The 19th running of the ‘Jesus Surf Classic’ was held over the weekend of 10th and 11th September in some testing conditions, but the whole weekend was completed in a great atmosphere with some quality surf at Putsborough on the Sunday. Croyde bay once again was the base for this long running and very successful event organised by Christian Surfers UK. Despite there being two others key surf events taking place this weekend, the organisers of the ‘Jesus’ were really pleased with just under 100 places.
The ‘Jesus’ Surf Series due to its increasing popularity was split again this year between the traditional event at Croyde, and the Jesus Longboard Classic to be held at Polzeath over the weekend of October 15th and 16thth. Due to the popularity of last year’s initial U12 ( Grom ) division, this was continued for 2011, to encourage the development of the sport at this young age.
Conditions for the eight categories started off on Saturday morning with a stiff onshore wind and sets of around 2ft – 3ft, with showers and a few bright spells. However as predicted the swell from ex Hurricane Katia grew considerably, so twin peaks were run throughout the day. The beach based officials did a fantastic job. By 4.30pm the surf was now in the 6ft-8ft range with heavy onshores, and the sun began to shine. After completing 38 heats !! it was therefore decided to hold off the semi and finals of the Men’s Open, and Junior ( U18’s ) until the Sunday morning.
The presentations of the six completed categories were held in the shelter of the large marquee just as the heavens opened. Nick Williams ( Voice of the UK Pro Tour ) also shared his amazing story of surviving a shark attack in South Africa just two days after he got married. A truly miraculous story.
Sadly this year for the first time in a number of years the skate park was not able to be built due to the rainy conditions, so the marquee with its ‘indoor deckchair cinema’ became the centre of attention. That and the numerous food options, and the free sports physio, kept everyone fed and watered. Sunday at Croyde dawned with even stronger winds, and large storm surf, so the contest as predicted was moved to the more sheltered option of Putsborough ( Thanks to Rob Tucker for permission ). The remaining six heats were greeted with 5-6ft clean waves with very few out, and the remainder of the event was wrapped up in great conditions, with some solid surfing from all involved, both UK based and travelling Aussies.
As far as the results are concerned, a special mention should go to Stanley Norman ( AGED 8 ) who placed 4th in both the U12’s and U14’s. The final of the U12’s was hotly contested with South Wales Cieran Hughes taking the winners cash and trophy. North Devon’s Storm Wall, and Gavin Clay came 2nd and 3rd, with Stanley Norman from Bude taking 4th. North Devon’s Alex Gibson, took his 1st U14 title, in a tight final, defeating Georgeham’s Will Bailey and Tyler Roger from South Wales, with Stanley again coming 4th.
In the Junior Women’s division ( Under 18 ) there was a familiar name on the trophy with Looe’s Gabi Rowe celebrating retaining the trophy, ahead of Laura Crane from Braunton who once again surfed well to take 2nd ahead of Lucy Campbell and 13 year old Flora Lawton.
In the U16’s ( Cadets division ) a stoked Taz Knight was able to take his 1st Jesus Surf Classic title, ahead of last year’s winner from Hayle, Patrick Daniel, Bude’s Jobe Harriss, and Alex Gibson.
The women’s final saw an excellent contest in tough large conditions with Laura Crane taking her 1st win, cheque and trophy, ahead of Woolacombe’s Lucy Campbell . Gabi Rowe was third, with Flora Lawton doing really well to get 4th.
The Masters ( Over 35’s ) event this year was probably the most hotly contest since its inclusion eight years ago, with two quality semi-finals and a very entertaining final. Newquay’s Roger Knight after a 3 year absence came back strongly to win, beating locals Charley Charlesworth, and Paul Ashton. Bude surfer Paul Kirby had a tough paddle, and came 4th.
On the Sunday, in the hotly contested Men’s Junior (U18 ) category final, Jobe Harriss surfed really well to hold off Croyde based Beau Bromham , Dale Foster was 3rd and Ben Bennett 4th.
The final heat of the event saw a great final in clean large conditions between four top class surfers in the Open Final. Jobe Harriss, on fire on the day took his 1st Jesus Surf Classic trophy and £300, ahead of last year’s winner Stu Campbell. Croyde lifeguard Jordan Reed reached his 1st JSC open final coming 3rd, and ex WQS travelling surfer Eden Hage who had surfed so well up until the final took 4th. As well as the trophies and cheques for the winners, all competitors were given a Walking on Water DVD and copy of the Surfers Bible.
Phil Williams ( Contest Director ) thanked God for an amazing, weekend of waves, sunshine, rain and a great atmosphere between all the competitors and helpers. The Jesus Surf Series now moves to Polzeath beach over the weekend of October 15th and 16th, download your entry form shortly from www.christiansurfers.co.uk
Christian Surfers UK would like to thank in particular all the Christian Surfer volunteers, Parkdene Holidays, the RNLI, St John Ambulance, the surfers of Croyde for sharing the waves during the weekend, and God for providing waves and keeping everyone safe.
Photo: Jobe Harriss. Credit: Pip Dean