Newquay’s Watergate Bay will be a hive of activity this weekend as the Headworx English National Surfing Championships takes place from the 5th until the 7th of May. The competition, which has new sponsors this year, has 24 divisions including longboard, bodyboard, women’s, senior and legend, to name but a few! The event is now in its 35th year and will be the biggest yet with over 300 surfers competing.
Last year’s winner, Joss Ash, will be determined to defend the title from hundreds of professional surfers, including top British names such as Johnny Fryer, Sam Lamiroy, Matt Capel, Alan Stokes, and this year from his younger brother Reubyn, who is competing as a senior for the first time in a national competition.
Reubyn Ash won the junior competition at last year’s event and then went on to claim the European junior title as part of the Headworx England Surf Team. Surfing in the men’s open, Reubyn will now be keen to snatch the title of English Champion from his big brother.
Reubyn commented: “I’m really looking forward to the Headworx English Nationals, it’s the first major open contest of the year and everyone will be there and competing. But this year will be particularly interesting, being in the men’s open and competing against my brother! We’ve both been working hard in waves all over the world this winter so we’ll see…”
For some it will be their first taste of top level competition, while for others it is an important part of their contest calendar. Becoming English champion is the perfect start to any competitive surfer’s summer and this year’s results will affect selections for the Headworx-sponsored English National Team for this June’s European Championships which are to be held in France.
As well as high levels of stand-up surfing, the English Nationals will also feature a kneeboarding competition in which world champion Jodie Troth will be competing. The bodyboard competition is also set to be an exciting one.
Last year’s winner and bodyboard legend Damian Prisk is aiming to return to action after a serious shoulder injury. Rob Barber, British team coach, commented “Obviously if Damian doesn’t compete it will leave the title wide open. He is a true champion.”
The sponsor of this year’s bodyboard competition is Bristol accountancy firm Smith & Williamson Solomon Hare LLP. Spokesman Rich Hall says: “Smith & Williamson are pleased to continue their 3rd year of association with British bodyboarding by sponsoring the bodyboard division in the ESF event. We are working with the BBC (British Bodyboard Club) and the ESF to raise the profile of the sport and wish all the competitors the best of luck over the weekend.”
Picturesque Watergate Bay will once again stage the championships and over recent years has proved to be a great setting. The beautiful three mile long beach has multiple surf peaks almost tailored for the prestigious contest. The Beach Hut and Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall restaurant are fantastic vantage points to watch the action, whilst enjoying a dining experience right on the water’s edge.
For those unable to make it down to the beach, for the first time at the English Nationals, sponsors Headworx are putting video highlights, heat scores and a full photo gallery online at the official event website – www.englandsurf.com.
Ben Byfield, Marketing Manager for title sponsors Headworx said: “Headworx has been a proud supporter of the English Surfing Team over the past two years, and sponsorship of the English Nationals is a great opportunity for us to continue our support for surfing in this country.
The championships showcase the very best talent England has to offer, and with several high profile English surfers competing so well overseas and on the WQS this year, it promises to be the best English Nationals event yet. We’re stoked to be involved.” The Championships are run by the English Surfing Federation (ESF) – a non profit making organisation dedicated to the support and development of English surfers.