or two) apart. They didn’t need to win but still did and head off to NZ as clearly the best crew in Europe. We wish them well.
As for the Ladies, the Bude Runners had a commanding lead and although Pure Blue pushed them hard (taking one heat win) the final and the title were theirs. Bude have had a fantastic season, winning everything on offer. After several seasons of medals but no gold this was their year. Congrats to you Ladies you deserved your success – it couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch.
Of course, Bournemouth isn’t just about racing. It also has a tradition for putting on a helluva party and this year didn’t disappoint. Kate (The Hostess) Roberts had pulled some strings with a local hostelry and 30ish rowers waltzed past a queue straight to the VIP lounge to down napalm or agent orange or whatever it was in the shot glasses. Other than a couple of stretch limo’s and some bags of blow there wasn’t much more that anyone could have wished for.
The night went on late and lapsed into the surreal for me when I had to ask a Cyberman the way to the pier (and home) on the long walk back.
A cracking night, a cracking season. Thank God it’s all over. I can’t wait until it starts all over again.
PS For those in need of one more end of season bash, Dan Berriman’s band will be rocking The Watering Hole in Perranporth on Thursday 14 October. You have been warned.
I produced about 70 calendars for people last year. Is there any interest in doing something similar this year?
I’ve taken loads more photos so will probably be able to make up individual calendars for clubs this year. I hope I have enough for both Porthtowan boats, both Perran, both Bude, Croyde, Llantwit and maybe Bournemouth.
This is a fund raiser for UKSRL so how about I do it at cost plus £50 per club with a minimum order of 5 calendars/club. In other words, if you order 5 calendars it will be at cost plus £10 each. All monies to UKSRL.
If you are interested please work out which photos you want. They are all up on the site. May be some extras after Bournemouth!
If this doesn’t work, let me have other ideas.
Biarritz it wasn’t but Saturday was still the best conditions for a UK surfboat event for many seasons: 3-4′ of consistent swell, blue skies, temp verging on warm. You could be forgiven for thinking ours is a summer sport. The only shame of it was that after the numbers who turned up for the Open it was just the same old regulars for Round 4 of UKSRL. Hey ho, your loss guys.
Round One of the Mens got underway at dead low tide and there was immediate controversy. Louise Gapp, who had risen from her (near) death bed to officiate agreed to act as starter. She blew the whistle and next to no sound came out. She dropped her hand and everyone jumped in. Except the half of the Llantwit crew who had no idea they’d missed the off. Half the crew jumped in, half followed and Mike Lord was dragged around the bay trying to sort out the chaos.
Fair to say, the Llantwit boys had gaskets straining when they returned to the beach. Diplomatic negotiations led to their scratching from the first heat and admission into heat two, which they promptly won. Long may it continue that we can sort things out with a chat on the beach rather than get hung up on the wording of the rule book.
The Men’s heats were never less than competitive. European Champs, Blue Bali, won all theirs – no surprise – but there were also wins for the Barrs, Llantwit and Perranporth in the closest finish to a heat of the day. Great stuff.
The Ladies also saw their fair share of thrills and spills. The Runners who had added the European title to their Open triumph, suffered a defeat at the hands of Pure Blue but the real drama was reserved for Round three. As the ladies rowed off the beach the biggest set of the day rolled through. Bude and Perran scratched over it. Bournemouth, who gutsed it out all day, took a small back-shoot and learned to check the stickability of the bottom half of their bikinis. Pure Blue took a big hit and lost sweep Gary Walters overboard in the process. Check out the images of the day and see inexhaustible Kim-Marie stood up, bending her oar double and absolutely refusing to allow the boat go backwards. Hardcore.
In the final Blue Bali touched out the Barrs in a good race while Bude won yet another golden nugget.
So it’s off to Bournemouth for the end of season bash. Bring your drinking caps and aspirin. Bring fancy dress and good humour. Don’t let someone’s balloon go (Crush) in the nightclub or go to the gent’s toilet (Emma) unless you have dangly bits. If you want to skinny dip (Alex +++) make sure it’s out of range of the CCTV on the pier.
Latest indications are we’re going to be joined by lots of flatties. Let’s nuke ‘em on the water then explain why a boat without surf is like having a memory of the 60s – rather missing the point.
Till then, pull hard.
Thanks to Rob and Shelley Hardwick for the help given taking photos – much appreciated guys.