5th Jesus Surf Classic
5th Jesus Surf Classic – An amazing day of surfing
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 2 October, 2017 - The 25th anniversary of the very popular and much-loved Jesus Surf Classic was run on September 9 and 10th, but due to a large storm which was due to hit on the Sunday lunchtime, the early call was made to re-schedule the Women's Under 18, Under 12, and Under 14 divisions for Saturday 30th September.
The first weekend saw five champions crowned, fantastic surfing and a really good community vibe throughout with over 100 competitors involved.
The forecast for Saturday 30th September's running of the remaining three categories was looking quite challenging for most of the week. This meant that organisers of the event spent a good few hours praying, consulting locals and looking at numerous charts before deciding that it would make sense to move the event (for the first time in 10 years) to Putsborough, in order to make it a fantastic day rather than just a question of survival.
A huge thanks to Nick at Surfing England for lending the event trailer, as the Christian Surfers vehicle was unavailable and which made the site build far simpler, and all was set for an exciting day's surfing.
As the event site was being set up on Friday night a stunning sunset reminded the volunteers of who was in charge and this was backed up early on Saturday morning with a stunning rainbow over the contest site as the volunteers began to set up the day.
Saturday morning dawned with clean 2 - 3 foot waves rolling in at low tide at Putsborough (North Devon) and by 9 AM the first heats of the Under 14 category were in the water with lots of frothing groms enjoying the empty line up (thanks to the RNLI and local surfers) and some great clean waves. Organisers Christian Surfers UK smoothly ran through the day's heats and by early afternoon, after some fantastic surfing in all of the divisions, it was down to the finals.
The finals themselves certainly didn't disappoint, with some solid surfing performances in all three categories.
First up of the finals was the under 12s, which featured a number of surfers who had also been in the under 14s and Fynn Gillespie from Croyde had actually got to both finals. In the end, one of the standouts of the competition, Lukas Skinner (son of Skindog), at the tender age of eight years old took the victory with some brilliant surfing just ahead of Fynn, with St Agnes' surfer Arthur Randell third and Kingsbridge's Ishka Thres fourth. Lukas had surfed superbly throughout and in his first heat scored a 9.0, one of the highest scores of the contest.
In the Women's under 18 finals there was some excellent surfing from all four girls and in particular special mention to Lolly Sandland who at the age of 10 surfed well ahead of her years, in surf which by now was overhead for her.
The final was a real tussle between Francesca Sayer from Bideford and Lily Mandeville from Woolacombe with Francesca finally coming out on top.
South Coast's Esmee Gregorius also surfed well but on this occasion finished just below Lolly in fourth place. It was great to have some top performances in conditions that were ideal to show just how far English women's surfing has developed.
The final final of the weekend was the boys Under 14 with Braunton’s Alex Townsend head-to-head with fellow North Devon buddy Jake Arrowsmith, and on this occasion he just took the victory over Jake by 0.5 points. Fynn, as mentioned previously, did amazingly well to reach both finals, but perhaps multiple heats got the better of him in the final as he placed third, with a solid performance also from Ollie Keast but on this occasion coming fourth.
During the last hour of the event, the rain set in for the first time in the day, and so once again the presentation of a UK contest was held in wet conditions, but with a great supportive bunch of family, friends and other competitors there was still a real flavour of community.
Head of Christian Surfers and Contest Director Phil Williams gave thanks for the last 25 years of competition as well as sharing again the role of Christian Surfers and how he felt God loves surfers as much as anybody else in the world, and looked forward to next year’s event scheduled for September 8 – 9 2018.
A huge thanks to all the volunteers who once again gave their time freely at this competition, to the RNLI's Beau and Torin who did a brilliant job to keep the competition area clear, Surfing England, Putsborough Beach Cafe and Rob Tucker for giving permission to use the site, think they had a bumper day, and of course all the competitors and spectators, and finally thanks to God for the great waves we had all day.
Trophies and cheques were handed out, including some amazing hand carved wooden trophies for the winners in each category from Daily Bread Surfboards.
Next up for organisers Christian surfers UK will be the 10th anniversary Jesus Longboard Classic 7-8 October, at the home of the event, Polzeath. The event has already received over 75 entries in the six categories (including the brand-new 60+ Legends division) and will also feature hospitality from Tubestation, as well as a movie showing and question and answer session on Ghana from Longwood legend Sam Bleakley.