The Welsh National Surfing Championships 2015
26th May 2015
WITH GUEST WRITER EMILY WILLIAMS
(TOP Emily Williams free surfs Photo by Dave Jones)
The Welsh Nationals were held in Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire, South Wales over the May Bank Holiday weekend, we had typical Welsh spring weather ranging from sunshine to pouring rain and howling winds.
The forecast for the weekend looked a bit wild! The surf was pretty fun though, ranging from 1-2 foot on Saturday to 4ft with offshore winds on Monday. Fresh is one of those challenging beach breaks, one minute you are surfing a hollow A-frame peak the next minute you are paddling against a monster rip! The big tides over the weekend added to the challenge, you could watch the surf for 20 minutes before you went in for your heat and it would be totally different when you went in.
I’d won both the Women’s and the Under 18 girls divisions for the last two years so was hoping for a repeat, I knew it would be tough with two of Wales’s best women, Gwen Spurlock & Jo Dennison coming back after some time away travelling and working overseas. It’s my last year in the Under 18’s so it was my last chance to do the double!!
The first competition was the Under 18 girls, the surf was small and inconsistent for the final with the added bonus of the Fresh West rip pulling us down the beach and off the peak. Under 18 finalists were Bethan Lewis, Emily Williams, Niamh Mathias and our youngest competitor in this division Ffion Hughes aged 13. Under 18 Girls Results 1st Emily Williams 2nd Niamh Mathias 3rd Bethan Lewis 4th Ffion Hughes.
On Sunday the quarter and semi finals were held for the Women’s Shortboard, the surf was bigger than the previous day and no rain, result! Again the big tides were making it tough, competitors having to decide between the inconsistent outside peaks or the smaller inside runners. At one point the comp was almost moved to the backup venue, Broadhaven South, another super fun beach break offering steep takeoff and barrels on the right day Surf was really good fun though so had to get a free surf in! (see top photo by Dave Jones)
Finals day First in was the Women’s longboard, dropping tide, hollow beach breaks and a solid swell didn’t look the easiest conditions for the longboard but the competitors smashed it! Hazel Ilett made a critical late take off on wave of the day and carved her way to the beach to win, Breige Lawrence took another set wave, got caught by the section and the leash loop of her board broke, a long swim in meant Hazel took the honours.
Women’s Longboard Results
1st Hazel Illet
2nd Breige Lawrence
3rd Angharad John
4th Georgina Lewtas
Bang on low tide the 4 women’s finalists hit the water, the Fresh West rip was in full effect but some cracking waves coming through with surfing to match. Jo Dennison (who is the Head instructor for the soon to open Surf Snowdonia Wavepool in North Wales) took the win, I finished second with Gwen and Niamh taking 3rd and 4th.
Women’s Open Results
1st Joanne Dennison
2nd Emily Williams
3rd Gwen Spurlock
4th Niamh Mathias
My club, Channel Coast Surf club also won the top Welsh club trophy for having the most finalists!!
A great weekend with the Welsh Surfing family! Big thanks and well done to all the women and girls who competed, the Welsh Surfing Federation for organizing and our sponsors Rusty, FCS, Gorilla and MiPost