Sunday, September 4, 2011

Shots from the World Belly Boarding Championships

The World Belly Boarding Championships were held today the 3rd of September at Chapel Porth Beach, Cornwall, UK.
 Conditions in the sea were a foot or two of chop, water temp around 16 degrees and no wetsuits allowed. The air temp was about the same as the water. But it was crowded with a truly hard breed of surfers, who I don't normally see in the local car park. Despite the tag of "world "and the presence of the Sky Sports reporters (it's got to be Transworld Sport material), there was a distinctively old school English feel to it that warmed my cockles. No other nation on earth would have have put on such a brave face about it.
See What I mean about the Old Skool feel?

Somethings don't change though, boys and their toys, will never change. Some of the trusty steads were mighty fine.

I was quite keen to buy the long Paipo board but the owners and salesmen seemed a bit reluctant to part with it, I clearly wasn't down enough with the scene.
Conditions weren't ideal for product testing, apart from the swim suits and hats which were thoroughly put through the paces in some testicles shrinking frigid soup.
There were no shortage of takers for the expression session.
One of the main criteria was length of ride, which limited artistic innovation from my perspective. That was until the reality of the competitors determination to fulfill this objective was carefully viewed. There were people in the Open Division (you had to be over 60, otherwise you were a Junior) who were removing layers of skin off the bellies and even faces as they milked the last remnants of  energy out of a 3 inch sand drainer...excellent levels of commitment and a defiance of the Laws of Physics, which are rarely seen in such public abundance these days.
The mood of the competitors was generally relaxed without much heat tactical mind voodoo going on.
A variety of athletes, equipment and warm up techniques were on display to the not unsubstantial crowd who were free to mill around with the athletes as well as collect autographs.
Above; A Men's Senior Heat about to go out.

Below: A couple of Belliest returning from a free surf earlier in the day.
When heats started and finished there was carnage in the water. From a distance it looked like old people walking in and out of the sea with coffin lids, an OAP equivelant of the recent London Riots. The elderly being so worried about all the government cut backs on healthcare, they feel the need to keep the coffin lid with them at all times incase their local council is too broke and bury them in an open casket.  Traumatic at a glance for the casual dog walker on the coastal path who stumbles across such a spectacle.
I had a fantastic few hours chatting and watching the madness and think the National Trust, Skinners brewery, the parish council, RNLI and whoever else was involved were legends. Never been prouder to be British in this international event.

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