It might have been April Fools Day, but there was to be no fooling around to be had as dawn broke and the sun started to rise over the golden sand of Watergate Bay on the North Cornish coastline, ready for this years Legend of the Bay.
The concept for Legend of the Bay is straightforward – a one-day kitesurfing competition and a one-day stand up paddleboarding competition. Individuals can enter either, with those proficient in both sports able to enter both and with it compete for the overall title and be crowned LEGEND OF THE BAY!
Saturday would see the staging of the kitesurfing competition, and would take the format of two groups of four going head to head in a Round Robin format with 1st place from Group One taking on 2nd place of Group Two and 1st place Group Two taking of 2nd of Group One in the Semi Finals. The winners of each Semi Final would then face of in the Final.
Between the sunny spells and showers competitors and spectators waiting for the wind where able to look at and discuss some of the latest kiteboarding equipment kindly brought down by North Kiteboarding and Liquid Force Kiteboarding.
Early afternoon the wind started to fill the kites and it was time to sound the horn and get the competition under way. Group one consisted of Paul Stebbings, Jamie Crossman (both entered for Legend title) Brad Shaw and Ben Clarke. Group Two Lee Harvey, Sean Facey (Legends) and Craig Smith and Russell Fields.
With it being a Round Robin first round format, competitors would each have three heats to claim their place in the Semi Finals.
The judging criteria, scoring would be based on style and wave riding. So whilst aerial and jumps always look impressive, for this competition they would not score unless used as part of a transaction of the wave ride. During the 15-minute heats competition would be scored on up to 10 waves, with the top two waves forming the overall score.
Winds were light and on shore, so it was about wave selection and making the most of the conditions. Special mention to both Lee and Ben for some very impressive board skill during aerials especially they were riding strapless.
After the group stage it would be Paul and Ben from Group One and Lee and Sean from Group Two head into the Semi Final. As the wind started to drop it would be the experience of Paul and Lee seeing them heading to the Final.
The Final saw some great riding from both competitor in conditions and wind that were fading away, but it held up long enough for the final horn to be blown, and with it victory to Lee Harvey.
It the league for Legend of the Bay positions were as follows:
1st Lee Harvey
2nd Paul Stebbings
3rd Sean Facey
4th Jamie Crossman
All was set for a great Sunday SUP Showdown and the second day of competition.
Sunday morning and Watergate Bay was bathed in clear warming skies, blue waters and waves. Format for competition. Round One Four Heat with the 1st proceeding to Round Three. 2nd, 3rd and 4th from Open Heats would go into Round Two Reportage, with the 1st and 2nd place joining the Winners from Round One, in Round Three, then into a knock out to the Final.
Watergate Bay, Legend of the Bay whilst being a competition is as much as anything else a fun/social event, and as such would see a mix of men, women and juniors matched up against each other in the competition. In the free surfing period before the start of the competition and having spend his winter training and competing in Hawaii, it was clear that Marcio Dais would be the one to beat, as he slashed and rode his 74ltr surf sup board through the Cornish surf.
The early rounds saw a mixture of high and low for everyone, and the condition charged as the tide headed out. Round Three Heat 1 would see Sean Facey and Blue Ewer progress to the Semi Finals, over Paul Stebbings and James West. In Heat Two it would be Marico Dias and Dave Ewer progressing over Lee Harvey and Jamie Crossman.
One fact for the coming season with Blue moving up to the Open Division he will soon be competing against his father Dave. Now that will be an interesting one to watch. However for today that will have to wait, as Dave was drawn against Sean, and Blue against Marcio.
Semi Final A and it was wave for wave for Dave and Sean. Sean had surfed a blinder all day and maybe his new board, which was bigger and a bit more floaty over the modern SUP Surfboard give him the edge over Dave in the conditions. Sean won his way and a very well deserved place in the Final.
In Semi Final B Blue surfed well, but it was clear that we seeing some great SUP Surfing from Marico, which would take him to the Final.
With the warm sun high in the sky and covering everyone with warm sunshine. There was time for us to run a women’s competition featuring two British Champions, Holly Bassett and Tina Baresfoot. Nothing more at steak then claiming the glory of the victory, but it would also allow the both of them to suss one another out ahead of this years BSUPA SUP Series, where they will both come up against each other. Good riding from both with Tina claiming 1st place over Holly.
The Final of the SUP Surf saw Marico step up a gear and give everyone a great show of SUP surf skills; Sean once surfed hard but could match the ability of Marcio. Victory to Dias.
Only thing left to establish would be who would be Crowned Legend the Bay.
The table was looking like this:
Lee – 1st Kite, 3rd SUP Total = 4 points
Paul – 2nd Kite, 2nd SUP Total = 4 points
Sean – 3rd Kite, 1st SUP Total = 4 points
Jamie – 4th Kite, 4th SUP Total = 8 points
The tag line for Legend of the Bay is ‘There can be only one’! There was only one way to decide… a SUP Surf Off, with all four taking to the water for one final push for fortune and glory. Everyone was surfed out, and even Paul’s dog Dudley was flagging after to days of running up, down and around the beach and shore line all weekend. Time ticked away; with all competitors giving it they’re all. The horn sounds, judges counted scores, and it would be last years runner up Paul Stebbings taking the prize of 2017 Legend of the Bay.
Ever humble Paul was keen to share the celebrations with his follow competitors and Dudley!
A special mention to Jamie Crossman who ever so nearly tubed a wave during the SUP competition. Always impressive to see.
Competition Director Richard Marsh, commented “Another great event, and a great weekend of sportsmanship from all competitors. Organising a competition of this nature involved much effort from a great number of individual along with all the competitors. I thank everyone for their support’.
Richard Marsh, BSKA & BSUPA would like to extend their deepest gratitude to the follow without whose help, assistance, and support this event would not be possible.
- Watergate Bay Hotel
- Extreme Academy, Watergate Bay
- Westcountry Watersports
- Perranporth Surf Life Saving Club
- British Longboard Association for Judging Panel
- Bob Berry Photography
- North Kiteboarding
- Liquid Force Kiteboarding
- SUP International
- Kernow Kitesurf Club.
Legend of the Bay – Paul Stebbings
1st Lee Harvey
2nd Paul Stebbings
3rd Sean Facey/Ben Clarke
SUP Open Surf
1st Marcio Dias
2nd Sean Facey
3rd Dave Ewer/Blue Ewer
SUP Women Surf
1st Tina Baresfoot
2nd Holly Bassett
Want to learn to Kitesurf?
Want to learn to SUP?
For more information about Watergate Bay Hotel/Extreme Academy – www.watergatebay.co.uk
For more information on the swell and weather visit the BSUPA choice Watergate Bay swell & wind forecast.