Report by UKWA Judge Steve King. He doesn’t mince his words so here is his unedited take on the 2007 Wave Classic.
Pro Fleet build up.
This year’s annual Tiree Wave Classic saw an impressive turnout of sailors, with the chance of a PWA wildcard entry up for grabs. Although a three day event rather than the usual six, the competition actually got better conditions than last year and we got through a full round of competition across all fleets in the two days of wind.
Registration was on Tuesday evening where competitors received their GUL goody bags, sailing instructions and the heats were drawn up for competition.
Wednesday morning saw the forecast south-east winds blowing cross off shore with waist to shoulder high waves at the Maze (head high for Jamie Hancock and Aleksy Gayda). The beach got this name for the twisting, turning, rough track through the sand dunes to access the headland above the beach. Many of the image conscious pimp my ride windsurfers found that lowered vans are really not up to much when trying to off road.
"Many of the image conscious pimp my ride windsurfers found that lowered vans are really not up to much when trying to off road"
The conditions looked a little light for jumping so the judges asked for two best wave rides with 8 minute heats. The first fleet to hit the water were the Pro’s with the top 8 from the Four Nations Championship Ratings getting byes straight through to Round Three.
Sailors looking good in Round One included Mark Hosegood and his Tenerife based OTC assistants Graham Woods and Adam Lewis, who looked to be revelling in the lighter wind port tack conditions. Young guns Rich Jones and Chris Murray were also sailing well, advancing straight through to round three.
Freestyle big dogs Colin Dixon and Andy Chambers looked very shaky at first in the light conditions but somehow both managed to advance through to the second day of action.
Pro fleet Rounds One, Two and Three were completed on Wednesday before the wind swung more onshore and dropped forcing judges to postpone until the predicted stronger winds on Friday.
Friday morning dawned with slightly stronger southerly winds but smaller waves. All beaches were assessed and the judges decided that once again the Maze was the most contestable location. With a bit more of a side shore wind the judges call was for one wave and two jumps to count.
The competition kicked off after a small wait for the wind to increase and the early shock exit was last year’s Tiree Wave Classic champion Jamie Hancock. Despite being one of the smallest sailors of any fleet Jamie refuses to use any sail bigger than a 4.7, which meant he was sent home by another light weight; Graham Woods. Most of the other heats went with the form book.
"Jamie refuses to use any sail bigger than a 4.7"
The big showdown heat of Phil Horrocks versus John Skye didn’t happen as Skye stayed in bed with Tiree Man Flu so Phil slipped through to Round Five. The need for different category jumps led to a dazzling display of aerial antics including forwards, backloops, pushloops and table tops as well as high scoring combination jumps such as the odd double attempt, table top forwards and tweaked pushloop table tops. The youth assault on the pro fleet was almost extinguished in Round Five with the exit of Chris Murray and Rich Jones leaving Graham Woods the sole youth contender.
Controversy struck in Round Six in the big showdown between Horrocks, Ben Proffitt and Andy King. All three judges missed or confused Proffitt’s apparent table top forward loop for a pushloop which possibly may have sent Horrocks home early had it been scored properly. Instead Horrocks & King advanced to the semi finals. Finn Mullen took the next heat with John Hibbard in second, just edging out the now tiring sole youth survivor Graham Woods.
The semi-finals saw King taking out Hibbard with his superior aerial attack and Horrocks taking down Mullen with his big aphrodisiac hair do.
The loser final was run first with Hibbard’s donkey kick forwards just scraping him past the decent wave riding of Mullen.
And so onto the big final; King and Horrocks hit the water. King gets in an early, long wave ride with an ok aerial for the conditions. Horrocks is concentrating on staying up wind to jump. He pulls a one-handed back loop and then a tweaked pushloop. King answers back with a bone dry, good sized backloop and then a high stalled forward.
"Horrocks grabs a medium sized wave, throws a few top turns and then nails a clean taka on the open face"
The guys are looking even until Horrocks grabs a medium sized wave, throws a few top turns and then nails a clean taka on the open face and rides it to the beach to become the 2007 Tiree Wave Classic Champion. The greatly sort after precious four wildcards that lured all the pro sailors up to Tiree were doubled to eight due to lack of interest from low placed PWA sailors.
Andy King, Finn Mullen, Graham Woods and Rich Jones took their rightfully earned spots and to add some Scottish Brave Heart Flare to the PWA, Scotty Mc Dowell was given one of the extras.
The remaining wild cards were given to Martin Francis, Chris Murray, Adam Lewis, and Nick Moffat.
There were just two entrants into the junior fleet with Essex based Aleksy Gayda up against Tiree’s own John Isaacson. The lighter winds didn’t slow down Aleksy who pulled off forward loops and threw down some impressive backloop and tabletop attempts to take the upper hand in the jumping side of things. Tiree John was concentrating more on his wave riding finding some of the bigger sets but it was Aleksy’s aerials on his waves which helped him become Tiree Wave Classic Junior Champion for 2007. This guy is going to be good!
Once again there was a strong turn out for the Amateur fleet. The wind had picked up enough in their heats for the judges to ask for jumping to be scored as well as wave riding. Some big forwards and back loop attempts were pulled out to impress the judges and the winners through to the four man final were Troon locals Scott McDowell and Ian Gibson, alongside photographer Simon Crowther and Turf Dog’s own Adam Cropper. The final saw plenty of action with huge forwards from the two Scot's and plenty of wave riding action.
Slight controversy as Ian Gibson was initially awarded the victory due to a tabulation error but his moment of glory was shot down in flames as McDowell asked for a recount which saw him declared 2007 Tiree Wave Classic Champion for the umpteenth time. Congratulations to the only real Scot bearing the Solitaire on his kit, not the media hungry English whores out there stealing all the glory.
"Troon’s own “Big Davie” (Dave Edmiston) who unleashed some big forward loops"
The Masters fleet also saw an impressive turn out with sailors from as far a field as South-west England. Current rankings leader Sav advanced through to the final picking off some bigger waves and was followed by Troon’s own “Big Davie” (Dave Edmiston) who unleashed some big forward loops. Battling their way through the second chance round, Nigel Treacy and Gerry Wilcox also earned their place in the final. With a huge, one-handed back loop attempt and some solid wave riding and loops it was another Scottish victory for Big Davey followed by Nigel Treacy in second. Davey said he felt like he’d won the World Cup event and just couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day.
With most of the youth fleet also competing in the Pro fleet due to the ever improving standard of these sailors, it was a busy time for these guys rushing from one heat to the next. The two standout sailors were Graham Woods and Richard Jones. These two battled it out for top honours in each of the three four man finals to decide the champion. With top moves including table top forwards, backloops, pushloops, a shuvit cheese roll from Woods and a big goiter from Jones there was no holding back. The judges’ decision finally went to Richard Jones with Graham Woods coming in a close second and newcomer to the scene, Steve Jarvis in third.
And that was that! Thanks to Boardseeker editor Louise Emery for running the event, GMFCo for lending us everything from markers pens to 4WD vehicles and Wild Diamond Wily Angus for helping us with access to The Maze c/o local farmer Ian McDonald. See you all next year!
Photos courtesy of Simon Crowther.