Robin Kent - photo by Michael Bolton
The Realm Porthleven Challenge in Association with etnies, Electric and Porthleven Surf Club
As the saying goes, “good things come to those who wait” and The Realm Porthleven Challenge was no exception. After 3 years of waiting and one false alarm, The Realm Porthleven Challenge was finally held on the 14th December 2008.
The idea of the contest was to break away from the traditional formats—which are usually held in 2 foot, onshore Fistral mush—in order to showcase the cream of British surfers in the cream of British waves. Twenty-four of the best tuberiders in the country were hand-picked to compete only when the conditions became perfect. The invitees included Britain’s best ever surfer – Russell Winter, as well as ex Birtish and European champ Grishka Roberts, last year’s BPSA champ Sam lamiroy and ex British champions Mark Harris and Ben Baird. Initially, the contest was to be held in at least 6-foot surf. However, Porthleven is notoriously fickle and the required swell size failed to materialise even after a 3-year wait. So contest organisers, along with The Realm, lowered the condition requirement; as long as conditions were clean and hollow, spectators would still be treated to one hell of a show.
Weather charts forecasted ideal conditions for Sunday 15th December. While the invitees began congregating in the small parking lot, excitement grew as solid 4-5 foot, glassy lines could just about be made out through the early morning darkness.
Heat after heat the competition kept up and the boys did not disappoint. etnies UK surfer Dan "Mole" Joel won his heat in Round 1 and continued to move on throughout the day.
The final was comprised of Gary Wells, Sam lamiroy, Mole and Egor Harris. Gary got off to a good start hammering a couple of lovely backhand hits and floaters. Half way through Sam bagged wave of the day. A solid set hit the reef perfectly and turned itself inside out. Sam pulled in deep, bolt upright, disappeared for the whole length of the wave appearing in the channel to the roar of the crowd – perfect 10 and £100 for “Best Barrell Award”. Mole and Egor were struggling to find the decent sets although Mole did pull into a gaper but got clipped at the end but failed to exit and get the score. Sam’s backup score was yet another deep tuberide getting high 8’s from the judges. Sam lamiroy took the top spot in deserving fashion having surfed amazingly throughout the day. Gary took second and Egor did just enough to take third spot over Mole who made a nice tube but, alas was just after the hooter.
etnies Dan "Mole" Joel - photo by Adam Ludnow
It was a great day. The conditions turned out to be perfect. Not massive but perfect. 3-5 feet and barrelling its tits off from dawn till dusk. The contest was, to quote Sam Lamiroy - the eventual winner, "quite simply the best contest he has ever surfed in this country". This was a sentiment that was echoed by all the surfers that entered, myself included. The surf was amazing; the vibe in the water was really freindly and chilled. Friendships were forged and everyone got shaked off their head and several people went home considerably richer. Even the guys who got knocked out early including Russell Winter, Grishka Roberts and Ben Baird, said that were so stoked with the comp and even though the exited early, they "had a blast".
The contest was a hit with the surfers, spectators and the sponsors alike. It was an event which succeded in its aim to break from the traditional contest mould by showing that England does have fantastic surf and fantastic surfers. It was a truly original event which will be talked about for years to come.
The Porthleven Surf Club would like to give a huge thank you to Brad Hockeridge at The Realm for sponsoring the event. Also a massive thank you to etnies, Red Stripe Lager and Relentless energy for their support.
1st Place – Sam lamiroy £500 + £100 for “Best Barrel Award”
2nd Place – Gary Wells £300
3rd Place – Mark “Egor” Harris £200
4th Place – Dan “Mole” Joel £100
Full epic play by play at Porthleven.com.