Gwithian freewave

7 April 2005

The first event of the season was pretty quiet - only 4 pro men and 2 ladies but a good fleet of amateurs and youths / juniors. The forecast had looked awesome a week or so before the event but had been deteriorating rapidly and as the first day of competition arrived we had glorious sunshine and an equally summery cross shore force 4 with tiny ‘swell' at the chosen venue, Marazion, as Gwithian was a weak offshore.

Some of the better conditions were around midday so Andy, John, Terry and Clyde provided some entertainment for the spectators until the first heat began at about 2.

10 minute freestyle heats were run, where ‘overall impression' is scored. Pro Mens and Amateurs were mixed together and Ladies were mixed with Masters, Youths and Juniors. This provided the amateurs with a taste of the big time - Joel was particularly pleased as it meant he got to lose his heat to Andy King! The conditions were pretty marginal - all on big sails and boards but the Pros were still busting the moves. In the end Terry won with flashy Spock variations, some Flakas and a Grubby Diablo, Johnny Rock got second with an Air Chacho, Forward Loops, Willy Skippers and Spocks. Andy was busting out some nice Flakas and Willy Skipper Lollipops but was surprised by the start of the final, as he was out freesailing - and downwind of the competition area. Conditions were pretty dodgy by this point, too - in between Flakas, Andy had to uphaul 3 times due to lack of wind!

The amateurs didn't get a chance to properly compete against each other in terms of scoring, as they were destined to all become 5th equal after the 4 Pro Men finalists. Nevertheless they put on a good show - Joel valiantly fought Andy's Spocks and Flakas with some lovely one handed jumps and duck gybes. Good effort to all for getting involved (Dan Newman, Ash Holmes, James Kenning, Darren Thurston, Mark Seaney and Joel Bateman) and hope to see you at more Freewave events! The atmosphere is great when you get a decent sized amateur fleet as its all about loving the sport and pushing yourself to your limits, and its great opportunity for people to get out there with the Pros. Everyone will agree that the events are really friendly - some people assume it must be cliquey but this is just not true. People might sometimes seem preoccupied but they are competing after all and for them it's a job. I guarantee that if you go to any of the Pros for a chat they will be chatty, friendly and helpful and are really pleased to see Amateurs and new faces getting involved. The same goes at the pub at the end of the day - especially if the beers are on you!

Juniors were ripping it up, too. Perhaps they had the advantage of being lighter but there was an array of loops and various freestyle trickery from Paul Winnall, George Shillito and Graham Woods - Graham impressed the judges the most, with George and Graham coming joint second.

The Youths were dominated by Chris Murray, with Rich Potter coming second and Tom Parsons a close third. Again a great performance from all - loops, vulcans and more freestylin'.

As for the Masters' fleet, Sav cleaned up with style - hopefully the next time he will get more fellow masters to compete against! Come on all you aspiring competitors - It's not just for the rubber limbed teenagers you know!

The Ladies' fleet was double the size of the Masters' fleet! Lucy won with a slick freestyle routine - going for helitacks, sail and body 360's, Vulcans etc. Although I managed to miss the ladies final - neither of us got to the mixed fleet final and there was no ladies final on the heat list and as I had spent most of my last heat uphauling due to wind vacuums (overall impression of a jellyfish, according to the judges!) I thought it was all over. I got changed, ordered lunch and sat on the wall in the sun to see Lucy and Sav apparently having a heat! I realised it was, in fact, my heat and that Sav had probably been asked to stand in due to his long flowing locks!

The rest of the weekend saw even lighter winds so most people got some surfing in - some secret spots were firing and those with dedication and local knowledge managed to find them! There was a few fun events - Chris Murray impressed the judges with his surfing prowess and there was also a beach volleyball competition! And the Bucket of Blood was the evening venue of choice - with an added entertainment factor: watch the tall people hit their heads on the extremely low beams on the way to the bar - and the observe the frequency of said collisions increase exponentially according to the amount of evil Cornish Scrumpy consumed!

- Caroline