“2010 Devon Surf Team”
This is the happy crew I joined for a raiding party on the Spainish Maine. The Devon team arrived to chants of “Green Army” and left a trail of amused & bemused locals as we went. Didn’t have great waves, but we had fantastic team spirit that grew as the trip progressed. Big thanks to everyone who made the teams participation possible. One day you’ll hear all the stories…but for now, just the facts!!
After the 24-hour, cabin fever inducing ferry crossing, the team, comprising some of North Devon’s top riders, arrived in Santander, the capital of Cantabria.
Following Devon’s first appearance last year, when Ben Haworth rode to victory in the longboard open, the team are back and thrilled at the chance of taking on our European neighbours again.
Arriving a couple of days early gave everyone a chance to get in some wave time at Liencres, the local swell magnet.
There was also some serious coaching and video analysis with Croyde Surf Club head coach Scott Rannochan and some brutal fitness training from all-round hell-man Andrew Cotton.
The Games kicked off on Sunday with a parade through the centre of Santander.
The Devon team joined more than 300 other competitors from ten European regions, cheered by thousands of spectators thronging the streets.
Standard-bearers Alex Gibson, of Ilfracombe, and Laura Crane, of Georgeham, flew the flag for North Devon in style, leading the team to the sounds of Breton bagpipes and Dubstep.
The team also received a surprise visit from Croyde’s Lyndon Wake following his early finish in the Oakley 2010 San Sebastian European Pro Junior, where he was knocked out in the fourth round.
The official opening in the city’s main square may have signalled the start of the event for most of the other sports involved, including diving and sailing disciplines, but the surfers were left frustrated by the lack of waves which forced a lay-day early in the week.
Spirits was high though, especially with the coverage the Spanish media has lavished on the team.
Rob Whitney, team leader, said: “I feel honoured to be leading such a talented group of surfers at such a prestigious event and flying the flag for Devon.
“On behalf of the whole team I want to thank all the sponsors who have made this trip possible and the hard work put in by Devon water officer Isabelle Bromham from North Devon+.”
Croyde ripper Beau Bromham enjoyed the parade.
“It was really impressive, a much bigger deal than the World Surf Championships in January,” he said.
Following a layday forced by lack of swell the surfing commenced with organisers running 2 contest peaks half a mile apart.
Simon Daly and Scott Rannochan had a hard task against some of Europes finest . Daly went out for first blood and took a while to get going in his heat due to lack of decent waves, but when a left open up for him, suddenly the opposition took fright at his backhand attack closing him out and getting him on an interference.
Scott meanwhile made the most of the waves that came his way making it to the quarters finishing a respectable 9th.
The Billabong duo of Lucy Campbell and Laura Crane at just 15 years of age arrived at the quarter finals of the Womens Open, but with stacked heats and terrible surf the girls struggled against much older and experienced riders. It was a case of the luck of the draw not going their way as the other heats could easily have seen the 2 girls dominate.
The Devon super groms were a credit to the team, 12 year old Alex Gibson made it to the semis where he had a really tough heat against much more experienced surfers in the U14′s but still secured 3rd behind 2 eventual finalists. Throw in at the deep end, Taz Knight also met his match in a semi that saw him pitted against Bruno Reinhardt and winner Mikel Zamakona in a division with riders 3 years his senior.
“I was really impressed with the standard of surfing displayed by the Devon team, they did us proud.” said Open surfer and team coach Scott Rannochan.
In the U18 division both Jack Hough and Beau Bromham put in sterling performances drawing praise from other teams. Though initially nervous, Jack Hough gave his all in the shocking conditions on podium 1 to grab 2nd place in his heat. The smile as he came out of the water to rapturous team applause told its own story. Jack eventually bowed out in the quarter finals
Beau surfed well impressing the judges and other competitors with his fast fluid style and powerful turns that saw him progress to the semis amongst older and more experienced riders from the European cicuit.
“I was impressed by the groms Alex Gibson and Taz Knight. And I was delighted with Jack Hough who showed great maturity getting to the quarter finals.” said team leader Rob Whitney.
Animal team rider Zak Lawton got off to a flying start in the U18 longboard absolutely tearing the waves apart with impressive combos of smooth powerful turns and noserides posting the highest score of the round by quite some margin.
Disaster struck however when he dislocated his knee before the semis. Though keen to continue Zak made the difficult choice to withdraw from the contest, to a huge sigh of relief from his opponents who acknowledged his prowess.
“I’m so disappointed, I had a great heat and knew I could go all the way. I’m just hoping for a quick recovery in time for the BLU contest in early September.” said Zak
Greg Norman made put on a fine display of stylish waveriding that saw him progress to the quarter finals in less that ideal conditions on podium 2. It was left to the big man Greg Robinson with his powerful yet smooth style, to bring back the silverware for Devon by storming his to final where he was rewarded with a podium finish.
“To make the podium was great, the team were cheering me on and waving flags, I’m fizzing” said Tiki sponsored rider Greg.
“Spirits where high and the whole Devon team bonded well and worked as a unit which got results in all areas, which was impressive as actually most of them were punching well above their weight in the age groups they had been entered in.” said Andrew Cotton
“North Devon+ is proud to have made participation in the Games possible for the second year running. These games raise awareness of North Devon to an international audience and they showcase the exceptional talent of our athletes” Said North Devon+ water-sports officer Isabelle Bromham. “We’d like to see Devon become part of the International Committee. We’ve already been approached by the Committee about hosting the Games which would provide a great boost to the local economy”.
Congratulations to the team and all the sponsors, organisations and individuals who’s hard work made their participation in the contest possible, and here’s to you Mr Robinson.
Alex Gibson 7th
Taz Knight 8th
Jack Hough 9th
Beau Bromham 6th
Laura Crane 12th
Lucy Campbell 12th
Simon Daly 13th
Scott Rannochan 9th
Longboard Under 18′s
Zak Lawton: 7th then out through injury
Greg Norman 9th
Greg Robinson 3rdShare