UK Surf Rowers League Championships

The one day UK Open Surfboat Championship 2010 took a giant step forward amongst the rowing elite.

Rumours flew around on the Saturday morning as word spread that members of the three crews from Thames RC had made it to the Saturday at this year’s Henley Royal Regatta. They were beaten by The 1829 Boat Club crew who went on to win the Thames Challenge Cup on the Sunday.

Then the rumour temperature started to rise when members of the very same 1829 Boat Club crew were spotted on the beach rowing as Never Led No Big Deal from NZ!

For any club rower to row at Henley Royal is a personal achievement. To win at Henley Royal for many is but a dream. For these elite club rowers to then arrive at Saunton Sands beach three weeks later and row in the UK Open Surfboat Championships gives the event added respect.

To add further spice to the day, two French crews from SN Oise near Paris arrived at the beach to experience the thrill of the surfboats

In all there were 19 men’s crews and six women’s crews including a women’s crew from Begle FRA near Bordeaux entered in the Championships.

The men’s crews rowed three rounds to gain points and the cut was made to 16 crews. Elimination racing then began in the quarter and semi-finals to arrive at a men’s final of six crews. In the women’s event the Begle Piranhas FRA did not make the final of five crews.

Tensions could be felt on the beach after a day of racing as the six crews lined up to contest the final. As the tide approached high the choppy swells had picked up in size. At the bouy turn Porthtowan Blue Bali, The Bude Barracudas and Never Led No Big Deal turned together and now it came down to who could row and surf the swells the best. At the touch of the flag, Blue Bali just squeaked it from the Barracudas with Neved led No Big Deal – NZ in third.

The Women’s final was also a very closely contested race with three crews turning at the bouys together. Both the Bude Runners and Perranporth Raiders caught a swell at the turn, leaving Porthtowan Pure Blue too much to do to close the gap on the homeward leg. Neither sweep from the leading two crews made a mistake as the boats surfed to the beach. The Bude Runners are the gun crew this season and they must have their eyes firmly set on the European Surf Rowing 2010 title at the end of August.

The skill sets required to row a surfboat well are numerous and take time to learn, but I think the best comment overheard after the final, came from the Kiwis from the 1829 Boat crew “that’s the first time we have been beaten all year……..and I don’t like it!”

Results can be found on the UK Rowers Surf League website

Report from Andy Cox’s UKSRL Blog