GET ON WITH IT...
The event got underway at about 2pm, just as the wind started to fade along with BoardseekerMAG Editor Louise Emery’s chances of competing. A random accident ended up in Louise splitting her upper lip from her nose to lip, consequently ending up in A & E and off the water for two weeks. She was broken! (Check out the BoardseekerMAG dictionary in Lifestyle for an explanation of 'broken'!!)
You can either do the moves, or you cannot – simple as that!
Let me tell you something about freestyle. You can either do the moves, or you cannot – simple as that. Then you have to do them in a 6 minute heat, that’s right only 6 minutes to fit as many as 10 moves in. Almost everyone can at least spock to some extent, most can flaka. But by the time you reach the final, we are talking about switch stance moves. That is exactly what we saw, as Ben Proffit and John Skye battled it out leaving Matt Pearch and Chris Audsley to settle for third and fourth. It all came down to who fell in the most. As none did, it was down to who got the wettest. The decision, to the surprise of many, went to Skyeboy. Ben struggled to hide his disappointment, whilst Matt Pearch was elated to get into a freestyle final for the first time in a long while.
Perhaps the most intense heat of the day involved Andy King, Ben Proffit and Matt Pearch. Andy was forced to go through the repechage system, whereby you always get a second, if not favourable chance, after being knocked out by the flawless performance of so called mate, James Cox. To be honest, there was no way that you could decide a winner. It would be impossible for the three judges to have their eyes everywhere. A decision had to be made, this time at Andy’s expense. A decision that had a huge influence on the overall rankings, and maybe even the title…
On knocking Andy King out in the Freestyle?
"Ahhh, well that was just my pleasure!! But the following heat was ridiculous, no wind and no comment." James Cox
THE RETURN OF THE KING, ALMOST!
The second day involved standing in a car park, eating pasties, and sheltering from torrential rain. It also marked a turn in the weather, as we saw the end of one weather system and the formation of another. A strong south westerly bringing rain, wind, swell and finally the prospect of starboard tack jumping! Ben Proffitt was starting to worry.
With the conditions building on Saturday, the Women, Amateurs and Masters went first. Charlie Connelly dominated over Ruth Elliot and a much improved Tanya Selah, with Boardseeker Columnist Lucy Robson in fourth at her first ever pro event!
By the time the Men’s Pro fleet got onto the water there was enough swell for a wave event. The ever demanding judges wanted 3 jumps and 2 waves to count in 5 minutes of heat time; this left no room for error and a lot of room for luck with many sailors questioned the short heats. The first round was held in variable winds making sail choice a nightmare and teams of caddies were running around the beach like headless horsemen with replacements for last minute changes. The best decision was to go big and cope with the power to prevent becoming caught downwind in the river mouth, and effectively ending any chance of winning your heat.
The short heat length also meant that catching quality waves was a bit of a lottery in the onshore conditions. As the tide rose, jumping became harder and required more skill. Table tops were perhaps the most common jump of the day as they score higher than a forward loop. Everyone can do forwards and unless you do a super high one, you are better off sticking in a couple of table tops.
Andy King and Chris Audsley took the stunt further with some amazing Ninja Kicks.
Paul Hunt, Andy King and John Skye all stood out a cut above the rest. Ben Proffit’s competition expertise and excellent wave riding kept him in the picture. Andy King and Paul Hunt are perhaps the only two who consistently landed backloops in their heats, one of the moves that guaranteed progression.
"The winning moves for me, and I would say Andy King as well, was being consistent at the old back loops. There were not really any others doing them consistently in the heats. Skye boy tends to rely on push loops a bit more even though he can do back loops." - Paul Hunt
After hours on the water, the final was a repeat of the 2003 UK Wave championships: Skye verses King. John Skye’s jumping is excellent, but Andy’s is better. However, Skyeboy’s use of a wave is impressive; fluid, fast and snappy with his usual style that the judges love. Yet again I found myself wondering how the judges can separate such performances. In past 50:50 situations the decision hasn't normally gone Andy’s way. Once again the King had to settle for second, and in his usual style took his frustration out on the water by sailing till dark.
DAY 4: CHARGE OF THE AUDSLATER
Sunday’s conditions turned out very similar to Saturday; cross onshore with winds ranging from 5.8 to 4.7 weather. This time all the Pro’s, Women’s, Amateurs’, Junior and Masters’ heats were mixed in together to give everyone a fair crack at the conditions. It also meant that there was a lot of confusion amongst the competitors (a daft bunch).
Fortunately the beach marshals, led by Andy Groom, knew what was going on – a job well done.
As a consequence of the previous day’s results, many of the big boys, including Chris Audsley (The Audslater), Matt Pearch, Terry Luxton and Phil Horrocks, found themselves uncharacteristically unseeded and in the first round draw. The first three mentioned were actually drawn together in a first round heat that could have been a event final.
As a day of radical jumping, sun, torrential rain and high emotions elapsed, some newer names fought their way into the last 8, including Jamie Hancock, James Cox and Jamie Hay (must be in the name). But only 2 can stand proud at the top of the fleet, and it was a similar story as the most consistent performer on the water, Andy King, again found himself in the final against Chris Audsley (Audslater) who was at last firing on all fours. Despite appearing in many finals, Andy King had yet to take a victory. Just as it seemed that this particular heat might just go his way, Chris Audsley picked up the best wave of the day and destroyed it with confidence all the way into the river mouth, edging himself ahead of Andy King’s prolific jumping.
