It’s that time of year again when Europe’s top wave riders, a host of world-class music acts and thousands of revellers descend on sunny Newquay for the country’s finest surf and music extravaganza.
While recent years have seen our Boardmasters pre-game a little marred by fears of gale force winds and a marauding pandemic, right now for 2022 everything seems to be squaring up nicely, with a week-long forecast of blazing sunshine and at least a few fun little waves.
As has become customary, the good times kick off tomorrow night (Tuesday the 9th) with the premiere of local boy Harry Timson’s new surf flick Stone Cold Not Sober pt III, at Dead Famous with free drinks, free pizza and music till late. With the surfing action potentially starting bright and early on Wednesday morning, it’ll be up to the local crew to ensure all attendant visiting surfers are suitably impaired by the evening’s proceedings to ensure a solid home advantage on day one. If you see a Frenchman or woman buy ‘em a drink! Now, here’s a breakdown of the schedule, the forecast and the ones to watch…
This year will see over a hundred men and women competing across three different divisions; Animal Pro Open, Havaianas Junior Open and BFGoodrich Longboard Pro. It’s an awful lot of surfing to cram into five days, but thankfully it looks like the majority of the window will have small, but contestable waves. Right now, there are some preliminary details of what will run when, released via the Boardmasters App and included below, but we hear these are subject to change based on conditions. Your best bet is to keep an eye on the WSL website for updates on the day.
8.00 Men’s Open Round 1
11.40 Women’s Open Round 1
13.00 Men’s Open Round 2
8.00 Junior Boys Round 1
11:20 Junior Girls Round 1
12.40 Women’s Open Round 2
15.20 Junior Boys Round 2
17.20 Junior Girls Round 2
8.00 Junior Boys Semi-Finals
8.40 Junior Girls Semi Finals
9.20 Men’s Longboard Round 1
10.40 Women’s Longboard Round 2
12.40 Men’s Open Round 3
15.20 Junior Finals
8.00 Men’s Longboard Round 2
10.40 Women’s Longboard Round 2
12.00 Men’s Open Round 4
13.20 Women’s Open Quarter Finals
14.40 Men’s Londboard Round 3
8.00 Men’s Longboard Quarter Finals
9.20 Men’s Open Quarter Finals
10.40 Women’s Longboard Semi-Finals
11.20 Women’s Open Semi-Finals
12.00 Men’s Longboard Semi-Finals
12.40 Men’s Open Semi-Finals
13.20 Women’s Longboard Final
13.40 Men’s Longboard Final
14.00 Women’s Open Final
14.20 Men’s Open Final
Of course, the forecast is still liable to change, but here’s what it’s saying a few days out:
Wednesday will see waves in the thigh-high range, with super light winds in the morning turning NE (cross-offshore) and breezy throughout the day. The fresh northeasterly continues through Thursday, and will definitely add a little bit of chop to proceedings. However, the bit of north in the swell direction, plus the lengthening period should see wave heights pick up to shoulder high by the evening. Friday morning will see similar wave heights, with a stiff offshore making for nice clean faces in the morning. Both size and quality will decrease throughout the day and continue to drop into Saturday. On Sunday, the little northerly windswell which has been lingering throughout takes over as the last of the groundswell melts away. Expect choppy surf in the waist-high range and brisk onshores.
The Ones To Watch
With the Men’s and Women’s Animal Open back on the QS circuit, this year will see mainland Europe’s finest up-and-comers battle it out against a deep pool of local talent. On the men’s side, 2021 champ Jayce Robinson is back to defend his title, as is 2019’s winner and subsequent Olympian Leon Glatzer. With a wicked air game even in piddly surf Frenchmen Justin Becret and Marco Mignot will take some beating, as will longtime QS warrior Beyrick De Vries, who’s grovelled more heats than most of the young guns have hairs on their chest.
Then there’s local lad Luke Dillon who’ll be looking to draw on his many thousand hours of experience at small North Fistral to bring a Boardmasters QS victory home to Newquay for the first time in over two decades. And for a wild card pick? We’ve been hearing whispers that Bude ripper Jobe Harriss is back on blistering form and hungry for a podium. It’s been a few years since we’ve seen him in a contest vest, but you’d be mad to write him off with the forecast we’ve got. Similarly, Stan Norman and Lukas Skinner are likely to shine in the conditions.
On the women’s side, the surfer to beat is German Rachel Presti, who comes into the event sitting at 19th on the Challenger Series. However, young Welsh ripper and defending Boardmasters champ Alys Barton had her number in Pantin, where she finished up in 3rd place, and will undoubtedly be hoping for a repeat on more familiar soil.
Equally in form is Portuguese Olympian Yolanda Hopkins, who’ll be pushing hard for another podium finish after a pair of 3rds in Caparica and Pantin. From the local contingent, Lucy Campbell and Ellie Turner are looking tack sharp after a string of tropical training excursions and while neither come into the event with a high seed, both will be very hard to beat. As will last year’s second-place finisher Aussie lifeguard Vitoria Farmer, who knows the lineup as well as anyone, having spent the last few summers surveying it closely from atop a rescue board. Our wildcard pick would be Lauren Sandland, who recently took out the Fistral air comp with an excellent display of progressive surfing.
In the men’s longboarding, Ben Skinner leads a stacked field of local favourites, including veterans Sam Bleakley and Adam Bearman Griffiths, plus up-and-comer Jordan Zervas, while from the continent Frenchman Edouard Delpero and Spaniard Nico Garcia will be looking to play upset.
In the women’s, Bude’s Emily Currie will be keen to defend her 2021 title against up-and-coming Cornish talents like Lola Bleakley, Izzy Henshall and Beth Leighfeild, as well as 2018 Boardmasters winner Aping Agudo from the Philippines.
Cover photo: @lugarts