Its taken me a full three days to get over last weekend, which is why this report is coming in somewhat late.
Last weekend saw the British Interclubs Championships take place at Woolacombe beach in surprisingly contestable 3-4 ft cleanish waves. Due to be held over the Saturday and Sunday the call was made to run straight through on the Saturday, running two peaks so we could make the most of the ripable conditions. There were entries from six of the UK’s finest homegrown surf clubs, with Croyde, Westward Ho, Woolacombe, Truro, Boscombe, and the Isle of Wight turning up to do battle to gain the glory and respect of the nation.
With thanks to the boys from Croyde we had managed to set up a pretty tasty contest area (albeit running a little late) and the first heats hit the water. The teams were split over varied divisions including Open, Junior, Ladies, and Masters (over 35) and immediately set about the dumpy waves.
Westward Ho were last years Open winners with Croyde taking the overall title. Woolacombe have always been the bridesmaids and never the bride in this contests long history and were looking to improve on their position of second from the previous years.
Battle commenced straight away and Croyde took an early defeat with a fourth by top local surfer Matt Jenkins, Woolacombe started strong as did The Ho, but things became tense as the contest unfolded. All the top teams were getting wins and also getting lasts and as the day drew on it was anybody’s contest going into the end of day super heat. The super heat was to see the top surfer selected by each club to do battle in a six man surf off. 1st place would recieve 10 points 2nd 8 points and so on.
As the heat started Croyde were currently in the driving seat but due to several of their top surfers being in the pub it was left to Beau “Hollywood” Bromham to steer them to victory. Jordan Reed from The Ho was also surfing and he could also bring victory to his crew. Woolacombe had their hopes pinned on British Champ Stuart Campbell to bring home the gravy as nothing but a win would do.
It was a close final and indications were that Stuart had done enough, but if Beau had got second then it would have been a draw for first.
The crowd that was cheering on their surfers from the point knew it was close and it was all back to Bar Electric for free Beers and food to find out the results.
I’ve never seen the bar so rammed, all that is good about club surfing was there in that room.
Eventually breaking their twenty five year jinx, Woolacombe finished off their, already, best year ever with a fantastic win just pipping Croyde out of the lime light. Westward Ho rolled into third and it was a three way tie for fourth.
The crowd went apeshit as the mighty Boardriders held aloft the trophy after winning the Open, Masters, and Overall titles.
Prizes were distributed from the sponsors, Hurley, Eyeball, Carve, and Bar electric and many beers were consumed.
This contest wouldn’t have been possible unless for the commitment of a select few that have the drive and determination to push British and Club surfing forward in this country. Grass roots surfing is the most important part of our sport in this country and North Devon could stand alone in being the fore runners in this area.
A massive thank you again to everyone that helped, judging, beach marshaling and running for coffees and to Dwards from Beachcomber for supplying the refreshments. Also a huge thank you to Alan from Parkin Estates to allow us to run the contest at such short notice.
The final Grunta league contest will be on Saturday the 26th of November before the end of year party and fundraiser. Check in at 8.30am at the beach comber cafe and if you haven’t got your tickets for the party they are on sale now at the Red Barn.
Once again thank you to all Woolacombe surfers for rallying around and making us the finest club in the country (as if we didn’t already know!!)
Photos (c) Rob Tibbles