After their first successful comp on a man made wave last year, the UK’s top surfers once again headed inland to Surf Snowdonia for event number 3 on the UK Pro Surf Tour. Despite a cold start and some strong winds thanks to ‘Storm Brian’, the event got off to a flying start in the early morning gloom of the welsh mountains.
Thanks to the predictable, mechanical waves, the early rounds went like clockwork with the field of 32 (24 Men and 8 Women) quickly being reduced to the quarter finals by lunch time.
The afternoon saw the weather improve and the competitors enter the knockout stages, which feature a unique form of scoring where surfers go head to head with the judges not awarding points, but simply waving a blue or red flag to show which surfer had the best wave. This unusual scoring system means the heats can run quickly and smoothly and take full advantage of the 90 second waiting period between each wave.
With the defending champions being knocked out in the semi-finals we were assured a new champion would be crowned in both the men’s and women’s finals – and this year that included Reubyn Ash and Luke Dillon in the Men’s Open with Lucy Campbell and Emily Currie in the Women’s Open finals.
As the music pumped out from the Monster Energy truck and the crowd gathered, the women’s final got underway with Lucy Campbell first up. After a couple of rare mistakes from the Woolacombe local, Emily Currie just needed to hold her nerve and surf consistently to take the win.
In the men’s final, fresh off the WSL tour, Luke Dillon put in a sterling effort with serious power moves throwing buckets of spray off the back of the man made waves. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough and Reubyn Ash won the favour of the judges and this year’s title.
This was also the first year the event had been streamed live through the UK Pro Surf Tour’s Facebook page. And with record viewings it looks like this won’t be the last. So we can all look forward to seeing more live action from the UKPSA on our screens.
The Surf Snowdonia Challenge in Pictures
Despite the cold and wind a sizeable local crowd turned out to watch the action.
Kit Innes with Batman face paint!
Reubyn Ash working his way through the earlier rounds.
Luke Dillon throwing buckets of spray.
Emily Currie waits for the judges decision
Last years runner up Emily Currie took the title with Lucy Campbell a close second.
Reubyn Ash lifting the cup for the Men’s Open