Surfaced Pro and Night Surf round-up
It’s not often on the UK tour that you see two events running simultaneously over the same weekend, as a matter of fact this was probably the first time that this ever happened.
The Surfaced Pro has been put off a couple of times in the past month now with the waves just not delivering, and the new date clashed with the much awaited Night Surf. Instead of postponing once more, the organization decided to take advantage of this little pulse in swell to run both events simultaneously.
“How does this work?” we hear you say. Well the Night Surf, as the name implies, runs at night, or say the evening (from 6pm onwards), which allows for both events to run one after the other all weekend. As you can imagine this means non-stop surfing for all competitors involved. As fun as it sounds, it’s also a tiring exercise, and a real test of endurance even for the best of them.
To add to the drama, the UK Pro Surf Association brought in two brand new features to these events. First one is equal prize money for men and women. It's been a heated debate for a long time on the international scene (and in any sports), and the UKPSA organisation decided they'd be the first to introduce it, here in the UK, with the aim of boosting the development of British female surfing for the years to come. More competitiveness, more ambition, more motivation. Makes sense to us, and we're stoked to see this finally in place.
The second feature was introduced for the Surfaced Pro at Watergate Bay, and involves a change in the judging format. Instead of having their two best waves scored out of 10 for out-of-20 total, surfers had their best wave doubled and tallied alongside their second best wave, giving them a out-of-30 total.
For example in the normal judging format, a surfer who scores two 5 point rides would win over someone who scores a 7 point ride and a 2 point ride (5 + 5 = 10 > 2 + 7 = 9). In the new format however, the surfer with the 7 point ride would be rewarded for his efforts and take the win (2 + (7 x 2) = 16 > 5 + (5 x 2) = 15). The idea here is to emphasize high quality surfing and reward surfers more for producing waves in the excellent range.
Little ones first as Sam Hearn, our current U12 English champion, performed once more. He snatched 1st place in the U12 Surfaced Pro and also smashed the older generation with a 2nd place finish in the U14, behind the up-and-coming star Stanley Norman.
Our female riders smashed it too with both Georgie and Ellie securing podium finishes in both events, and making the most of their team mate Lucy Campbell being out in Australia to rack up the points and climb up the ranks.
In the Night Surf it was Georgie who secured one of her best results yet with a 2nd place in the Womens Open behind QS competitor Keysha Eyre.
“Having two competitions in one weekend was pretty hectic but super fun. I’d say the Night Surf was my favourite event as it's held in the evening, and surfing in the dark is sick!”
(On the new judging format from the Surfaced Pro) “I think it's a good idea and works out quite well, from one of my heats I got a total of 18.77. Also having equal prize money is definitely encouraging and it's a step in the right direction for British female surfing.”
Ellie, who came close behind Georgie (3rd) in the Night Surf, got her revenge the following day as she took advantage of the new judging format to secure the top spot in both U18 and Open women’s categories.
The Men’s Open saw some great performances from the usual faces of British surfing, notably Oli Adams, Johnny Fryer and Alan Stokes, who narrowly missed out on two final appearances at both events.
“I had a great start to the Night Surf event with a really rip-able low tide 3ft clean swell. It was great fun and nice to surf some high performance waves in a comp. Unfortunately the swell deteriorated to about 1-2ft as day became night, so back to the usual contest waves. A slow heat update from the judges left me with no game plan after leading until the last few minutes. Needless to say a disappointing way to loose.”
“Similar conditions on offer at the Surfaced Pro, but the swell did build slightly towards the end of the comp. All was going well but unfortunately I suffered a questionable interference in the semis and finished with another 5th place finish. Looking forward to Boardmasters now!”
Keep your chin up Stokesy, Boardmasters is just around the corner!
Another highlight from this weekend was the Ash brothers’ domination, Reubyn continuing his run from the English Nationals and taking out the Night Surf on Saturday, and big brother Joss returning to top form with two final finishes after a few years outside the final quartet.
The most exciting part from this weekend had to be witnessing the growing rivalry between Luke Dillon and Animal rider Jobe Harriss, unfolding. Both with final finishes this weekend, the pair were fighting for points in every heat, in an attempt to secure the weekend’s overall award. Here's what Jobe had to say.
Holding a surf contest proved incredibly difficult for the contest organizers who were trying to cram so many heats into a weekend where the waves were barely rideable at times. Hats off to the UK Pro Tour for pulling it off, even if it did mean the last few heats entering the water at midnight, they got the job done.
Personally, I was kind of pleased to see some smaller waves (maybe not to the extremes we had) as I currently have a really good small wave board which I feel really dialed into. At the end of the day, everyone is in the same boat, you could argue luck played a slightly bigger part than normal at time, but most of the time the guys that were most on form made the heats.
Overall I was really pleased with my performance. It's been a long time since I've felt really confident and in tune with my equipment and it made such a difference this weekend. My fitness and preparation also felt like it played a massive part in the heats I surfed. It was a marathon weekend with little sleep and a lot of heats and so trying to keep on top of your game was tricky.
Despite a strong start leading the Night Surf final, Jobe Harriss suffered an interference decision that sent him back to 3rd place behind Reubyn Ash (1st) and Luke Dillon (2nd). Under pressure to perform, Jobe seized his opportunity on Sunday and smashed the Surfaced Pro final, earning him not only the event win, but also the weekend’s overall performance award.
Highlight of the weekend would definitely be winning the Surfaced Pro. In Night Surf final I suffered what I felt was perhaps a questionable interference, which cost me second place, or maybe even the win! That interference certainly got me riled up and I felt like I had something to prove on the next day.
Well done Jobe, keep it coming!
All photos by Jason Feast Photography.