Last weekend saw the triumphant return of Boardmasters after a two-year hiatus, with four days of surfing action at Fistral beach followed by a top-class lineup of live music at Watergate Bay.
It’s the distinct offerings of these two festival sites that makes Boardmasters such a unique event among the crowded lineup of British festivals and one we can confidently say was relished by the 50 thousand-strong crew who turned up to soak it in.
In the surfing competition, it was experience that paid dividends across the board, with both the longboard and open podiums featuring a hardened crew of competitors, with just a scattering of notable exceptions from the young guard.
The men’s longboard finals were undoubtedly a highlight. Held on Sunday morning, the high tide offered spectators a great view of the action, while the solid conditions allowed the competitors to really put on a show.
The drama began even before the buzzer sounded, with local boy Adam ‘Bearman’ Griffiths snapping his leash on his way out, forcing him to turn round, swim the 100m back to shore, collect a new leggie and restart his paddle through the walls of surging whitewash, arriving at the peak just as the heat got underway. Multiple European champ Ben Skinner looked dominant from the start, matching the power of the junky conditions with big hits and finely timed noserides. In the end, he took first place, with Bearman sneaking into 2nd after an impressive performance on a solid left in the dying minutes. Aussie Beau Nixon took third following a good showing against the local pack, with longboarding stalwart Sam Bleakley finishing fourth.
In the men’s shortboard, it was St Ives boy and multiple British champ Jayce Robinson who took the top spot against a stacked field with an unrivalled display of flow and finesse. Newquay locals Luke Dillon and Alan Stokes took second and third respectively, drawing on thousands of hours of experience among the shifting peaks of North Fistral to pick the eyes out of some punchy right-handers, sending plenty of Atlantic skywards to the delight of the assembled crowd. Young Welshman Patrick-Langdon Dark looked really sharp in the run-up to the final but wasn’t able to find the waves he needed to put the pressure on the older guard, seeing him into a respectable fourth place.
Finishing a day earlier on the Saturday, conditions for the women were equally challenging but for different reasons, with young up and comer Alys Barton putting on a top performance to storm to a first-place finish in the shortboard, with Aussie Vittoria Farmer taking second and Ellie Turner and Tegan Blackford taking third and fourth respectively. In the longboard, recent world tour qualifier Emily Currie took the win, followed by former Euro champ Candice O’Donnell, stylish Sennen slider Izzy Henshall in third and Beth Leighfield in fourth.
Overall, it was great to see the whole community back together again, whether watching the surfing or boogying at the Keg & Pasty, it was the perfect mix of revelry we’ve missed so much over the last few years and we’re already looking forward to 2022.