UK Pro Surf Tour off to a Flyer
Written by: Press Release
Submitted: 14th April 2008
Mark Harris (Newquay) has clinched the first title of the UK Pro Surf Tour with a masterclass of inspired surfing in the testing conditions of Croyde Bay.
Photo: Lucia Griggi
Mark Harris is the New Saltrock Open Champion
With a brilliant piece of showmanship, Mark snatched the title from under the noses of fellow finalists Matt Capel (South Devon), Joss Ash (Bude) and Johnny Fryer ( Isle of Wight ) in a gripping battle full of drama and technical brilliance.
Entries were bulging in each of the six divisions of The Saltrock Open this year, and large numbers of spectators lined the contest arena to see things get underway bright and early on a sunny Saturday morning in some decent 3 to 4 foot swell.
Winds were still gusting strongly, having dropped considerably overnight, and competitors in the first rounds were tested thoroughly by the challenging conditions.
First off the blocks were the Pro-Juniors, who paddled out eagerly into the powerful surf. It was certainly survival of the fittest in the early rounds as anyone not firing on all cylinders was soon swept aside by the strongly surging water. Tom Butler (Newquay) and Reubyn Ash (Bude) stood out early on, surfing skilfully and confidently through the rounds to compete in an action packed final where a deserving Reubyn Ash was eventually crowned Pro Junior champion.
The Groms had to battle similarly tricky conditions and it was a real test of the young surfers' water knowledge to find a path through the surging white water. The final saw a showdown between stars of the future Toby Donache (St Merryn) and Josh Piper (Newquay), with a triumphant Toby Donache finally clinching the win.
A strong women's field also took to the water on Saturday, with competitors taking the opportunity to paddle out the full 10 minutes allowed before each heat to beat a path through to the larger, cleaner waves rolling through out the back. In a field full of surfers who have been busy grabbing headlines across the world this winter, there were some excellent displays of power and technical skill by less well known names including Zoe Sheath (Isle of Wight) and Jenny Horbas (Bournemouth), but it was the consistently good Nicole Morgan (Ireland) who took the title, beating Sarah Bentley (St Agnes) to the post in a tense final fought out on the Sunday.
Sunday saw the majority of the battle for the Men's Open take place in slightly smaller but cleaner waves. The usual suspects were out in force, top British and Irish surfers who have been raising eyebrows across the surfing world in the past year.
Last years Saltrock Open winner Sam Lamiroy ( Newcastle ) advanced confidently through the heats until the semi final where he lost out in tricky conditions. Alan Stokes (Newquay) surfed well all weekend but was judged to have interfered with Johnny Fryer's wave in the next semi which effectively ended his challenge for the title, but Mark Egor Harris surfed well and advanced alongside first place Fryer. There they joined Matt Capel and Joss Ash from Bude who pulled an outstanding air reverse to secure his place in the final.
Photo: Lucia Griggi
Men's Final Results
All in all The Saltrock Open 2008 was a thoroughly successful and enjoyable event, and a great showcase for British surfing.
A delighted Ross Thomson of Saltrock was mobbed after the Junior prize giving ceremonies by some extremely stoked groms who were over the moon with their trophies, hinting that British surfing has some seriously committed surfers to look out for in the future.
"Postponing the event was definitely the right decision," said Ross, a Saltrock Director. "We saw some great performances this weekend and although the swell dropped off on Sunday afternoon it was a good weekend of surf."
The Relentless Money Move for the best Aerial of the event went to Reubyn Ash (Bude) who preformed an air reverse in his Pro Junior semi final heat. Reubyn commented "it is great to get this extra award which could also have gone to my brother Joss as he preformed an aerial in the Open semi final".
Many Thanks go to all the sponsors and everyone who participated in the contest, surfers and organisers alike, and here's looking forward to the next UKPST event the Fat Face Night Surf in June.
See you there.
1st Mark Harris (Newquay)
2nd Matt Capel (South Devon)
3rd Joss Ash (Bude)
4th Johnny Fryer (Isle of White)
1st Nicole Morgan (Ireland)
2nd Sarah Bentley (St Agnes)
3rd Jenny Horbas (Bournemouth)
4th Hanabeth Luke (St Agnes)
1st Reubyn Ash (Bude)
2nd Tom Butler (Newquay)
3rd Toby Donachie (St Merryn)
4th Josh Piper (Newquay)
Under 16 Girls
1st Zoe Sheath (Isle Of White)
2nd Lucy Campbell (Woolacombe)
3rd Harriet Knight (Croyde)
4th Jemima Knight (Croyde)
Under 16 Boys
1st Toby Donache (St Merryn)
2nd Josh Piper (Newquay)
3rd Tom Good (Newquay)
4th Alex Baker (Croyde)
5th Max Tucker (Porthcawl)
Under 12 Open
1st Ed Smith (Liskeard)
2nd Dale Foster (Newquay)
3rd Jack Davies (Newquay)
4th Tasman Knight (Croyde)
Relentless Best Aerial: Reubyn Ash (Bude)