Neal Gent is BSUPA SUP Surf 2010 National Champion.

A big well done for Neal for becoming National champion, Bobby and Matt also did very well in the comp. The guys from the Witterings did pretty well at the BSUPA nationals down in Watergate Bay last weekend. With no waves at any of the other events this year it meant Watergate became the Nationals!

The surf was head high in the morning and glassy, but became more challenging through the rounds as a sideshore breeze came up and the swell dropped. We were lucky though, with enough conditions to run right through the comp in one day. It was really noticeable that the average board length has dropped loads since last year- most were between 8’4” and 9’2”, which is about a foot less than last year! John Hibbard had some new starboards down to 7’4”. Even in this really small surf the shorter boards were standout all day. Matt Argyle SUP GLOBAL-2XS and i were both riding Nah-Skwell 8′”8″s which have already shown they can still rip in Wittering mush!! It’s amazing how quickly you can get these boards going and the shorter length and surfboard style outline make decent turns possible even in small stuff. Definitely helped us both make the final! My tactic of waiting further out for the sets rather than surfing lower scoring small inside waves nearly let me down in the final, but near the end of the heat I got lucky and rode a couple of ‘bigger’ sets and narrowly beat John Hibbard for the event win and the national title! Matt didn’t get quite as lucky with his waves and took fourth in the final having surfed well all day.

In the ladies, Bobby Cooper (2XS/Fanatic) narrowly missed top spot taking 2nd, and Claire Blacklock took 3rd, with difficult conditions making wave selection a bit of a lottery. Sunday saw Bobby take the racing silverware as well-having raced in two classes this year she actually managed to place 2nd overall in both for the year!! In tiny but clean waves we finished with an expression session, and my run of luck with the waves lasted one more heat!! About the only decent wave in all three heats arrived twenty seconds after my heat started and i managed enough to get a 7.0 wave score which turned out to win the expression session as well!!

That’s it for the events this year, but it was great to see a load of new riders attend, even if they weren’t challenging for the medals-it’s a great social and if you’re eying a new board it’s a perfect chance to try out some of next years kit!

All pics Bob Berry/BSUPA

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