Over the weekend the names of the British surfers heading to the 2019 ISA World Games to compete for Olympic qualification were announced.
In the mens, the team features Bude’s Reubyn Ash, who’s widely considered as Britain’s premiere all round surfing talent, Newquay’s Luke Dillon, undoubtedly our finest contemporary competitive surfer and Kiwi Jay Quinn, who, after a long career in the upper echelons of the QS, moved to the UK a few years ago, as his Mum is from Wales.
In the women’s, the team comprises up and coming talent Ellie Turner, who’s been having an excellent year on the QS and Junior series, Peony Knight, who is Britain’s most successful ever female QS surfer, and multiple time British champ Lucy Campbell.
However, to get to the ISA’s the team still need to find funding to get to the games, with British Surfing Team Coach and Manager Robert “Minnow” Green setting up a gofundme page to attempt to raise the 20k necessary.
The page features the following statement from Minnow:
“The access to funding for surfing is still extremely challenging. We heavily rely on sponsorship and kindness from around us and remain grateful for the ongoing support.
When we get our athletes to these games, we will have a real opportunity to provide the evidence for the quality of these athletes and this could open up avenues to sustained financial support and development pathways for the future. There are sporting bodies ready to support us, we just need the evidence.
Please could you help us get the team to Japan and we would love you to be able to look back and know you were a part of developing this wonderful sport.”
Minnow is referring to the fact that UK Sport almost never provide funding for sports in the run up to the Olympics where they do not believe there to be a credible medal hope. Indeed, last year a funding request for surfing was turned down on this basis.
To reverse this decision, one or more British surfers would have to make it to the podium at the ISA’s- and even then funding wouldn’t be guaranteed.
So, presuming the public stump up the cash to get them to the ISA’s, what do our British hopefuls have to do to actually qualify for the Olympics?
The first 10 spots in the men’s and 8 spots in the women’s Olympic roster will be taken up by CT surfers. It’s likely other CT surfers from outside this bracket looking to take the remaining 10 male and 8 female spots will be competing at the ISA’s. However, there is a maximum of two people per gender per country able to qualify.
Against this backdrop, a Brit would have to finish in the top four of the 2019 or 2020 ISA World Games to be in with a shout.
Alternatively, they could get in by being the top finishing European surfer at the 2019 ISA World Games.
Based on past results it’s a tall order, however we reckon if any Brits can do it, it’s those on this list and we wish the whole crew the best of luck.