Report by: Rich Unsworth & Tyler Worth, Images by: Farscapes Ltd
The final stop of the 2016 British Longboard Union tour was held at Fistral Beach, Newquay, with a large swell forecast. Competitors arrived early, keen to see if the forecast was going to live up to expectations and were greeted with 6-8ft waves churned from the legendary source of Poseidon himself, coupled with a strong cross-shore wind.
With the swell and wind predicted to reach even more extreme proportions on the second scheduled day of the contest, the event was quickly reconfigured to fit a single day of competition, running heats simultaneously on dual peaks at North Fistral.
Drama was immediately provided in the opening heats with one competitor snapping his board in the punishing shutdown of his wave, quickly followed by another getting into difficulty amongst the rocks thanks to a savage left-to-right rip before being coaxed to safe exit by the loudspeaker-delivered local expertise of contest commentator Anton Paul!
The swell continued to build through the day, raising both excitement and tensions as the finals approached. In the Open and Single Fin divisions, Ben Skinner, Sam Bleakley and Adam Griffiths from Cornwall, Jersey’s Josh Le Marquand and Jack Unsworth from North Devon put on a heroic display of skill in the huge surf, snapping off the top, pulling into huge barrels and nose-riding the most critical of sections to the delight of spectators, fellow competitors and officials alike.
Competitors in most of the other divisions took the strategic decision to make the most of the waves available on the inside, rather than face the punishing paddle out back. Several competitors in the Ladies division did firmly grasp the nettle, making it out through the relentless lines of swell and scoring big as a result – Emily Currie, Jenny Bryant, Jen Pendlebury and Claire Smail dropping into some utter bombs, which saw all four of them cruise into the final. Claire in particular happily claiming one monster as ‘the biggest wave of my life’.
Tour Director Robert ‘Minnow’ Green once again successfully gambled on a roll of the dice, holding the contest in such ‘longboard-unfriendly’ conditions, and managed to deliver a spectacular finale to the 2016 British Longboard Union tour. Throughout the day, Minnow appeared to be in a constant battle between cautionary concern for the riders, and barely concealed glee as the surfer in him delighted with the sheer spectacle unfolding before his eyes.
The day concluded in perfect style at The Stable restaurant, with presentations for both the event and overall tour winners, trophies dished out as abundantly as the fantastic food and drink. The Stable Fistral Longboard Classic proved once again to be one of the most challenging and yet massively rewarding stops on the tour, enhanced by the beautiful surroundings of Fistral Beach itself and the seemingly boundless hospitality of our host sponsor.
Fistral Classic Results:
Open: 1 Adam Griffiths. 2 Sam Bleakley. 3 Ben Skinner. 4 Jack Unsworth
Ladies: 1 Emily Currie. 2 Claire Smail. 3 Jen Pendlebury. 4 Jenny Briant
Single Fin: 1 Ben Skinner. 2 Sam Bleakley. 3 Josh le Marquand. 4 Adam Griffiths
Juniors: 1 Jack Unsworth. 2 Max Hudson. 3 Jordan Zervas
Cadets: 1 Jordan Zervas. 2 Max Hudson
U18 Girls: 1 Beth Leighfield. 2 Stella Briggs. 3 Lily Wright
Masters: 1 Jason Gray. 2 Colin Bright. 3 Adam Chell. 4 Tom Gibson
Grandmasters: 1 Simon Gould. 2 Jerry Horsborough. 3 Colin Bright. 4 Ben Keay
Cadets U16 British Champion: Jordan Zervas
British Junior U18 Champion: Jack Unsworth (4th consecutive year)
U18 Girls British Champion: Beth Leighfield (2nd year)
British Grand Masters Champion: Simon Gould
British Masters Champion: Jason Gray
British Ladies Champions (tied): Emily Currie & Jen Pendlebury
Single Fin British Champion: Ben Skinner
British Open Champion: Ben Skinner
Special Thanks to our Sponsors: The Stable, The RNLI, Ocean & Earth, Robie Robes, and Surfing Great Britain.