Sports editor, Lucy Brogden, spoke to the surf club’s Vice President, Hannah Simms, and competitor, Xander Morrison, to find out about their BUCS competition in Newquay last weekend. Here’s what they had to say:
Last weekend, 11 Newcastle students braved the ten hour drive down to Newquay, the surfing capital of the UK, to compete in the annual BUCS surfing competition.
The event, held over three days at Fistral beach, is the only BUCS competition in the surfing calendar, and Newcastle had seven male and a sole female competitor representing the university.
On Friday, it was the women’s heats, on Saturday it was the men’s heats, with the competition culminating on the Sunday with the finals for both sexes.
In the competition, surfers are pitted against four others in a heat, with the top two heading through to the next round. Each competitor is allowed to ride 15 waves, with their two best waves being added together to give them their final score for that round. Judges on the beach mark surfers out of ten for each wave, with marks being awarded for the commitment and degree of difficulty, creativity, combination and variety of manoeuvres, and the speed, power and flow of the surfer.
On Friday, conditions were poor as the waves were fairly flat, but Madeleine Letherby, nonetheless, managed to place first in her heat. Unfortunately, she came fourth in the next round, which meant she didn’t progress any further in the competition.
“Surfers are pitted against four others in a heat, with the top two scorers heading through to the next round”
Saturday brought the best waves of the weekend, with all of Newcastle’s male contenders heading down to show off their skills. Out of the seven male athletes, Henry Watson, Patrick Morton, and Oliver Birch all made it out of the heats and into the second round. Unfortunately, disaster struck for strong contender Alexander Hindle, whose leash broke after only his first wave, which meant he couldn’t complete his heat.
In the second round, the competition proved too strong for Newcastle. Morton finished fifth, whilst Birch and Watson didn’t compete, with Watson actually missing his heat.
Eventual winners were Flora Lawton from Bristol, and Joseph Prow from Falmouth. Bristol and Falmouth are two of the most reputed universities for surfing, since both are near the best coastal surfing areas, and are able to access the best waves all year round.
Despite this, Morrison and Simms insisted everyone who attended had a fantastic weekend- especially enjoying the warmer waters of the south! With the competition being so early on in the academic year, no freshers competed, and the squad was much smaller than in previous years, since a lot of the club have graduated over the summer. Over the coming year, the club hope to build on their performance with a surf trip abroad to warmer climates in the pipeline.