SENSE OF ADVENTURE: WATERGATE BAY
With national surf competition, Polo on the Beach and Sandball, Watergate Bay is one of Britain’s leading venues for beach sports and events
The surf is up, the flags are positioned, and we’re all set for a season of ten fantastic action-packed events at Watergate Bay on Cornwall’s North coast, including four national sporting championships. EMMA PARFITT sets out the stunning beach scene with a few lines drawn in the sand
There is definitely going to be a ball of a beach scene at Watergate Bay on Cornwall’s North Coast this year. Watergate Bay’s own Extreme Academy has just unveiled what appears to be a wave-tossed, surf speckled programme in its action-packed annual event calendar. There will be action, drama, sport and flagship championships, plus the organisers are batting us a new sandblast of an event - national beach cricket.
Set on its own spectacular surfing beach on the North Cornwall coast, The Watergate Bay Hotel and Extreme Academy, Watergate Bay has earned a reputation as one of the must visit’ coastal destinations in the UK. The Extreme Academy, Watergate Bay is one of Britain’s leading venues for beach sports and events. Founded in 1999, the Extreme Academy is a specialist school for surfing, kitesurfing, waveski, hand planing and stand-up paddlesurf along with technical equipment hire (extremeacademy.co.uk). watergatebay.co.uk/events
English National Surfing Championships, 2-4 May
We next meet the UK’s top surfers, confidently strolling down to the sand
for the English National Surfing Championships. The biggest and bravest UK surfing names such as Russell Winter, Alan Stokes, Jaide Lowe and Luke Dillon are expected to wade in. What better way to spend a bank-holiday weekend from Saturday to Monday to see them compete for national titles? This much-awaited event is organised by Surf and Science Technology students from Cornwall College’s Newquay campus, a date firmly set on a many a keen surfer’s calendar. The competition is spread across 14 divisions- including Open, Longboard, Masters, Veterans, Ladies and Juniors. In addition to riding the waves the organisers are hoping to build on the previous year’s successes and plan a black-tie fundraiser and a live feed of the competition via a satellite link-up.
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Thundercat Racing National Championships 9-10 May
If this was not enough of a drama and thrill of speed and surf, then prepare for adrenaline boosting racing in the Thundercat Racing National Championships. Rounds five and six will come to the bay with around 20 teams powering up to clinch the title.
Speeds of 65mph are achieved close to the shoreline providing all the thrill a day at the seaside. The four metre boats have a driver to steer and a co-pilot who uses their weight to stabilise the boat, achieving the best possible exhilarating speed around the course. The top ten teams go through to the final nine-lap heat on each day, with boats battling the incoming surf and reaching high speeds, it aims to put on a real show. See thundercatracing.com
Polo on the Beach 26-28 June
The biggest draw is undoubtedly the award-winning Polo on the Beach when a field of top polo ponies in a three-day event will showcase world-class polo under the bright Cornish sunlight, fresh sea air and the stunning backdrop of the sea lapping on the horizon. Will Ashworth, of Watergate Bay Hotel enthuses: The beach is the perfect venue for so many sports; from surfing to stand-up paddle boarding, to handball and cricket.’
Last year’s event attracted thousands of spectators - 10,000 in number - so make sure you have tickets to the evening beach party for the new element to the event, to include music, entertainment, food and drink.
RAF Beach Fitness: Summer
Members of the fitness squad at RAF St Mawgan will put willing civilians through their paces on two beach fitness days.
Open to the public, the sessions will raise money for charity Help for Heroes by offering a military-themed fitness programme to people of all fitness levels and abilities. It’s free to attend
with organisers encouraging
something in voluntary donations. The circuit-style programme combines bodyweight exercises and disciplines using weights and equipment to give participants a full body workout.
Dates are to be confirmed but participants can pre-register by emailing Sam Hunt on email@example.com
UKSRL Surfboat Summer Series: 11 July
The penultimate leg of the Surfboat Summer Series will be hosted at Watergate Bay on 11 July. Rowers from all over the country will compete for vital points towards the overall title by racing through the waves in 180kg fibre-glass surfboats, each manned by crews of five people. Surfboats are powered by four rowers equipped with oars, and steered by a fifth person: the sweep. Teams race their boats through the waves out to a buoy, before returning back to the shore in the fastest time possible. The contest is organised by the UK Surf Rowers League (UKSRL) and consists of six rounds in which both men and women’s teams compete.
Sandball: 2 August
Cornwall’s only true sandball tournament welcomes both experienced players and beginners to play handball on the sand.
Teams of four face off in this fast-paced sport, in which extra points are awarded by the referee for showboating’ when a particularly impressive goal is scored. (Handy sandcastle skills are optional - only jesting). This event is scored by Newquay Handball Club, the tournament is now in its third year and is free for the public to take part. Teams consist of three outfield players and a goalkeeper, however squads are ideally six to eight people. Participants must be over 16 and can turn up on the day to take part.
Rip Curl Grom Search: 15 & 16 August
Surfing Great Britain joins forces with Rip Curl in a quest to find the best impressive wave rolling junior surfers in the world. The annual Rip Curl Grom Search spans 12 competitions in four European countries and Watergate Bay is hosting the final competition of the UK leg. The grand final will be held in Europe and the winner will go on to represent Europe at the Rip Curl Pro in 2016.
National Beach Cricket: 12 & 13 September
We are bowled over with the thought of a brand new event for 2015,- National Beach Cricket is expected to attract participants and spectators from around the country. The event has netted around 32 teams to compete all-out for the championship title.
BSUPA National Championships: 10 &11 October
The British Stand-Up Paddle Association (BSUPA) National Championships will be held at Watergate Bay for its seventh year on 10 and 11 October. Stand-up paddle surfers from all over the country will compete for the winner-takes-all title across four divisions: Open Men, Open Women, U16 Boys and U16 Girls. Stand up paddle surfing is one of the fastest-growing watersports in the UK we hear, and is often described as a cross between surfing and canoeing. Riders stand on a large surfboard and use a single-bladed paddle to manoeuvre themselves through the waves. Competitors are judged on their style and how they ride the waves much like a surfing competition, but with the scores taking into account the use of the paddle. It’s all stirring stuff and sporting legends in the making.
This article first appeared in Cornwall Life April 2015