In 2017 with Benoît Moreau, we decided to participate in the first English National Adaptive Surfing Open.
It took place in September 2017 at Watergate Bay in Cornwall.
Benoit won the stand and open category; I had finished 7 and 4, but damn it, despite the cold, the boat-breaking breeze, the stormy sea, we had discovered a great atmosphere.
This is why we gave it back in 2018, and this time we left with Benoit and Maxime.
My idea was to create a dynamic around a competitive team and allow anyone to participate without having to bleed.
So I sponsored this competition team.
As the previous time (no, better …), we took full advantage of it and in addition our “mini team” had scored:
Sitting / Kneeling:
1 Llywelyn Sponge Williams
2 Laurent Marouf
3 Maixi Cabanne
4 Spike Kane
5 Martin Pollock
1 Spike Kane
2 Ethan Jolosa
1 Melissa Reid
1 Benoit Moreau
2 Pegleg Bennett
3 Melissa Reid
4 Louis Sutton
1 Benoit Moreau
2 Louis Sutton
3 Laurent Marouf
4 October Hamlyn-Wright
5 Charlotte Banfield
Highest Scoring Wave:
Benoit Moreau (7.2)
Be careful, there weren’t many of us yet and the ocean hadn’t given us a perfect swell, but the heats could have been held in a decent little surf.
The site was this time at Fistral Beach, a few kilometers south of Watergate:
We promised to come back in 2019 and we did:
On the same idea as that of 2018, we have formed a new team composed of 4 riders with the idea of being sufficient for ourselves (see as such Katell’s paper on our “saga”), Katell, Maxime, Benoît and me for this event of June 29 and 30, 2019 for which Surfing England, we even gave a personalized poster:
This time, the competition was bigger, the organizers noted in their account of the event “a competition which had more than doubled in size with 45 registered in 6 divisions. Surfers from more than 10 countries to participate, including Hawaii, South Africa and Australia, more than 50 volunteers learning key skills in adaptive surfing over the weekend. “
The event schedule look like that which one can live in competitions like the Dukes in Hawaii or the US Open in Oceanside: a Saturday morning which started with an adaptive surf workshop (the famous “clinic”) , where more than 40 instructors and volunteers came together to acquire knowledge about adaptive surfing; one Saturday afternoon saw the Aloha ceremony (ie the welcome ceremony, celebrated in the Hawaiian spirit) for the competitors and the opportunity to jump into the water for free surfing.
The volunteers were able to put their skills into practice
As for our team, Benoît had officiated as Katell’s pusher while I was waiting for her, comfortably in the Inside.
It had worked rather well, it must be said that we had a fairly valid track record after a session at Lafiténia in Basque Country, where we had to go down with Katell’s wheelchair in the “f ..” more or less tarred slope of access to the spot with David who was also here, to give us a hand.
We had the session in a pretty cool sea with Benoît as the pusher, of course.
There was indeed a dilemma in choosing the pusher since we had:
• On my left, a upper limb amputee, but with both legs
• On my right, a BK amputee, but with both arms.
I like to remember that it was at that moment that I told myself that we could try “full-handi” in reference to this extraordinary film, “The full Monthy” that our roast-beefs friends had laid for us one or two (no, three or four) handfuls of years.
But the slope, on the return, it was not very easy either …
In short ! Let’s go back to Fistral, and as the sun finally showed up, we ended this first enchanted day and we spent the evening at the Fistral Beach Bar for a number of pints, and a memorable silent disco party that we had the opportunity to experiment last year.
But let’s focus on the competition:
Like last year, the boardbags had not been shipped in Bordeaux, so we had to rent wetsuits and also boards to be able to participate (well, Easy Jet ended up paying, because in addition, our boards were damaged).
Our equipment was therefore not optimal, especially with foam boards to which we were not used and not super fitted suits. Finally, we went beyond this new mess…
Sunday, the call was at 8:15 am, the first round to take place at 9:00 am.
We were all at it and we were obviously waiting for the moment when we were going to be able to pass.
It was quite stimulating because this time there were still people and even “beautiful” people.
The water was good (even if we were in 3/2mm), the waves were pretty clean, without being Indonesian lines, the energy of the competition was more intense than in previous years but still on the good mood .
We surfed like that all day, and I remember leading the final until 5 minutes from the end, but Mark Stewart and “Sponge” Williams ride two waves that left me third.
Katell couldn’t beat Martin, the man in the Racing Audi A8, Max couldn’t make it to the final.
Benoît has, as in the previous events, won the Open and the “Stand” by taking 2 waves per minute, “as usual”.
“This truly has been the most phenomenal weekend. “Concluded the organizer.
Finally, we did not come for nothing (again):
1. Charlotte Banfield
2. Melissa Reid
3. October Hamlyn-Wright
4. Darian Haynes
1. Martin Pollock
2. Katell Ropert
Sitting / Kneeling:
1. Mark Mono Stewart
2. Llywelyn Sponge Williams
3. Laurent Marouf
4. Martin Pollock
1. Benoit Moreau
2. Pegleg Bennett
3. Spike Kane
4. Miloslav Brzak
1. Bruno Hansen
2. Spike Kane
3. Daniel Nel
4. Ethan Jolosa
1. Benoit Moreau
2. Klang Adi
3. Pegleg Bennett
4. Dana Cummings
2019 Additional Awards as follow:
Most Stoked Surfer: Darian Hayes
Highest Single Wave: Mark Mono Stewart
Best Maneuver: Spike Kane
Volunteer of the event: Rob Stewart
Most Inspirational Surfer: Martin Pollock
So here for this 2019 competition for which we have kept all the operational details allowing us to build the 2020 team that we will undoubtedly send to Newquay, if of course, we can travel to England on October 3 2020.