After a fair amount ‘umming and ‘arrring and due to yours truly smashing up my gammy ankle the previous week, Sarah and I postponed our loose idea of an autumnal trip to warmer climes, and with Jet ski in tow, headed across the bridge to the BKSA Wavemasters in Cornwall. Dicky Gowers had called us a few weeks previous and asked to borrow it for safety cover. I said fine, as long as I didn't have to sit on it all week.
We arrived at our luxury static accommodation at the St Ives Bay Caravan park. It turned out to be a very topical place to be with the Dale Farm eviction going on. Still, after a little modification it was very comfortable, and after burning most of the North Sea gas reserves, it was also fairly warm. Sound proof it wasn’t. We were sharing with friends Neil and Lisa for the week, who became even more familiar by the end of the stay.
|Biggies at Godrevy|
Day one greeted us with bright sunshine and humungous surf . The view from the floral cushioned Horizon Contessa was pretty spectacular down towards Godrevy. Mr Vento hadn’t arrived yet, but he was scheduled to turn up before lunchtime. After the rider meeting at the Café, unsurprisingly the Girlies were on first as the wind filled in. It filled in faster than expected, and as Pro Kiteb*tch for the better half I pumped up 6, 7 and 9m PD4 kites whilst her ladyship literally crapped her way through the pre match nerves. Unfortunately disaster struck, and the council had decided not to unlock the gates to the track to Godrevy meaning the man left in charge (BKSA Vice Chairman, and all round nice guy, Pete Shaw) had to make some frantic phone calls to get the key. The competition couldn’t start until the Ski was on the beach. After an hour the gate then got opened, only for Jetski man Phil to find the access road to the beach had a chuffing great big sand dune across it.
|Grinning like a winner|
After all this unfortunate messing around the 11am start had turned into more of a 1.30pm start. Good conditions were being missed and it was quite frustrating. Anyway, the ladies eventually got off to a good start, with head high plus conditions with about 25-30 knots slightly side off. Sarah’s first heat was against good friend of ours and local pocket rocket wave slayer Debbie Kennedy. Sarah didn’t ride that well, and came in a bit peeved, but made it into the next round where she was against another friend of ours, Welsh lovely Sarah Eager of Blast Kiteboarding and a plucky young Scottish lady called Sammy Wiseman. Suddenly Sarah seemed to click with the conditions, and in the relatively short 7 minute heats she scored three nice long waves with some powerful turns. This got her into the next round against Steph Bridge. For those of you not in the know, Steph is 3 x World course racing champion, and just got a 3rd place at the KSP tour (the international wave event). A formidable opponent to say the least. Sarah thought she was done for , but was pleased with her performance in her last heat and went into it quite relaxed, changing down to a 6m. She got three good waves with some nice slashy turns in the pocket, and cruised in not expecting to win. She was oblivious to the fact that Steph hadn’t had a great heat.
|Cheeky session at Marazion on the way home|
So much to her surprise, she had progressed to the final against Debbie. At this point she said to me she didn’t really mind who won, and again went in extremely relaxed. She worked her way out back, and took two or three quite large waves with her usual smooth style, made one very committed top turn and took a big one right on the head! She cruised in casual as a cucumber.
So after a rocky start, she won it. British Champion 2011! The key point being is that she relaxed, didn’t think about the other competitors and results and just rode.
The rest of the week was spent getting through the men’s heats which in the end ran in very small conditions. Light 1-2ft and almost bolt onshore. It was still a good display of riding, specially the strapless guys with the top five all at a ridiculous level. The great conditions from the first day didn’t really reappear. A jam session was held later in the week in some light but nice clean side off conditions (Sarah came second in this). This was a good laugh, and much less serious with twenty minute heats and three or four riders out at a time in quite technical conditions.
There has been a lot of feedback from various sides on how this event should be run in the future. I think this is a very positive thing, as the people involved are a really good group, and we have some very high level riders in the UK. It should be a showcase of talent, and definitely deserves more media coverage, sponsorship and more hands on deck to help coordinate. There has also been talk of making it a series, or running more of a jam format which takes the pressure off, and maximises time on the water. It will be interesting to see what happens. A huge thanks to Pete, Phil, Josh, Tessy and flag girl Lisa for soldiering away all week in chilly conditions.
Lastly the British Wavemasters was won by two South Africans, with both Sarah and Richie Sills hailing from the land of Springbok. Trevor Hale won the seniors though, and I think he’s from Devizes (Wiltshire’s hidden gem) so well done Trevor for keeping the British end up.
The top three women were also all on 5 line kites. Funny old world isn't it?