As the sun set, Newquay’s Jimbo Bennett riding a Wegener Albacore was crowned Slyder Cup champion following an epic grand final in which the crème de la crème of the UK’s ‘finless’ surf scene styled it out in high-tide Lusty Glaze wedges. Representing the alaia’s, Jimbo went head-to head with Alan Stokes – winner of the paipo section and perhaps best known as one of the UK’s top pro surfers. Joining them were Marcus Healan winner of the surf mats and Jo Brown who had whomped to victory in the bodysurfing section.
A gripping exchange of waves, drawing hoots and cheers from the crowd, saw Jo Brown pull into a long ride before Alan Stokes replied with total commitment tucking into a thick-lipped sand barrel in an inch of water while Marcus Healan came back with a death drop into a knuckle-scuffing, pitching wedge that dredged up the beach and deposited him at the feet of the whooping crowds. Jimbo however snatched victory in the waning light throwing down a 360 cover up into beach-step-off-no-neck-broken combo to rapturous applause.
But The Slyder Cup was about more than heat winning– it was a coming together of UK slyders, shapers and backyard builders in a one-day celebration of alternative surf craft and the art of waveriding from a finless perspective. The day was about good vibes, good rides and good times – there were hoots emanating from the line up, competitors retrieving one another’s boards and watercraft bring leant and shared. Over 50 slyders took to the water from seasoned veterans to first timers. Watercraft were perused, new vehicles demoed, beards were stoked, waves were whomped, tales were told, vinyl was spun and the Approaching Lines Scout Hut Cinema came alive for one night only to premiere Kai Neville’s latest project Anything Sing to an appreciative crowd.
Celebrating the unsung heroes of the waveriding world, The Shaper’s Shield was presented to Neal Hawkins of Handout Handplanes, with an honourable mention going to Daboy ‘Chops’ – at 9 our youngest shaper in the event. Mikey Koskella of Seed Surfboards was presented with a Drift HD Ghost Cam for most innovative board design.
Thanks to everyone who came, slid, showcased and got involved, making the Slyder Cup such a great day. Thanks also to our supporters Reef and Offsure as well as Drift Innovation, Neon Wetsuits and Wyatt & Jack for providing some awesome prizes.
Words: Demi Taylor