Last Postcard from Panama

Last One Standing.

Tassy Swallow took on some ferocious waves friday, and by the time the hooter had sounded for the end of the final heat, she was the last British surfer left in the contest.

One by one our boys and girls fell to the power of the ocean. Peony and Lucy were in first with Ellen to follow, and they were greeted by the sight of low tide, top to bottom closeouts when they pulled up the comp site for a dawn warm-up. It didn’t look like much fun to be honest, and the coaching team opted for a “coaching from the beach” session (Café con Leche in the beach bar) whilst watching the girls get pounded).

Conditions didn’t improve for the early heats and one by one the girls were defeated. Only Tassy was unfazed: she dropped into a couple of bombs and made the next round- then did it again in the afternoon.

In between the early Losses and Tassy’s last ditch success, Harry, Max, Will, Miles and, finally, Luke, also bowed out. No-one gave up- despite tough competition; all five surfers could have made the scores they needed- but the ridable waves were hard to pick between the long period closeout sets that rolled through relentlessly all day. Swells like this are crying out for a point break to shape and channel them- but a horseshoe bay like Venao closes out spectacularly at this sort of size and only the main peaks on podium one were consistently showing good shape.

So to Saturday and Tass was the last one in. We pitched up with flags and banners, but the odds were against and despite putting in a good heat, Tass was knocked out. So ended the 2012 SGB challenge in the world championships- looks like we’ll end up about 14th out of 31 participating countries- about where we were last year (11th out of 27). Not a spectacular result, but this is a young team with many new faces and much potential, and the experience will stand them in good stead for the future.

Given where we were 6 months ago, with the NGB in a state of collapse and no plans for a selection, training and fundraising process, it has to be considered a success just to have brought a team at all. British surfing has been represented on the world stage and just by waving the flag and battling it out in tough heats, the kids have made a statement of intent and done their country proud.

Our goal in 2012-2013 will be to build on the momentum this event has generated and ensure that there is a solid future for the NGB. In that way we can tap into the funding streams required to raise standards across the board- so that opportunities for young people are extended, and quality of coaching is improved.

For now it remains to thank all those who have supported the British Juniors in their 2012 campaign: especially sponsors Calypso who stuck by the NGB through difficult times this winter. We are grateful also to Breo, Offsure Surf, Robies, Surfdome. And of course to all those who volunteered their time and energy to help with selections, coaching, fundraising- and to all supporters who have buoyed the juniors’ spirits throughout the campaign.

The juniors fly home on Tuesday- for now, we are exploring some of the other surf breaks around the Azuero peninsular which are not crowded with international competitors- and today, Sunday, we will be watching, and learning from, the finalsists!

Empty Lineup, somewhere in Panama- post contest bonus for the GB Juniors.

Luke Dillon paddling. Taz Knight caught inside.

Max & Harry


Miles “I don’t like Tuna” Hargreaves.


Paddy above, Will below.

Lucy coping with the closeouts

Thanks to all our lovely supporters who’ve made the GB junior teams participation at the championships possible.




  1. Thank you for all your great reports from Panama. For those of us watching this side of the pond it has been great to follow our young and very talented juniors on this amazing experience.

  2. great postcards , and some special moments from the webcast , peony scoring a combo of 9 plus in her first ever worlds heat , max payne mention of a pricless bottom turn, luke charging in round 2 , and finally paddy d busted chatting up the hot aussies live on the webcam priceless !!!!!well done to all especially matt knight for making it happen

  3. Congratulations to the GB Junior Surfing team from all at Claypso Soft Drinks for putting up a great performance at the World Junior Games 2012. You did us all proud! There are a lot of youth coming through and this experience can only help at future events. Thanks for all the updates.It was great to monitor the progression of each individual through the heats.

  4. Its been undoubtably the best contact ever during the competitions and thank you a million times!! Being here as a parent was very stressful and I’m sure I’ve aged 10 years but your humour and news on these contacts have helped enormously – a massive well done to Matt, LLoyd and Jo, and to all at SGB for making it happen!!! Also to all Miles’ Sponsors, Billabong, Adams Surfboards, Sanuk, and Nutrichef, a big thank you for helping to get him there to take part. xxx

  5. It has been great following you all on the web streaming. A few late nights, but it has been worth while.

    Congratulations to you all.

    Hope to see you in the surf at Southbourne On Sea.

    Best wishes,

    Philip Sponge Younger
    Southbourne Surf Life Saving

  6. loving the webby, facebooky, newsy updates, keep it coming, t x

  7. What an improvement! It has been great to follow the comp via the web.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *