shorelines Black Rock Surf Kayak Festival, Bude
Shorelines Black Rock Surf Kayak Festival, Bude, has been and gone. As with any comp for me, the week before is spent checking the surf conditions and making sure all my kit is ready and packed. I should probably have rested, but with a dropping swell I couldn't resist the chance for waves so arrived at the competition site the night before and managed to get a lovely sunset session in with a few other paddlers who had the same thing in mind! The next morning was a 6am start with check in and briefing. Due to the conditions, a 2 day competition was squeezed into 1, which meant a straight final in the Ladies short boat for me and two rounds of the Waveski Open later in the afternoon.
The morning was a pushing tide and after a bit of breakfast and watching/judging a few of the other heats it was soon time to get kitted up and get down on the beach ready for the Ladies Short boat final. The waves were better than predicted and our final ran in 3ft and clean conditions. It was a long wait between sets so it was key to be patient and find the right waves. There was a good vibe in the water, cheering and encouraging eachother into waves. When the 5 minute flag went up the race was on to get that last set wave and it didn't come my way! Being the final, we didn't find out until prize giving but I was pipped to the post by my friendly rival Emma Fishleigh who took first place and I came out second.
Next up was the Waveski Open which came a bit later that afternoon. By this time the tide was dropping and although there was still some sets sneaking through the swell had dropped and the wind has also picked up. I got to the final by the skin of my teeth so I had to snap out of the defeated feeling and start a fresh. A bit of music to get me amped and a banana and I was ready to go! Again the sets were few and far between but my patience paid off and I managed to snag two good set waves with a good wall for a couple nice turns. I felt good but I hadn't seen any of the others waves so I wasn't sure how I'd done. A wait till the end of the day and those few moments when you wait to hear your name... 4th place, 3rd place... when it came to 2nd they said it was neck and neck but a count back to the next highest wave score put Savage paddler Sam Ellis in 1st place and me a close 2nd. My placing in the Waveski Open gave me 1st place Ladies waveski on top so overall a good day despite challenging conditions. It means my first lot of points towards the England Team selection for the upcoming World Kayak Championships in Bude at the end of September. The next competition is in Cornwall in a few weeks so time to re group and try harder next time!