‘There can be only one’, has always been the tag line for this unique competition.
Hosted by the Extreme Academy, Watergate Bay. Legend of the Bay is a one day kite & one day SUP Surf competition. Individuals proficient in both kitesurfing and stand up paddleboard compete head to head, for the title. With both Dom Moore and Josh Coombe, last year’s joint winners not able to compete this year, a new Legend of the Bay would be crowning this year.
Saturday morning and as the sun rose, illuminating Watergate Bay, all was set for day one of the competition SUP Wave. Competitors where divided into two groups, Kiteboarders and SUP’er. Each group then did a ‘Round Robin” whereby all competitions compete against one another, and their overall positions gave the four Semi Finalists for each group.
Although the wave conditions were not as good as seen is previous years, with the sun bright in the Cornish Sky gave a warm fill to it all. The early rounds were a lottery for everyone, but everyone was working the small waves and white water.
Quarter Final’s were everyone stepped up a gear, and thoughts of winning the SUP Surf competition. Kite Group saw John Eliman Brown, take on Lee Harvey, and Paul Stebbings against Jack Ridel. In the SUP Groupsaw last years SUP Men’s Winner Dave Ewer, compete against current BSUPA Women’s Champion Tina Beresfoot, and a family battle as Jason Sawyer took on his son Todd Sawyer.
Kite Semi-Final would be between John Eliman Brown and Paul Stebbings, SUP Semi-Final Dave Ewer and Todd Sawyer. Guessing Jason was now going to be Todd’s caddy from now on.
As the conditions dropped again everyone battled to make every wave and every turn count. Dave Ewer commented, “We all want to ride the big clean waves, but competing it this is just as hard, really making you focus!”
The Final would be between John Eliman Brown and Dave Ewer. John and Dave matched one another wave for during the fifteen minute final. Hooter sounded and it was John taking victory from Dave, with Todd and Paul joint third.
Sunday time to pump up those kites, and day two to of Legend of the Bay. Moderate North Westerly Winds and small swell not idea for a kite wave competition, but all very much up for the challenge of the day. In the run for the crown John Eliman Brown was first and Paul Stebbings second. How might the day pan out?
As with the SUP Surf two groups with a Round Robin of three heats, top two reaching the Semi-Finals. Throughout the day the winds started to drop, so after the competition of the Round Robin, the contest was put on hold for a hour to let the tide turn and allowing the competitors to take a break, recharge and enjoy the golden sands of Watergate Bay.
Throughout the early rounds both John and Paul had won all off their three heats. So it was neck and neck going n the Semi-Finals. Semi-Final saw John Eliman Brown facing Lee Harvey, and Paul Stebbings against Alex Bird. The wind was up and down making it harder and harder for all involved to edge back up wind. In the end it was more like a running race. Competitors would start at the top of the contest zone, end out cut up wind, turn there gun down through the contest zone looking for suitable scoring waves, then coming shore and running back up the beach to do it all again!
Time ticked away, and tired bodies caught one last wave for the sound of the horn. Who would make the Final…
The Final would be between John and Paul. After two days, two different sports it all came down to the Final of the kitesurfing. John, with a victory in yesterdays SUP, only needed to win to take the title, Paul needed to win here in the kites, to force a draw and a count back on scores from this morning Round Robin Heats to find our winner.
The final started and both John and Paul kited away from the beach, turned and headed back to the beach, both cutting hard into the wave first and slashing high leaving a trail of clear white water spray. Then the moment that turn the final, John had changed to a different kite for the final, and the unfamiliarity caused the kite drop and twist. It took at least a couple of minutes before John could get it back in the sky. In that time Paul had ceased the moment and pulled out all the stops and was gunning for glory and victory. Although it would be the best two scores from the final that makes your overall, John was out of time to find that crucial second high scoring wave.
Seconds ticked away till the blast of the horn… Paul had won taking victory from John, and possibly with it the overall title.
Judges when back to the tally sheets. The points were close going one way then the other till finally a score and new Legend crowned. Paul Stebbings , 43.90, John Eliman Brown 44.00. Paul had loss the overall by 0.1 of a point to John.
John Eliman Brown would be crowned 2016 Legend of the Bay. That’s what makes the Legend of the Bay so unique and why there can be only one!
At prize giving Paul paid tribute to John, saying “it had been John that had inspired him to get more involved with the different sports and compete. So many years a go he had seen John, Kite, Sup & Surf all it the same day!” He added “To win the kite competition, but loss to John in the overall, he couldn’t have wished the Legend of the Bay going to a more deserving individual.”
John you are a true Legend of the Bay!
Our thanks go to all competitors across the weekend, for making this competition special.
Thanks also go to Extreme Academy & Watergate Bay Hotel for their continued support of this event. To Perrenport Surf Life Saving Club, for providing Water Safety cover during the weekend. GUL Watersports, Westcountry Watersports, Kernow Kitesurfing Club and SUP International Magazine for their support.