Swellboard Shootout 2014
Is this the wave that shook the surfing world last weekend? We’re looking at the Minions – the super groms from Saturday Surf Club who claimed the title of Swellboard Shootout champions of 2014 with this team wave in the final!
Twenty crack teams ( I think I heard that right) began the event that morning with a presentation before the judges for fancy dress points before the parade through Fore Street and The Wharf and back to Porthmeor for a wave-riding extravaganza.
The first round saw five heats of four teams per heat surfing in tag fashion with surfers earning points for style, innovation, surfing prowess and possibly a mark or two for skullduggery! The surfer in the water claimed his wave when he felt he had achieved a high score and paddled in to be replaced by the next team member. When the fourth member had claimed his individual wave, the rest of his team paddled back out to join him on a team wave. Those surfing scores were added to the fancy dress score to give a complete heat score. A repechage round after round one enable the slow starters to have another crack at mastering the formula before the semis and then the final brought the action to a thrilling climax.
There were a good few pros and elite surfers sprinkled through the teams – Big wave rider Tom Lowe and his girlfriend Janni, a champion in her own right were the core of one team. Another, The Gladiators featured English Mens champion, Jayce Robinson, English Under-18 champion, Harry De Roth, Portugal-based pro, Dane Hall and Dale Robinson! There was longboard stylist Mike Lay and former English Schools longboard champ Simon Trebilcock on show as well as a number of ex-junior tour surfers such as Jacob Down,Bert Wright, Jack Whitefield and Adam Bayfield. Tassie Swallow, multiple title winner and Lauren Ringer, former Junior QS competitor brought in pedigree ladies surfing – and I suspect I’ve overlooked other noteworthy performers under the disguises!
Last years’ winners returned as The Mummies but couldn’t resurrect that winning vibe this time around. There were notable comic turns from Victoria’s Oldest Secret, The Tourists and the hot surfing drag act, Doctor’s Orders.
Shotgun Wedding gave family values a reworking as a back-country grotesque while the Shipwrecked Matelots and The Gladiators offered helpings of smooth swellboard surfing behind a veneer of couldn’t-care-less attitude.
A recent outbreak of golf mania in Balcony and Surf School circles may have prompted the Balcony team to adopt that theme. Similarly, the World Cup must have been on the minds of the Ingerland Football Fans in choosing their acutely-observed dress. What inspired the girls in Team Jenna is anybody’s guess – but eye-catching it was, nevertheless.
There were superheroes in the shape of the Surfers Against Sewage contingent, and a band of robbers who were anything but stealthy! The Jellies defied definition but were well rewarded for the effort they had spent on their outfits!
And then there were those indefinable “What were we thinking of” teams whose enthusiasm to be part of a fun day over-rode any inhibitions about competing against fancy dress fiends who have agonised for months over what they would wear on the big day.
We adjourned to the Balcony for the all-important announcement of the final result – and as the placings were called , in reverse order, the excitement boiled. Two teams left – Matelots or Minions for runner-up? Well, I gave that away at the start of the blog! A massive cheer erupted from the gathering as the Minions were declared winners of the 2014 edition of the Swellboard Shootout! Matt Burrell grabbed the mike to make the winners’ speech he’s had ready since he first dreamed of winning the Rugby World Cup, the Pipemasters, the Ashes or maybe even the Swellboard Shootout. He graciously thanked his mum, his teammates and his sponsors, and then the four members of the winning team managed (just!) to hoist the trophy aloft to a hearty cheer from the crowd.
Our thanks to St. Ives Surf School. to Rhythm and to Red Bull, principal sponsors of a great day out. Our continuing support to Surfers Against Sewage for their tireless work to keep our oceans and coastlines pollution free. And our thanks to all the lifeguards, judges, beach marshalls, photographers,participants, spectators and to Porthmeor Beach management and catering for their efforts.
Let’s hope we can build a tradition here!
There is an early report in Carve magazine including the first video edit to emerge here
A warning to Mums and Dads – this final picture should not be shown to children under the age of 30. Anyone suffering nightmares after viewing please seek medical advice.