UK Surf Championships at Perranporth Due to a double-booked weekend it's 11:59pm on Saturday and I'm back in Essex, still putting the finishing touches on the Nutripouch surfboard; yes, one of my shortboards is now our mascot for the surf market. I drew a line (literally) at painting beyond the nose because I am definitely not removing years of wax until I have time to properly apply a new base layer. The next morning I'm up at god-knows-when, then an hour after setting off I pull up outside Cockfosters tube station to collect a bleary-eyed Marco.
We arrived at Perranporth around lunchtime on Sunday, slightly late due to an unplanned stop at Launceston -- the petrol gauge dropped really suddenly! We thought we were better safe than sorry, as we were still 40-something miles away. Parking was inevitably hard to secure but a couple of surfer lads were just leaving and gave us their space. Still in travel mode, I almost forgot to offer them a free sample. Eyes lit up as one of them immediately said "we were JUST talking about needing something like this". Off to a great start!
We donned t-shirts and the pouch-in-armband to show Nutripouch's use in the water, before wandering down to the beach and started approaching groups; prompting them with "does anyone want some free stuff?" a guaranteed attention-grabber. Among the spectators were a group of guys from Guernsey supporting a friend (amazing waves hit the channel islands), some bright blonde grommets, and, alas, a surfer I knew from University who's moved down to Cornwall to do her PGCE and surf as much as possible. Wise choice.
We then wandered over to the area in front of The Watering Hole where the tannoy and surfers were stationed. It seemed a shame that tide was so far out at the final stages; either you watch intently by the shore with no commentary, or hang out at the top and know vaguely what's going on. But those around for the morning (unlike us) would have the combination of both for a while, which also means the event starts well, then spectators are pulled forward with the tide.
After hitting up the shoreline, we circled the tented area and it soon became clear that something was about to happen, as the crowd grew in density. We distributed the last of our free Nutripouch samples before the prize-giving commenced. The atmosphere was unusual for a national championship and I mean that in a great way. Serious surfing is a real niche; so a GB surfing event is mostly - in reality - a Cornwall & Devon dominated affair. This means people seem to know eachother and there's a really warm atmosphere. My friend Andrew commented "it feels a bit like a big tennis club", and as a serious player and a former coach; this means it feels like a positive atmosphere!
As we were about to leave, a winning surfer was just walking towards us away from an interview and I was egged on to try to get a picture with him. This put us in the murky territory of sponsor clash so we were soon ushered away -- and rightly so. It's easy to forget that within the small-yet-dedicated world of UK surfing these guys are important role models and are being supported by lots of brands. One day soon we'll get one of our own!