The GB team have been back at home following their time in Ecuador for a few weeks now. The ISA World Junior Surfing Games have finished and all the attention of the surfers has now shifted to the start of the contest season back home in the UK. Everyone has had time to reflect on their experience from Ecuador and start to set goals for their performance levels in 2014. Hopefully the experience of being part of a British Squad, traveling to an international event and experiencing the atmosphere of the world championships will be something everyone remembers for the rest of their lives.
Since the last competitor of our squad exited the contest in Ecuador, the team enjoyed surfing up the coast from where we had been staying. One hour north of Salinas is Montanita, which is where the ISA held their masters event last year. It has a fun right hand point at the northern end of the bay and plenty of fun beach break peaks to the south. Montanita is a popular tourist destination and the beach is lined with cafes, bars and surf schools. Each morning we loaded up the vehicles and made the trip north to hang out on the beach and surf for the day. With the swell building leading up to finals day, the guys had a fun wave rich playground to enjoy for their last couple of days in Ecuador.
With more down time available in the camp following the end of competition for the team, the Uno cards were produced and some pretty serious games were played within the team. Starting out playing for the right to ride shotgun in the mini bus or have control of the stereo, the stakes eventually increased as the games went on. Head Coach Lloyd Cole, Assistant Coach Damon Beveridge and myself got involved, and as you would expect, everyone in the team wanted to get one over on us. There were some very close calls, but thankfully we all avoided last place and an embarrassing forfeit.
The team was bitterly disappointed to not have achieved the goal of a top ten finish in the competition. However, there were some real positives throughout the two weeks at the games, and everyone has returned home a stronger competitor than when they arrived in Ecuador. There has been some good feedback since the team returned home, which has provided us with plenty of ideas and even more motivation to continue the training and development of British junior surfing. Lloyd, Damon,Team Physio Lisa Piper and myself are looking forward to working on the process to get the team ready for the games in 2015 as soon as possible, to assure Team GB strive to make gains in performance levels.
Everyone in the team would like to thank everyone who has supported our journey to this point. Without all the amazing support of everyone who donated to the Crowd Funder appeal and all our team sponsors this whole experience would not have been possible. It would take a long time to mention everyone who has helped us achieve what we have, but there are some people and organisations that deserve a very special thank you.
Nigel Hudson has worked tirelessly coordinating the crowdfunder appeal. Without his hard work and dedication the project would never have got to the point it did. There have been a large number of volunteers at home involved with Surfing GB that have been putting in a lot of work to support us while the team were competing in Ecuador. In Particular, Rob Tibbles deserves a huge thank you for being our media link and updating everyone with our progress throughout the event. Matt Knight has been calculating all the heat times and running order for our daily heats, a job that has made our life much easier when returning from a long day at the beach. Suzanne Hobbs, as always, has thrown herself into any task that has needed completing for the good of the team. Kevin Smith made the long journey to Heathrow and back in the early hours of the morning driving the team mini bus so we all made our flight to get here.
Our team sponsors have been amazing and their continued support is something the athletes have been extremely grateful of. A massive thank you to Calypso soft drinks (www.aquajuice.co.uk), Acer laptops (www.acer.com/uk), Offsure surf travel insurance (www.surfoffsure.co.uk), Posca (www.posca.com/uk), Surfdome (www.surfdome.com), Robie Robes (www.robierobes.com) and Sherwen Engineering. Without your help and support our time competing in Ecuador would not have happened.
Finally, the team has been treated like kings by all the staff at our camp in Salinas (www.hosteriaelfaroecolodge.com), without the assistance of Gabriel and his team, our stay would not have been the same. We think that as a team we enjoyed the best accommodation on offer in Salinas and would not have wished to be anywhere else. If you ever pass through Salinas, make sure this is the place you come and stay.
For the final time, and especially for Rob Tibbles, I get to say.
Over and out….