‘The Jesus Surf Classic 2014 – Part one went down in some great clean conditions, loads of surf and skatepark action.
With the huge high pressure sitting over the UK for the past week or so, organisers of the 22nd Jesus Surf Classic were always going to have to make some tough decisions about running the event or not. There did appear to be a possible day of long range swell for Saturday 13th however, and after thoughts, discussions and obviously prayers, contest director Phil Williams decided to delay the Mens Open, Masters & Boys under 18’s event until Saturday 11th October, back at Croyde, but forge ahead with over 70 of the competitors in the five other categories.
Friday continued with flat calm conditions, apart from a few small ripples on the Friday afternoon. Was this indeed the right call or a faith judgement that would back fire ?
By 8.00am check in time, all was set for what we hoped would be a great day of Surf and Skateboard action centred around the Parkdean car park ( North end of Croyde ). Loads of frothing Groms, and excited girls gathered, the sun was shining, and all we needed was surf.
The small clean lines began to show by around 7am, and the contest was ON. The event this year was in memory of former Christian Surfers and Skateboarders leader Phil Pechonis, who passed away a couple of months away. Organisers knew he would be looking down and smiling.
The team took an early decision to try and run through all 31 heats in one day, and thankfully even on the dropping tides the clean offshore swell continued. The attitude and smiles on all the competitors’ faces was great to see, after heat after heat of great surfing. By the time of the finals solid 3ft sets were rolling in, creating some great conditions for all the surfers.
The event is run by Christian Surfers UK as part of the Jesus Surf Series, with volunteers from around the country providing a BBQ, refreshments, Crepe and a chill marquee area.
The action in the water as always was hotly contested, with a real mixture of surfers who perhaps are trying a contest the first time in a friendly environment, and in the latter rounds obviously many of the top surfers in the UK competing.
In the strongly contested Grom ( U12’s ) final Noah Capps from South Devon, who had surfed so well took the title ahead of Newquay’s Sol Hawkins, and Max Hudson and Tom reeves.
This year saw a really strong field in the U14’s division, and Bude surfer Kit Innes took the victory ahead of Finn Collins ( Newquay ), Leo reeves and Noah Capps.
Always great to see a strong field in the Women’s U18’s category, and after many years of competing, it was good to see local girl Flora Lawton take the title, ahead of Niamh Mathias who had travelled all the way from West Wales ( Good effort ) . Beth Wallace took third ahead of Woolacombe Lily Mandeville.
A fantastic U16’s final saw Max Payne ( Wadebridge ) take the win over Liam Murray Strout, Georgeham’s Will Bailey, and a great effort from Garin Clay in 4th.
The final, final saw a new name on the Women’s trophy and a cheque for £200, big congrats to Zoe Sheath. Flora Lawton took a good 2nd, with North Devon’s Charlotte Bayliss and Andrea Lawrence in 3rd & 4th respectively.
The big move skate contest also proved a huge attraction with two categories (under 12’s) and over 12’s, lots of great skateboarding, some good wipe-outs and lots of fun from all the competitors, prizes were awarded to the top three places in both divisions, and the Christian Skaters team presented the prizes after Chris Coombes shared a bit about his faith.
The presentations took place around 6pm in beautiful autumn sunshine, with an appreciative crowd of competitors, volunteers and supporters. Phil Williams launched the Phil Pechonis memorial award, which will be given annually to an inspirational person from the surf & skate community, and shared a bit about Phil’s life of faith, and what he stood for before a minute’s silence.
The next morning the ocean once again returned to its flat conditions, which begs the question, was this one day swell a chance co-incidence, or some divine input from above into the Jesus Surf Classic !! You choose, the organisers obviously felt the latter.
The next event for Christian Surfers apart from supporting other events will be the ever popular Jesus Longboard Classic at Polzeath over the 11th and 12th of October, full details and online registration is already set up, and Part 2 of the Jesus Surf Classic being held on Saturday 11th October in Croyde. Previously booked entries will be carried over, and spaces are still available for new entries via www.christiansurfers.co.uk .
Big thanks go to all the competitors and supporters, Parkdean holidays, the RNLI, Hotdoggers for the use of their four-wheel-drive vehicle, all the volunteers from Christian Surfers, and God for providing waves and keeping everyone safe throughout what turned into a fantastic Saturday. Next year’s event for your diaries is scheduled for 12th & 13th September 2015. To view a gallery of pictures from the event, go to the Christian Surfers UK Facebook page, or log onto www.christiansurfers.co.uk where you will also find more information about the organisation. Regards Phil Williams firstname.lastname@example.org