Wilkinson Sword 2015 – Channel Coast Chargers retain the Sword!!!
Llantwit Major’s Channel Coast surf club successfully defended their Welsh Interclub title with a dominant display on home turf in pumping conditions. The Chargers, as they are known to their rivals, got off to the best possible start and despite the odd scare never looked back to take a comfortable win over Welsh Coast Surf Club, Langland Board Riders and Pembrokeshire Surf Ryders.
The Wilkinson Sword has been the traditional curtain raiser for the Welsh contest season since 1980. Having pipped arch rivals Porthcawl’s Welsh Coast Surf Club by the narrowest of margins last year it was the Chargers honour to host the event. A solid, slightly wobbly yet fun looking 4ft swell greeted contestants with the event getting swiftly under way.
First up the under 18’s who were given the early task of testing their paddling strength against Llantwit’s notorious rip. Arran Bright made light work of both the rip and the opposition with a typically solid performance that set the Chargers on their way. Five Open heats followed which saw Rob Blyth (WC), Adam Jenkins (LBR), Gareth Vaughan (CC), Craig Bright (CC) and Nathan Phillips (CC) take maximum points and Channel Coast edged out into an early lead.
Greg Owen – Welsh Coast Surf Club pic by Tim Parfitt
As the tide pushed in conditions got better and better, the wind and rip dropped and the swell pulsed providing a platform for excellent surfing on the Point.
The Over Something’s enjoyed the best of the conditions and brought some of the day’s best action. Greg Owen (WC) convincingly took the over 40’s whilst James Jones (LBR) and Jamie Bateman (CC) locked into a two-way shoot out in the over 35’s; in what was now pumping surf it took a last minute right by Jones to finally see off Bateman. Mark Vaughan notched up another Channel Coast win in the over 28’s, whilst Breige Lawrence put Welsh Coast back in contention with a good display in the Women’s.
James Jones – LBR Pic by Tim Parfitt
At the two thirds mark the Chargers found themselves in a commanding position.
Jamie Bateman – Channel Coast pic by Tim Parfitt
Competition shifted from the Point to the fast running rights of the Ledges to ensure our youngest competitors maximum opportunity to showcase their talents; they didn’t disappoint. First up the U14 rippers, Eli Davies (CC), Jo Morris (WC), Seth Morris (PSR) and Ejay Cogger (LBR) who let their miniature frames loose on the walling rights. The more experienced Jo and Seth, in particular, blitzed the heat giving the expectant crowd plenty to cheer. A near perfect 9.5, (the day’s highest scoring ride) saw Jo take the win over Seth on this occasion to narrow Channel Coast’s lead over Welsh Coast.
The under 16’s were up next in what was a very tight heat. Jack Mathias gave PSR their first heat win of the day over Cieren Hughes (CC), Logan Nichol (WC) and Patrick Langdon Dark (LBR).Angharad John gave Porthcawl further hope as she narrowly out surfed Niamh Mathias (PSR), Ffion Hughes (CC) and Cadi-Mai Poulton to win the Under18 girls heat.
The action switched back to the point with the Ladies and Men’s Longboard heats. Rachel Cosier put in one of the day’s outstanding performances, prompting club captain Mark Vaughan to name her Man Of the Match, sealing a very hard fought victory over an inform Hazel Ilett putting the Chargers into an unassailable lead with one heat to spare.
Bragging rights still remained in the men’s longboard as Connor Griffiths (LBR) and Raife Gaskell (PSR) demonstrated why they are considered two of the UK’s finest surfers. Connors more traditional surfing outpointed Raife’s more aggressive approach to give LBR the day’s last heat win but wasn’t enough to elevate LBR to second place.
The final team results were as follows:
1st Channel Coast – 1125 points
2nd Welsh Coast – 975 points
3rd Langland Board Riders – 875 points
4th Pembrokeshire Surf Club – 700 points.
The WSF and Channel Coast Surf Club would like to pass on their sincere thanks to the following people:
Llantwit Major Lifeguards
Maria at the Beach Café
Judges: Ray Sansom, Michaela Kuhne, Rhydian Brewer, Steve Poulton, Keith Usher and James McGregor.
Tabulator: Anne Blythe
Beach Marshall: Stuart Bentley
Head Judge: Craig Burrows
Channel Coast Surf Clubs Members for clearing the storm damage from the car park and walkways, and supporting the event.
Steve Sawyer and Pat the Chat for the Soup and Refreshments.
Channel Coast’s Curt and Nails.
Channel Coasts – Eli Youngest Competitor!! Pic by Chris French