Women’s Champ Emily Currie. Photos: BLU / Farscapes
Arthur Randall in the Under 16s.
Women’s Open finalists.
Single Fin and Open Men’s winner Ben Skinner
Men’s Open finalists.
17 September 19
Looking at the opening conditions on the morning of The Re-Re-Scheduled Saunton Longboard Classic 2019, it was definitely a case of third time lucky. Following a couple of aborted starts due to lack of swell earlier in the year, the BLU finally lucked into some ideal longboarding waves at their spiritual North Devon home. Groomed 1-2ft peelers with the occasional bigger set rolled into a sun-filled bay and, apart from the inevitable slowdown at towards low tide, it pretty much stayed that way for the entire event. With the swell forecast to drop for the following day, the decision was made to push on through and race the sun to the horizon.
Every division experienced the highs and lows of the conditions (literally) with heats and semi’s either side of low tide and the last couple of finals towards high tide suffering the most. The scores didn’t seem to be affected though, with some big heat totals posted by Ben Skinner, Sam Bleakley and Jack Unsworth in the Men’s Open and Single Fin, Emily Currie, Claire Smail and Beth Leighfield in the Women’s Open and Adam Zervas in the Grand Masters. Now that Bleakers is eligible and seemingly keen to surf in the Masters it might make thing very interesting for current champion Jason Gray, who was missing in action at Saunton.
It was great to see that with the impending promotion of Jordan ‘Uber Unit’ Zervas from the U18s there still seems to be cause for celebration at the talent in the junior divisions. In the U16 Cadets Arthur ‘The Untameable Beast’ Randell went to town, took out a fine win and very narrowly missed out on a huge win in the U18 Juniors. Having surfed in every division open to him (including at one point I swear the Grand Masters, in a fake beard) Arthur also pulled a cheeky but much deserved appearance in the Single Fin final at the expense of several very good and experienced surfers. One to watch.
The U18 Girls saw an excellent back and forth battle between Stella Briggs and Annie Carroll-Young that eventually saw Stella coming out on top. It also saw the contest debut of Lola Bleakley, who at a ridiculously young age already has the makings of a very stylish surfer. She also went toe-to-toe with the boys in the U16s and did herself proud. Great start to what could be a long and illustrious contest career.
Dad Sam took out the Masters division, and surfed about as many heats over the day as Arthur Randell. Not bad considering the almost incalculably massive age gap ;) With Adam Zervas squeezing every ounce of power out of the swell and taking the win in the Grand Masters final to match son Jordan in the U18 Juniors, it looks like there could be more space needed in the family trophy cabinet before the end of the year.
With the salt washed off, hair combed (or heads polished) and shoes on feet, the presentation was hosted by long-time sponsors and BLU favourites The Thatch, Croyde / Billy Budds. The addition of an excellent Sri Lankan curry more than filled the time before we got proceedings underway, and with bellies full and trophies and prizes awarded the first stop on the 2109 tour was finally put to bed.
Massive thanks to all of our sponsors – The Thatch Croyde, Ocean and Earth, O’Neill Europe, Board Barn, Saunton Break Café and Old Guys Rule– for once again making it possible to keep the BLU moving forward into its 24th year - surely making it one of the longest running longboard events in the cosmos? Your kind patronage of the BLU ensures that we keep getting longboarders, young and old, to meet, compete and eat.
Huge thanks also to the judges and event staff for their tireless efforts, and to the competitors themselves for showing us all just what talent the British longboard scene has to offer.
Roll on The Stable, Fistral Longboard Classic 2019 NEXT WEEKEND!
- REPORT: RICHARD DAVIES – BLU / FARSCAPES LTD
1 Ben Skinner. 2 Sam Bleakley. 3 Arran Bright. 4 Evan Rogers
1 Emily Currie. 2 Claire Smail. 3 Beth Leighfield. 4 Annie Carroll-Young
1 Ben Skinner. 2 Jack Unsworth. 3 Arthur Randell. 4 Sam Bleakley
1 Sam Bleakley. 2 Adam Chell. 3 Nick Watt. 4 Colin Bright
1 Adam Zervas. 2 Rich Unsworth. 3 Ben keay. 4 Keano Keenan
1 Arthur Randell. 2 Ted Pearson. 3 Blake Jones. 4 Lola Bleakley
1 Stella Briggs. 2 Annie Carroll-Young. 3 Lola Bleakley. 4 Lilly Wright (DNS)
1 Jordan Zervas. 2 Arthur Randell. 3 Blake Jones. 4 Matt Mitchell