On Wednesday evening the ISA held their Aloha beach party at Rancho Santana. The event is a real celebration of the competition, and gives all the nations the chance to come together in a more informal environment than the pressure cooker of the contest site. With live music, a beach fire and over 30 different nations in attendance, the party really celebrates the spirit of what the ISA are all about.
Surfing’s answer to burning man
As a result of being the last man standing within the GB team, Harry De Roth was forced to stay behind at camp to get an early night and focus on the task in hand for the biggest heat of his life the following day. Never one to turn his back on a party, Head Coach Lloyd Cole volunteered his services to drive the rest of the team to the fiesta. At breakfast the next morning, it seemed the event was a great success. Hearing all the stories and looking through the photos on the ISA event website, it seemed Taz Knight showed the rest of the world how to dominate on the dance floor with some dance moves that Bez from the Happy Mondays would have been proud of.
Enjoying a slightly later start to the day, the team didn’t need to load up the mini bus and head to the contest until 9am. The whole team was excited to get behind our last hope for success in the event. Harry has been an extremely popular team member within the camp. Always keen to put himself forward for extra responsibilities for the good of the team, it was no surprise that everyone wanted to put on their team kit, find as many Union Jack flags as we could and make a big effort to make our presence felt at the beach in support of Harry.
On arrival at the contest site, the team took position in the large grandstand in front of the main contest peak. Giving Harry as much space as possible so he could find his head space and prepare for the heat, the team enjoyed watching the incredible action out in the water. The standard of surfing at this stage of the world games is truly breathtaking. Competitors were getting spat out of barrels, linking huge vertical fin release re-entry’s and completing full rotation air reverses with ease. The standard of surfing from the top seeds really isn’t that far behind what you would expect to see on the WCT.
In Harry’s heat was Jake Davies from the USA, Nomme Mignot from France and Korbin Hutchins from New Zealand. It was a hugely stacked heat, but with the rest of the team going crazy on the beach and Harry in great form, we were all hoping our boy could pull off a huge upset over some of the events top seeds. As the heat got underway, the early exchanges were between Jake Davies and Nomme Mignot, scoring a 6.33 and a 6.55 respectively. Korbin then opened up his account with a 3.17 leaving Harry in the lineup searching for his first ride. Calming down his nerves, Harry found himself a quick in and out, but would need to secure one of the sets to be able to compete with the other competitors.
Jake Davies found a back up score of 4.33 to go with his 6.33 and Nomme Mignot also locked in his two wave combination with a 4.73 to go with his 6.55. With the short 15-minute heat running down, it was now do or die time for Harry. A set came through; he paddled hard, grabbed his rail and pulled into a backhand barrel, but was unable to find an exit. On his paddle back out he then found an inside right. Pumping for speed and then hitting the end section to take to the air, Harry was unlucky to not quite ride out of the air reverse to earn a score from the judges. Once back out in the lineup, Harry caught his best scoring wave so far, when he took off on one of the left hand set waves and was able to throw his board up into the lip for a huge backhand re-entry. Unfortunately, the wave closed out and Harry was unable to find a transition onto another section and was awarded a 2.6 from the judges. With the other surfers in the heat now all slightly improving their second wave scores, Harry was searching for a 9 point ride to move into second place. Harry stood up on a great looking left and was able to open up 3 powerful and stylish backhand snaps all the way to the inside where he finished with a nice end section float. The wave was extremely well surfed, but unfortunately only earned Harry a 4.53 from the judges.
When the buzzer sounded, it was Jake Davies (USA) and Nomme Mignot (FRA) that progressed into the next round. As Harry returned to the beach to a hero’s welcome, everyone in the team was extremely proud of Harry’s performance had how he had represented our country so well. Unfortunately there would now be no more action for Team GB. All that is left to do now is surf as much as we possibly can in this beautiful wave rich country. With 3 full days still to go before we have to board our flight back to the UK, there is plenty of time to hopefully find some more good waves in our board shorts
Over and Out….