Surfers get chance to prepare for Boardmasters
FOLLOWING an extended flat spell the waves returned for a few glorious days last week with crystal-clear glassy sessions to be had up and down the coast.
It made those who managed to snag waves very contented folk and was a real boon for the competitive surfers who got some much-needed water time to train ahead of the second half of the season.
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Boardmasters, one of the biggest events in the surfing calendar, kicked off at Watergate Bay yesterday.
First run in 1981 the event has grown over the years into what is now a five-day behemoth of a surf festival with an epic line-up of music to boot.
The UK's best surfers are in action along with a host of international stars. And there are a number of North Devon riders mixing it across the divisions.
Taz Knight is battling with the big boys in the open division while his sister Peony is joined by Lucy Campbell.
There is sure to be strong representation in the longboard division with a number of Saunton Hotdoggers looking to do well, among them Zak Lawton and Ben Howey.
There is good reason for the groms to get in among it at Boardmasters and get acquainted with the lineup as they will be back there the following week for the final Rip Curl Gromsearch event.
Croyde Surf Club members Garin Clay and Storm Wall are hoping for good showings at both.
One talented pair not making the trip to Newquay are travelling further afield for their next taste of competition.
Alex Gibson and Will Bailey are off to France to see first hand one of the biggest European junior events – the Soöruz Lacanau Pro.
Next year the duo will be competing in the high-intensity Europe Pro Junior Series and this will be a training trip to experience and get a taste of the set-up.
Both riders already have a wealth of international experience but this is the next level. Surfing stars who have won the event in the past include 11-time world champion Kelly Slater.
Fed up with waking early on Sunday mornings expecting to run a surf contest only to find it's flat or unsurfable and having to call the whole thing off, Woolacombe Boardriders contest director Paul Barrington has mobilised the troops and activated plan B.
Having yet to run one of the three Rip Curl Grunta League events this year, Barrington has decided to go on call and stage round one when the next decent waves materialise.
"We've had enough of comps running in poor surf or not running at all so we will be holding the next event in the evening, after work," said Barrington.
"We will make the call three to four days before on our Facebook page."
The intense downpours across North Devon this week saw vast amounts of water flow into the sea and in some areas drainage systems were overwhelmed, leading to raw sewage being released into the water off some of our beaches.
With a free text alert service and app, Surfers Against Sewage provides reports as to where and when pollution is affecting water quality. To find out more visit sas.org.uk