With the BUCS Surf Champs imminent, we thought we would get the thoughts of Ester Spears, Contest Director.
So far as we know the BUCS Surf Champs is the biggest surf event in Europe so far as competitors go – what is it like being the contest director of this?
With over 400 surfers and nearly forty hours of surfing to cram into the weekend it’s gotta be the biggest surfing event in Europe. It is an exciting event to be at and there is a nice casual vibe. As ever the judges take the brunt of the storm and we have two excellent head judges in Pauly Jeffrey and Mike Durkin, both with bags of international experience, who will be putting in the hours to get the right results. Nothing could be done, of course, without the admin and prep done by Francesca Stirling, who is the Sport Coordinator at BUCS.
How many years have you run this event?
I’ve been involved with the event for about 15 years, as a judge and photographer, then as a head judge and now as Contest Director.
In your view what does this event stand for?
The event is many things to many people. For some it’s a chance to party at the beach and for others it can be a stepping stone to a career in surfing, like Sam Lamiroy for example. For some it is there first ever experience of surfing. Mostly it is an introduction to contest surfing to loads of super amp’d and intelligent young people.
Discovering an half eaten sausage in my cup of tea……
Probably Gordon Fontaines’ run in the event, he won it for four consecutive years in a row. A professional job done by a consummate professional.
There’s plenty of swell predicted for the weekend, and kind winds too.
Yeah, it might be quite big at some point?
For sure but at this stage it is unclear as to how big its gonna be; that low is tracking south so we’re hoping that most of the swell heads south for the WCT event in Portugal, and we get the tail end of it. Four foot would be perfect. Obviously safety is paramount and if conditions become dangerous then we will consider moving the contest. Our usual back up beach is Towan in Newquay, but there are areas of the infrastructure of the beach fenced off due to damage which was done in the storms, which is yet to be repaired, and this may prevent us from using it this year.
Most Famous Winner?
Jake Boex – whatever happened to him?
Hot favourites for this year’s event?
It’s not an easy event for any surfer, with 15 minute heats, two peaks and lots a peer group pressure to go and party. In the Mens Division Rhys Poulton, from Swansea, is an ex-British Junior Squad member. The dark horse could be Chris Schnitzer, who is ex UKPST campaigner. In the Womens Division Gabi Rowe, from Port Isaac, looks favorite to add another title to her impressive portfolio. The Dark Horse could be Harriet Knight, who is the sister of British Team Member Peony. Others to look out for include Janusz Drogomirecki, Freddie Seymour, Cameron Maddocks, Adam Bayfield, Rosie Corr & Jess Henry.
What time does it kick off and when will we know who won?
The action starts at 9am on Friday morning and there will be continuous surfing through to Sunday afternoon, apart from when it goes dark, when the champions will be decided.
Wavelength Surf Magazine and Website is the official Media partner of the BUCS Surf Championships, stay tuned to the website for daily event round ups as well as a featured article in the up and coming Winter Issue of Wavelength On Sale 31st October 2014
Interview by Jason Feast.