Rip Curl Jersey Surfabout finishes with great conditions
Rip Curl Jersey Surfabout 2002
The Watersplash, St. Ouen´s Bay, Jersey
Surf 3ft offshore, increasing to perfect 6ft peaks for the finals.
Perfect 6ft barrels provided finalists in the Rip Curl Jersey Surfabout some of, if not, the best conditions ever witnessed for a Jersey surfing event. The surf may not have reached the wave heights originally forecast, however the quality of the surf more then made up for it, with the down tide waves at the Watersplash Sunday evening, proving that on its day Jersey can have beach break waves as good as anywhere.
The event, was organised by the Jersey Surfboard Club, and kindly sponsored by Rip Curl, attracted a good entry featuring the best local surfers, plus visiting surfers from South Africa, Australia and Wales. The contest began Saturday morning in quality 3ft offshore surf on a clearly building swell. The waves made for some good all round surfing and high scores from the judges. Stand out surfers in the early rounds were Piers Gould scoring highly, with powerful and fast manouvres and South African Chester Mackley who posted one of the highest overall heat scores of the day.
Following the Open division, the early rounds of the Longboard and Bodyboard divisions took place with all the favourites safetly advancing from their heats. With the forecast of much bigger surf for the Sunday, and waves already increasing in size, it was decided to run the Ladies final on the Saturday whilst the conditions were ideal. The final was dominated by South African Liza Harvey, who scored consistantly well throughout the heat. The other three girls worked hard but found the conditions hard going, with Mary Powell´s first wave helping her to 2nd place, ahead of Ali McGovern in 3rd and Debbie Le Brun 4th.
Competitors were greeted on Sunday morning with nice 3 - 4ft surf with the bigger sets coming through. The day started with the Open division repercharge which gave all the previous days 3rd and 4th placed surfers the opportunity to surf their way into the main event. Stand out in the repercharge was junior surfer Josh Letherbarrow, who showed why he is one to look out for in the future. With a busy schedule of over 7 hours of surfing left to complete, the contest pressed throughout the day until only the Open division, Bodyboard and Longboard finals were left to run.
Shortly before the start of the first 30 minute final to take place, the Longboard final, the surf dramatically increased in size and power, with a perfectly formed sandbank shaping up the waves into heavy tubing 6ft (twice head high) peaks. This made it particularly interesting for the longboarders, as Michael Charlton soon found out as he took the biggest wipeout of the event, freefalling a seriously heavy wave, along with his 9ft longboard. The other three finalists were regular shortboarders Sam George and Ben Chapman, plus visiting Welsh longboarder and former European champion Chris "Guts" Griffiths, who is over in the island shaping a few longboards. George started the heat well with 3 solid rides, but it was Griffiths who came through to take the title, with the three high scoring waves of the final towards the end of the heat.
The bodyboarders up next, revelled in the perfect conditions, with Clint Loake, Seb Sharpe, James Manners and Colin Crowther all finding nice barrels, unfortunately due to the sunlight it became impossible for the judges to pick out the coloured vests of the competitors and the heat had to be abandoned halfway through. Not wanting to surf again on another day when the waves would be very unlikely to be as good again, the competitors decided they had all had some great waves and would share the honours.
The final heat of the day was the main Open final competed between Johnny Carden, Sam George, Ben Chapman and James Hick, now in his first year out of the juniors. Carden started the heat well with a very long backhand tube ride, unfortunately he didn´t exit the tube and only completed manoeuvres score well with the judges. Although the waves were perfect, they were perhaps not the easiest waves to score big points on with the surfers having to either charge down the line at speed to make the wave, or pick off the occasionally less hollow wave and try and get a few manoeuvres in.
Hick, a finalist in last years Rip Curl Surfabout, surfed excellently and looked like he was heading to towards the title, especially after taking off on one of the biggest waves of the heat and pulling a big move off the top, earning him the highest score of the final. In the last five minutes of the heat though, George picked off a couple of nice set waves that offered plenty of room for snappy manoeuvres, these scored enough to give George first place, ahead of Hick in 2nd, with Chapman and Carden finishing in 3rd and 4th place respectively.
The Jersey Surfboard Club would like to thank event sponsor Rip Curl, plus the Watersplash for their additional support.
1. Sam George
2. James Hick
3. Ben Chapman
4. Johnny Carden
Final abandoned due to poor visibilty for the judges. Finalists, Clint Loake, Seb Sharpe, James Manners and Colin Crowther.
1. Chris Griffiths
2. Sam George
3. Michael Charlton
4. Ben Chapman
1. Liza Harvey
2. Mary Powell
3. Ali McGovern
4. Debbie Le Brun
Commendable junior performance
Nathan Elms, youngest competitor to make 2nd round of Open division
Best overall Junior performance
Previous report available here
Jersey Surfboard Club
Contests - Surfersvillage