The 2017 Billabong – MiPost Welsh Nationals
Jay Quinn Lights up Billabong MiPost Welsh Nationals
2017 Champions Joanne Dennison, Jay Quinn and Seth Morris Pic: Pete Bounds Photography
Jay Quinn demonstrated why he’s a former World Junior Champion with a typically polished performance at the Billabong MiPost Welsh Nationals. Surfing at Freshwater West for the first time, Quinn soon got to grips with the ever changing line up with clean and stylish surfing throughout. Jay saved his best surfing for the final, with an inverted backside air reverse that shut the door on an outstanding performance by Rhys Poulton who’d made an exceptional start to the Open final. Quinn who’d been enjoying time with his Welsh relatives prior to the event, was delighted to arrive in Pembroke to a clean 3 to 4ft swell which ended a lengthy flat spell.
Within moments of the 25 minute final Poulton smashed a left to earn an 8.5, which he backed up quickly with a 5.5. Fellow finalists Adam Jenkins and Stephen Phillips had shown throughout the event they weren’t to be ignored, but struggled to match the early pace, the pair soon finding themselves chasing huge scores. Quinn soon dropped an 8 point left, thanks to some good old fashioned square off the bottom, vertical off the top backhand whacks. He quickly switched from old school to new school, pulling a backside air 180 to score an 8.7, that left Swansea’s Poulton chasing a near perfect score that never came. The Open final concluded 3 days of action held at Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire, once again blessed with great waves and fantastic surfing.
Rhys Poulton’s first Open final finished in second place to former World Junior Champ Jay Quinn. Pic: Kingsley Jones Photography
Stephen Phillips relishing the high tide rights, chucking spray. Pic: Kingsley Jones Photography
Joanne Dennison (far right) trains in a pool, wins in the Sea. Pic: Bethan James
In the Women’s Open Jo Dennison was equally convincing, her power and precision perfected over two years of training at the Wave Garden of Surf Snowdonia ensured she regained the title she was unable to defend last year. Whilst her duck diving may have been a little rusty her surfing was far from it. Her speed and attack was too much for Emily Williams, Niamh Mathias and Ffion Hughes to match on this occasion. The judges score cards recording excellent scores of 9’s and 8’s. Take note all you competition surfers, wave pool training works!
Jo Morris and Seth Morris related only by very good surfing! Pic: Catie Gaskell
Seth Morris also enjoyed a superb weekend as he was crowned U18 and U16 champion. It wasn’t easy for Seth as he faced strong opposition from Cieran Hughes, Jo Morris and Jack Mathias. However young Seth found himself in great rhythm with his stylish eye catching surfing and quick fitting turns ensuring he left the beach with two titles.
All of a sudden Ffion Hughes is no longer the grom amongst the grommets! U18 girl’s finalists. Pic: Simon Jenkins
Ffion Hughes demonstrated her class in the Under 18 girls, dropping a 9-point backhand right within moments of the Final’s start. Niamh Mathias fought hard to catch her up, but Ffion soon shut the door with another high scoring ride that now leaves her the undoubted queen of girls surfing in Wales.
Ejay Cogger, King of the groms once again!!! Pic: Jay Cogger
Ejay Cogger successfully defended his Under 14 title with another solid performance, the ever improving Cogger surely one to watch in the coming years, reigned again despite spirited performances from fellow young rippers Rudder Rava, Eli Perrin Davies and Luke Barfield.
Eli (red vest) the 3rd generation of surfing champions in the Davies family. Pic: Simon Jenkins
Eli Perrin Davies became Under 12 boys champion, the Ogmore youngster has been turning heads with his surfing for sometime and now has his first Welsh title. Eli is hoping for a strong future in Welsh surfing. His boundless energy, enthusiasm for surfing and a family that holds three generations of surfers, should stand him in good stead!
The next generation, enjoys their first taste of competition. Pic: Simon Jenkins
Ana Jenkins was awarded the best young girls performer after seeing off the challenge of older sister Mia and friend Isabelle Vaughan. All the girls were competing for the first time at the Nationals.
Mark Vaughan redirects away from Yanto’s rock. Pic: Kingsley Jones Photography
Mark Vaughan completed a double in the Masters and Grand Masters thanks to the extra weight in his turns. In the Kahuna and Grand Kahuna Jamie Bateman and Colin Bright confirmed their titles in convincing fashion. Bateman’s surfing is still on par with the best of the Open, the lines he draws are clean and stylish with a front side wrap that’s the envy of his peers. Brighty meanwhile, must have like, 4 trillion trophies by now; if ever there’s a national gold shortage, Colin’s your man with the reserves!
Chris Seage leans into a fun looking high tide reef right. Pic: Kingsley Jones Photography
Raife celebrates with our catering sponsor and good friend Johnny Williams of Café Mor. Pic: Catie Gaskell
Raife Gaskell and Hazel Ilett once again defended their Longboard titles impressively, a mix of modern and old school logging ensured they left the beach with plenty of goodies courtesy of Billabong and yet more trophies to place in the cabinet. These two are a firm fixture on the Welsh Nationals podium and show no sign of going anywhere soon!
Jack Mathias Paul Ryder Award Pic: Catie Gaskell
Jack Mathias was awarded the Paul Ryder award by local ripper and all round nice guy Harry Cromwell. Jack has been representing Pembrokeshire for some time on the contest scene. He’s a determined competitor and richly deserved this great honour.
Stuart Beale enjoying some of the best conditions of the event. Pic: Kingsley Jones Photography
So that’s it, the Welsh Nationals was blessed with great waves; okay the weather could have been better, but that aside the event was a great success, with the level of surfing throughout on the rise. A special mention should go to James Jones who was unable to compete in the Open Semi Final or Masters final due to serious illness. James however very kindly donated his winnings to unsponsored surfer Ejay Cogger. Nice one James!
A Highlights Reel, captured by local film maker Jack Abbot, summarising some of the weekends three days of action can be found here
To our Sponsors and Supporters, a huge THANK YOU.
Here are those that made it all possible:
The local authorities:
The National Trust and Pembrokeshire Parks.
Jack Abbot, Kingsley Jones Photography, Dave Pearce, Catie Gaskell, Pete Bounds, Simon Jenkins and Bethan James.
Craig Burrows and Stuart Bentley.
Craig Burrows and Tim Aylett.
James MacGregor, Jamie Bateman, Rhydian Brewer and Stuart Beale.
Anne Webster Blythe.
Johnny Hillman and Christian Surfers Wales.
Billabongs Harry Cromwell, no final this year but surfing better than ever. Pic: Kingsley Jones Photography
Please note that all photos are not for third party use without prior permission.
Copyright remains with the photographer as named and credited above.
2017 BILLABONG MIPOST – RESULTS
Paul Ryder Award – Jack Mathias
U12 Highest Placed Girl – Ana Jenkins
Under 18 Boys
Under 18 Girls