Emails from Ecuador #10

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After such a positive start, yesterday turned into a war of attrition and we were bitterly disappointed to loose so many surfers from the event. Sometimes in a competition you reach a point where it feels like you can’t go any further and surfers start to get blown out of the water. We hadn’t yet reached that point and all the coaching team were unanimous in believing that all our surfers had at least another day’s completion in them. Nobody lost a heat that they were not capable of making and this is the major positive that everyone needs to take from yesterday.

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Starting what would turn out to be our last day of competition, Angus Scotney and Taz knight had ended up in the same heat of the repercharge rounds. They were at the beach for an early morning free surf with Head coach Lloyd Cole, only to have their time in the water rudely interrupted by another shark that decided to have a cruise through the lineup. Once again the ISA evacuated the water and delayed the start of competition for an hour while the shark was chased away from the peak by the lifeguards on a jet ski.

The rest of the team enjoyed their first lie in for well over a week and with the further delay from the shark, everyone was able to cruise down to the beach at a much more respectable time to watch Taz and Angus compete. As everyone arrived to cheer the boys on, they were already warmed up and ready to go. We arrived at the beach to witness set after set roll off the point and both Taz and Angus were determined to have their moment on the main podium.

When the heat started, Taz was immediately involved in a hassle with the Hawaiian in the heat. There were a couple of occasions where each of them narrowly avoided getting an interference call. Taz had said he had felt bullied in the lineup in one of his previous heats on the point and it was good to see the competitor in him come out. When Taz finds his competitive drive, he hates to loose and it was so good to see him battling for position.

Angus on the other hand managed to stay out of trouble and found himself sat in what looked like the perfect spot in the lineup for the waves he was hunting. The only problem was that for the whole heat a decent set barely rolled down the point and everyone was left fighting and battling for the smaller scraps that were on offer. Both Angus and Taz managed to ride waves, but didn’t managed to find one of the growers that hugged the rocks and allowed a few sections to force a couple of turns. It was so frustration to see the heat end with neither of them being given a real opportunity to perform.

With the rest of the team now eliminated from the contest, it was down to our only team member Peony Knight to try and carry the British flag as far through the event as possible. Surfing up the beach on podium B, the conditions were looking as good as they have done for the whole event on the high tide peaks.

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Peony was on with an early start picking off a good backhand wave with a couple snaps in the pocket and finishing off with a little foam climb. The other girls in the heat started off slow and Pe was looking to backup her score so starting looking busy. With four man heats its always a lot harder to make sure your on the best waves, especially when it’s a multiple peak beach break, and for the next 5 minutes the roll of the dice didn’t go her way as all three other surfers collectively “built house” with good waves whilst our last team representative made the most of small insiders. Sat in third and with plenty of waves being ridden, Peony stood out in the lineup as two of the surfers were riding waves she was busy going straight down straight up on two critical front side turns. Now sat in second with less than five minutes remaining the other competitors were paddling out, knowing she needed to find a wave with more scoring potential than what she already had. Out of her control the American surfer who had hardly caught a wave that hadn’t shut down took off on a bomb left hander, which she surfed with precise and impressive ability knocking the Croyde, local into third.

With the whole team on the beach supporting and encouraging yells from friend Keisha in the next heat she took off on a half decent right which unfortunately backed off and offered no scoring potential. Just like that our last remaining surfer was out of the 2014 world junior surfing championships. The whole team met her at the waters edge where she was humble in defeat, there’s always next year.

The only person from our camp now left in the event is Gearoid Mcdaid from Ireland. G man had a huge heat being drawn against one of the event favorites in Aussie Luke Hynd. On the high tide beach break on podium A, G man put his powerful turns to good effect. Luke Hynd and the American in the heat got into a battle and nearly got a double interference call. G man stayed out of trouble and focused on tearing the waves to pieces. For the second time in this event, when the hooter sounded, he left the water in first place and earned himself a live interview to the world watching back home on the webcast.

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Whilst the rest of the camp either went back to the hostel for some time out of the sun or surfed over the headland on a fun little beachy, G man stocked up on his daily intake of oreos and stayed out of the sun watching the conditions change, as they have every day from fun looking light onshore to tricky strong onshore. Just as the team arrived for his big heat the tide had started to drop back low enough for the point to start working again. He paddled out into the dropping sun looking very focused and confident, which was definitely not a show because as soon as the hooter sounded he was up and tearing apart a bomb which he was awarded with a high 5 instantly putting the other competitor’s on the ropes. As the other three surfers hunted down average waves, G man sat patiently until the next set which like a true champ he was all over.

Unfortunately the wave he took off shut down with a wobble leaving him in fourth but still with the highest scoring wave of the heat so far. Again the Irish legend sat patiently whilst the other three hassled one another for scraps, and again he was on the next set wave, but this time it stood up for him, and in true G man fashion he went to town with his powerful forehand rail surfing, looking like he was never going to fall no matter how much water he displaced. Right up until the buzzer he was in first until the Argentinian blew apart the best wave of the heat. Still with less than a minute to go and both fourth and third placed surfers needing a seven or more the team were on the beach celebrating as the countdown began.

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The team had been planning to head off up the coast on a surf safari tomorrow. G man has delayed our plans. We will all be on the beach tomorrow morning to shout and cheer like a bunch of loons to help him through his heat. If we end up surfing in the free surfing area of the contest for the next two days and have to sacrifice our trip, everyone in the camp will be happy, as it will mean G man has gone all the way. For everyone following on the internet back home, get the Guinness in the fridge ready to follow the lads progress through the day. If he gets on the best waves in the heat, and especially if he surfs when the point is breaking, there are not many guys in this contest that can do the job like G man.

Over and out…

John Ellis
Team Manager

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