There’s an old saying, “Fourth time lucky”, well, maybe there isn’t, but there should be. After three previous cancelled dates when Huey sent either Macking swell or none at all, the 3rd Annual Slyder Cup presented by Reef went down in small, clean, crisp conditions at Lusty Glaze, Cornwall.
This annual gathering of the fins-free clan has become the embodiment of the Approaching Lines ethos of Good Vibes, Good Rides and Good Times, seeing some 50 fins-free fanatics from across the UK descend on this cliff lined bay to share the waves and the stoke.
The format of the day sees each class of slyder – body surfers, alaia riders, bellyboarders/ paipo riders and mat surfers – progress through a series of rounds, with a winner in each category. The four champs then go head to head in the grand final to win the coveted Slyder Cup.
With a mix of new faces and familiar friends, the standard in the bodysurf division was super high blending speed, style and shred. Jack Middleton and David Smith, fresh back from the World Body Surfing Championships at California’s notorious Wedge brought the challenge but in a nip and tuck shootout it was defending champion Rory Mason who emerged victorious, claiming his place in the Grand Final.
The Bellyboard / Paipo division is always a closely fought affair with a battle of the old skool ply and nu skool foam crews. As the claxon sounded Keith Usher on modern paipo just pipped Dick Pearce’s Jamie Johnson to take the title – maintaining the run for defending champs.
The Surf Mat division was a high quality showdown between underinflated stalwarts like G-Mat Surf Mats Graeme Webster and young talents including Marcus Reed from St Agnes and Dorset ripper Ella Scott, but it was demon slyder Demi Taylor whose arcing turns took the Surf Mat title.
Of all the classes, the Alaia is always the one that pushes the waveslyding boundaries pitting tradition against modernity. Encapsulating this spirit, the final saw St Agnes charger Neil Reed riding a wooden Alaia with style and speed, while his son Leon laid down 360’s on his finless foamie. 10 year Arthur Randall impressed the judges earning him the title of Best Grom, but it was defending Champ Jimbo Bennett who took the Alaia title once again, raising hoots and cheers from the crowd.
As the tide pushed towards high, the winners from each category came together for the grand final shootout. Showing full commitment the four took off on the same wedging left, finishing in an explosion of foam, sand and laughter that perfectly captured the spirit of the day. While Rory Mason took an early lead with a shore break barrel to peace sign claim. Jimbo threw down combination spins and floaters at will that left the shore line wide eyed and wild and saw Jimbo Bennett retain his title – justifiably taking the Slyder Cup trophy for a third time!
Thanks to everyone who came, shredded, hooted and helped to make it another epic day of good vibes, good rides and good times as well as our supporters Reef, Xcel Wetsuits, Da Fin, Slyde Handboards, Dick Pearce Bellyboards and Mullet Boards for the awesome prizes.
Slyder Cup Winner and Alaia Champion: Jimbo L Bennett on Squire Surf Alaia
Runner-up and Body Surf Champion: Rory Mason on Adventures in Lo-Fi handplane
Third and Mat Surf Champion: Demi Taylor on G-Mat Surfmat
Fourth and Paipo Champion: Keith Usher on Krusher Paipo
Winner Best Grom: Arthur Randall
Winner Furthest Travelled: Malc Edwards, Llanelli
Body Surf Final
1st Rory Mason
2nd Jack Middleton
3rd Andy Garner
4th Tony Clarke
5th David Smith
6th Tom Wilkins
Paipo / Bellyboard Final
1st Keith Usher
2nd Jaimie Johnson
3rd Aiden Botha
4th Jonny Davy
5th Aaron Claxton
6th Jack Whitfield
Surf Mat Final
1st Demi Taylor
2nd Marcus Reed
3rd Graeme Webster
4th Rich Pope
5th Bob Booth
6th Ella Scott
1st Jimbo Bennett
2nd Angus Scotney
3rd Leon Reed
4th Arthur Randall
5th Sarah Bentley
6th Neil Reed
All images: John Isaac / Approaching Lines