The annual North Devon Schools Surfing Championships continues in fine fashion as the 2012 champions retain the title.
Surfing GB and The Ilfracombe Academy teamed up for the 2013 event and invited seven schools from North Devon to compete in this well renowned inter-school and grass roots Surf event. The stage was quite literally set for a day of fierce rivalries and passionate surfing as the event got under way under the shadows and musical accompaniment of the 2013 Goldcoast Oceanfest Surf & Music festival. The surfers were greeted by a dropping tide and rising swell as low tide approached and the waves broke around the 2ft range with light onshore winds and a sprinkling of atmospheric sea fog for good measure.
The event focuses on providing opportunity for the school attendees of North Devon to not only surf in a friendly and competitive environment, but to be part of a team! So with a great turn out of over 50 surfers the competition got under way early. Class mates and teachers from BRAUNTON, WEST BUCKLAND, GREAT TORRINGTON, PARK, PILTON, KINGSLEY and THE ILFRACOMBE ACADEMY lined the shore to spur on their schools representatives. Surfers battled out in the early rounds of the Girls Under 14’s and 16’s and Boys Under 14’s and 16’s, eager to progress and gain points for their school.
In a huge step forward for the event 2013 saw the involvement and support of POSCA the Art and Design pen company, who were on hand with a professional artist and a load of wild coloured pens for the kids to draw and design all over their surf boards. POSCA also provided prizes for the finalists of each category so if you see grom’s with bright, crazy and innovative surf board designs in the line up’s of North Devon you know where they have been!.
As the tide pushed in the mid day sun burnt through the lingering sea fog to reveal bright blue skies as competition continued in the water. In an addition to previous year’s events and to meet the demands of the competitors, the new Open Longboard Division was introduced and saw some great surfing whilst also highlighting many of the competitors’ abilities to ride both long and short boards.
By the time the finals came around the tide had pushed up to its spring high and the beach was electric with frothing young surfers and music. The Girls U14 finals saw two Ilfracombe Academy Surfers battle against each other with Esme French in third and Molly Ashford in first with Megan Hillyer of Great Torrington separating them in second place. The Boys U14 Final saw Max Davies of Ilfracombe get off to a strong start, however finished in second behind local boy Garin Clay who used his knowledge and experience to piece together a well deserved victory and take maximum points for Braunton School.
The Girls U16 final saw class mates Alice Dowling and Paige Orme from Park School take shared third with Lani Ashford of Ilfracombe Academy in second. However careful wave selection meant that the only two waves that Becca Challacombe of Ilfracombe Academy caught were enough as she scored highly and took the title with a total of 12.67. The cruising style of Jack Unsworth got the Boys U16 final off to a good start, however a battle of the local boys then ensued in the Boys U16 finals as Storm Wall of Pilton took second and Alex Gibson of Ilfracombe Academy tore apart some critical sections and took the win and maximum points for his school. The Open Longboard division saw traditional short boarder Alex Gibson convert his techniques over to the longer board for second place whilst Charlie Greenway of Braunton School in close third, however Jack Unsworth of Kingsley performed well and took a deserved win.
The importance of team work and camaraderie is at the heart this event and shone through as team battled each other for the coveted North Devon School Champions Title. Pilton consistently featured in the business end of the event and as such accumulated a strong 4705 total points, whilst Great Torrington took it one step further and secured second with a 5475 total. However running away with the title and securing its return to the school was The Ilfracombe Academy who now win back to back titles with a convincing 8085 total.
“We are very grateful to the academy staff for organising such a fantastic event in which the level of competition was high. Naturally we are delighted that our own students performed so well and that for the second year in succession we won the overall event.” Sharon Marshall, Headteacher of The Ilfracombe Academy.
Surfing GB would like to thank the sponsors THE ILFRACOMBE ACADEMY for their support of the event and making it happen, POSCA and RIP CURL for their influence roles and The Goldcoast Oceanfest Surf and Music Festival for hosting the event.
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UNDER 14 GIRLS SHORTBOARD
KATIE WRAY (KINGSLEY) – 4th
ESME FRENCH (ILFRACOMBE) – 3rd
MEGAN HILLYER (TORRINGTON) – 2nd
MOLLY ASHFORD (ILFRACOMBE) – 1st
UNDER 14 BOYS SHORTBOARD
HARRY OADES (KINGLSEY)- 4th
JOE HILLYER (TORRINGTON) – 3rd
MAX DAVIES (ILFRACOMBE) – 2rd
GARIN CLAY (BRAUNTON) – 1st
UNDER 16 GIRLS SHORTBOARD
ALICE DOWLING (PARK) – JOINT 3RD
PAIGE ORME (PARK) – JOINT 3RD
LANI ASHFORD (ILFRACOMBE) – 2nd
BECCA CHALLACOMBE (ILFRACOMBE) – 1st
UNDER 16 BOYS SHORTBOARD
WILL ROBERTS (PILTON) – 4th
JACK UNSWORTH (KINGSLEY) – 3rd
STORM WALL (PILTON) – 2nd
ALEX GIBSON (ILFRACOMBE)- 1st
UNDER 16 OPEN LONGBOARD
ASHLEY WRIGHT (PILTON) – 4th
CHARLIE GREENWAY (BRAUNTON) – 3rd
ALEX GIBSON (ILFRACOMBE) – 2nd
JACK UNSWORTH (KINGSLEY)- 1st
WEST BUCKLAND – 7th
PARK – 6th
BRAUNTON – 5th
KINGSLEY – 4th
PILTON – 3rd
GREAT TORRINGTON- 2nd
THE ILFRACOMBE ACADEMY – 1st