A fatigued John Skye uncharacteristically found himself in the losers’ final, this time against John ‘I am a Rock’ Hibbard. Relishing the challenge, John (Hibbard) took every opportunity to make this one his own, with some tight wave riding and big jumps leaving Skye Boy in fourth place and pushing Andy King out of the top four overall. Ben Proffit had done just enough to take 2nd overall, leaving John Skye once again king of the podium, with a nice fat cheque.
"The freestyle day was pretty tricky, Proffitt is ripping in freestyle so it was pretty hard for me. The starboard tack day was more my cup of tea, but then it is lots of other peoples cups of tea. Hunty was ripping, that was the toughest heat I had all day. There are so many good starboard tack sailors, Hunty (Paul Hunt), Will, Audsley, Jamie Hancock and also Queenie (Andy King). But it has been good to have so many different conditions at one event." - John Skye
The women were treated to several more heats due to the integration amongst the men’s competition ladder. Charlie Connelly again demonstrated that her waveriding skills on her new Tabou Pocket waves are the best followed by Ruth Elliot in second. But I think that Naish Team Rider Tanya Saleh surprised most people with the amount she has improved after training in Brazil all summer.
What the sailors thought...
Do you think you can get the overall title? "It is my ambition to win the title this year. I am now joint first with Skyeboy, so it is within my grasp although it will be difficult"
Who are your main rivals, and why? "Well, without a doubt Skyeboy and Audsley are my main rivals! They're both awesome sailors; doesn't matter whether it's port or starboard tack, waves or freestyle!"
You are known for being a port tack specialist, what was your game plan when up against so many good starboard tack sailors? "My game plan was not to get too cocky and stick to what I could do with jumps, forwards and table tops and the odd pushy thrown in but really go hard for big wave scores. Fortunately I managed to get away with it and get two top 5 positions in the waves, which meant I held on to 2nd overall and stayed in the running for overall Triple Crown champion!"
What board were you using on the last day?
"My 62 litre pink board."
What about on the freestyle day?
"Yeah my 62litre pink board; it's my all-rounder board."
What board does Anne Marie Reichman use?
How much longer will Jamie be Pink for?
"I had a bit of a disappointing round in the freestyle, due to the lighter conditions. I had a good heat in the second round but I guess the others (Matt Pearch and Ben Proffitt) also did. It was annoying because losing in the marginal round put me on the wrong side of the ladder. James Cox sailed really well though. A lot of people finished above me who can’t do half the moves that I did in the heat that I lost."
Were you disappointed at not winning a round?
"Not really on the Sunday, the conditions were very onshore and I wasn’t really in tune with them. I wouldn’t normally sail that spot if it was like that. I was pretty exhausted too. I wasn’t really tired; it’s just that the wave riding seems to let me down in mucky conditions. I would come in and there would not be a wave, although I had tacked on a swell. I think if that happens in your heat, then it is not really down to you, and there is a lot of luck involved. I think I have to learn to read the waves better rather then hoping to come in on a wave."
"The contest was almost void because of the length of the heats. They were running five minute heats which was ridiculous. This is unusual for a wave contest and made all of us look bad because we didn’t have time to count our two best waves. I don’t think it is on to have five minute heats at a professional level. 6 – 8 minutes is a much more realistic time."
"I finished 3rd on the Saturday, Skye boy stopped me getting to the final, sneaky bugger did a double!
The best bit for me was just getting better and better in every heat. I was landing pretty much every thing I tried. Beating Profitt and Audsley in man-on-man heats was pretty special. In my mind the most improved sailor out there was Coxie (James Cox). He was ripping in the waves and the free style. I don’t know why he did not do better."
Boardseeker Columnist – Lucy Robson.
How did your first major event go?
"I think it went well! Being my first competition I was totally naive about the flag system, timing of the heats and when the flags were up. I did not realize the organisation that goes into these events, and the accuracy with which they are run."
What is your ultimate aim in competition?
"To win, what else??!"
Yet another fantastic event as the Triple Crown yet again rides its luck with the conditions. Stay tuned for the full report of the last leg up on the famous Isle of Tiree
The Bigbury Triple
Crown was supported by GMFCo, WEB construction,
WALLS, The Venus Company and Reactive Watersports.
Chris Audsley pushing hard for the title.
So called "mate" Paul Hunt soon puts a stop to Chris' chances!
John Syke took the freestyle round
But UK training paid off For Andy King as he proved most consistent in the waves.
Jamie Hancock shows promise.
And Mark Hosegood is consistent.
David Swift slides
Matt Pearch flakas
Phil Horrocks waves to the crowds
Will Ward uses Right Guard
Jan Sleigh on the rocks
Did someone mention "THE ROCK"
And Steve King Willy Skippers all the way home!!
But in the end it is Skye Boy that takes final honours, and with a hair cut like that - it is no surprise...
How do the results from here affect your approach to the final event at Tiree?"Me and Proffitt go in exactly the same, so it is whoever beats whoever in Tiree, which is a bit scary. Means I can drink less beer! The conditions were really good, cross onshore and windy. Bigbury is great because it works in all wind directions as well. I was using a fish style board, which is a development of the Guerilla style, it seems to be working really well in everything."
The King and his Monster Wave
Chris Murray - Future promise.
Features Ed in the thick of it...well for at least one round!