When we got the running order for day three’s competition yesterday evening, it was clear that today was going to be ‘D’ day for team GB. Every member of the team was scheduled to surf, and with everyone other than the girls all competing in the repercharge rounds, day three of competition was either going to make or break us. There would be no more second chances for the boys and everyone would have to step up to the plate and perform.
Day 3 Highlights
For the first two days of the event there have always been team members who have had lay days, making the management of heats on the beach relatively simple. All the heats have been the same duration, regardless of which podium they have taken place on. Today would be a completely different story. There would be 20 minute progression round heats and 15 minute repercharge heats running on both contest peaks through the day. This not only made keeping track of the timings harder, but it was also inevitable that we would have more team members competing on both podiums at the same time, than we have for the first two days of competition.
Having worked with Lloyd Cole over the last two years of training our junior surfers, there has never been any doubt that he is an incredible coach. However, seeing him in action at this event has been absolutely incredible. The inspiration and confidence that the kids get from having him constantly guide them through their heats is remarkable. Their trust in him is implicit and just knowing he is on the waters edge and watching their heat instantly makes them more relaxed. In moments of uncertainty, the way Lloyd can orchestrate them and take control really is something special to witness. The only problem we faced today with the running order that we had, is that unfortunately, Lloyd could only be in one place at a time.
The temperature on the beach for yesterday’s action was relatively cool due to the cloud cover and drizzle. Today the sun decided to come to the party from the start of the first heat. As the temperature increased throughout the day, so did the intensity of the action. The day didn’t commence in the manner that we would have liked. All three of our girls competing in round two of the main draw got eliminated in quick succession surfing on the main peak, while being broadcast on the live webcast. It was so frustrating that the world didn’t get to see how brilliantly the girls performed yesterday when they were competing on podium two. We had all hoped for a repeat of yesterday’s standard so that everyone back home could witness our talented group of female surfers, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.
Paddy Daniel: Bowing out in style
After the elimination of all the girls from the main draw and the unfortunate loss of our legendary vice captain Paddy Daniel, its fair to say things were not going according to plan. There was an obvious depression starting to spread through the team and the only thing that would ebb its flow would be for someone to make a heat and give the team a moral boost. In football, it is often said that the most important time to score a goal is just before half time. The confidence a team can get from gaining momentum at this time often helps them develop in the second half. If ever we needed such a boost, now was the time, and our goal came from Taz Knight and Will Davey, who both went through their tough heats in the under 18 repercharge round.
Taz Knight sliding
As the team came out for the second half, it was down to the under 16 boys to show the world what Team GB were made of. Rhys Barfield quickly got us off to a flying start. The tide came in further, the conditions started to favour our surfers a lot more, and all of a sudden the mood changed. A sense of belief started to spread through the team and when Angus Scotney paddled out for his heat, there was a definite belief within everyone that there was no way he was going to loose. Once Angus had smashed a goal into the top corner and the team ran down to celebrate on the waters edge, you could almost feel that there was no way Harry De Roth was going to loose in the last heat of the Under 16 division.
The rest of the team had now taken position in the large spectator stand in front of the main peak. Cheering, clapping and waving flags to get behind Harry, he never looked in trouble. He controlled the heat from the start and put on an extremely polished performance to win his heat and send the rest of the team into a frenzy up in the grandstand. A heat win on the main podium earns you a live interview on the webcast, and as Harry patiently waited with the media presenter from the ISA to have his moment of glory, he was told that the camera man had gone to film something else and they wouldn’t be able to conduct the interview.
Flora Lawton killing it #amazing
The clock was now ticking into injury time, and Flora Lawton was the last heat in the water on Podium two. The team was suffering from exhaustion after spending the longest, hardest and most emotional day on the beach in the scorching sun. The anxiety felt by the supporters with each wave that was ridden in Flora’s heat was like watching a penalty shoot out in the European cup final. The opposition were successful with their first couple of waves, but then Flora placed the ball on the penalty spot, took a step back, and when a set rolled through the lineup, she blasted the ball into the top corner to score the highest heat score of the day. With Head Coach Lloyd Cole Watching from the beach like Rafael Benitez, I couldn’t help on the drive home but compare Team GB’s half time comeback to Liverpool’s European cup final victory in Istanbul.
I think I must have had way too much sun. Or maybe as a Liverpool fan I am just not used to watching winners recently, but after being on the beach with the team today, I really do believe that we have much more to offer in this huge competition.
I’m off to put on some after sun.
Over and Out…..