2008 Events Set to be the Best Yet for the Extreme Academy, Watergate Bay

Written by: Jim Michell

Submitted: 14th February 2008

A packed calendar of beach sports events will ensure a popular North Cornwall beach is the centre of the action sports world in 2008. Already famous as one of the country's best venues for top-level surfing and kitesurfing competitions, the Extreme Academy, Watergate Bay will host a wide-range of beach sports events this year, including the return of beach polo and an expanded White Stuff Surf Relief Festival.

Kitesurfers in action at Watergate Bay

Kitesurfers in action at Watergate Bay
Photo: David Sims

Watergate Bay is Hotbed for Beach Sports

"2007 was a great year for Extreme Academy, with some incredible new events like Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach running alongside established favourites such as the Headworx English Surfing Championships," said Will Ashworth, managing director of The Hotel & Extreme Academy, Watergate Bay.

"As ever, we're looking to build on the success of the events we run at Watergate Bay by making sure we offer even more for both spectators and participants. This year we are thrilled to announce a significant expansion of the White Stuff Surf Relief Festival in July, and will round off the year with a brand new event, the British Stand-Up Paddle Surf Championships, in October."

The country's best professional and amateur kitesurfers will start the season by competing in the opening round of the British Kitesurfing Association's (BKSA) Freestyle Championships, from 18th to 20th April.

Then at the traditional time over the May Bank Holiday (3rd to 5th May), the Headworx English Surfing Championships will return to Watergate Bay. Now in it's 36th year, the event is one of the biggest draws on the domestic surfing calendar, last year attracting over 300 entrants to decide national champions in 22 divisions.

In June, supercharged surf powerboats return to Watergate Bay for the first of two weekends racing in the Zapcat King of the Surf race series. The 14th and 15th June rounds will be the first time the Zapcats have raced at Watergate Bay in the summer months, and organisers are hoping that even more people will see this spectacular sport for the first time.

"Watergate Bay has established itself as the spiritual home of Zapcat surf racing," said Event Manager Ali Ward of Zapcat Racing. "As a venue Watergate Bay is quite unique; spectators have every possible vantage point to take in the high-flying antics of Zapcat surf racing, while for the competitors the conditions are by far the most challenging of any of the venues we race at."

One of the highlights of summer is set to be the White Stuff Surf Relief Festival - a free beach festival drawing together a pro surfing competition, live music festival, family activities and beach sports and games.

Organisers are planning a packed programme of games, competitions and activities on Saturday 26th July, culminating in the Sunset Sessions, a free live music festival on the beach. The White Stuff Surf Relief Festival will also include a new round of the UK Pro Surf Tour (surfing starting on Friday 25th July). As well as a great day on the beach, last year's event raised nearly £10,000 for the charity Surf Relief UK.

As the first autumn swells begin to pound the beach, the sound of thundering hooves will join the crashing waves as polo returns to Watergate Bay. Polo on the Beach will see two teams play an exhibition match on 9th September in one of the most spectacular events ever seen on a UK beach.

Then in October one of the most exciting new forms of surfing will round off a ground-breaking season of beach events. The British Stand-Up Paddle Surf Association will hold a competition of this new discipline that blends the skills of the longboard and outrigger canoe.

2008 events at The Extreme Academy, Watergate Bay

Friday 18 to Sunday 20 April
BKSA Kitesurf Freestyle Championships
Professional and amateur kitesurfers compete in round one of the BKSA Freestyle Championships.

Saturday 3 to Monday 5 May
Headworx English Surfing Championships
English national surfing champions will be decided in over 20 categories.

Saturday 14 & Sunday 15 June
Zapcat King of the Surf – Rounds 1 & 2
The first two rounds of the high-octane surf powerboat race series.

Friday 25 & Saturday 26 July
White Stuff Surf Relief Festival 2008
Pro surfing contest, Sunset Sessions live music festival, family events, and much more supporting the charity Surf Relief UK.

Tuesday 9 September
Polo on the Beach at Watergate Bay
Surf meets turf in a reprise of one of the most spectacular beach events ever held.

Friday 19 & Saturday 20 September
Zapcat King of the Surf – Rounds 3 & 4
The king of the surf will be decided in the ultimate test - the waves of Watergate Bay.

October - date to be confirmed
Stand-Up Paddle Surfing Championships
Longboarding meets outrigger canoeing in the newest old form of surfing.