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BUCS Surf Championships ~ Our man on the ground

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Words and photos by Josh Sainsbury and Laura Klonowska


Once again university surf societies raced their way to Newquay in full force for the annual BUCS surf competition. Fistral beach played host, providing slightly dismal day one surf and then left the event hanging with a flat weekend forecast, causing an early finish to the contest. Yet the vibes were high; DIY slip’n slide, flat day wavecraft, Redbull (providing the caffeine and the beats), booze, pasties, pizza and a strong commitment to riding a foamie.


Making the best of it.

In convoys of cars, mini buses and coaches, universities from across the UK headed towards the South West to compete against one another in an all-out surf off. Hosted at the famous Fistral Beach, nearly 400 entrants and their fellow society members rocked up at the north end, stoked for a day of surfing, drinking and sand chilling.


Society members rocked up at the north end, stoked for a day of surfing, drinking and sand chilling 

An unfortunate Fistral surf forecast shadowed the weekend, imposing a brisk and early start to the day. With a dropping swell and 75 heats (54 men’s and 21 women’s) to get through, time was an issue. The show went on with some solid surfing throughout round one. The average conditions saw endless pumping and many a wipeout, but also presented the odd rippable ride for those with a keen eye.


Small but perfectly formed.

In just under 8 hours both men’s and women’s round one heats were completed leaving competitors and organisers hoping for an overnight bump in the swell for day two of the event. There were some woos and wows from the supporting universities, watching their competing peers showcase their skills, before heading to Sailors for a mad one with Mistajam.


Casual stroll.

Day two brought the competition to an abrupt end. The BUCS team held out till 1 o clock, hoping for a slight rise in the swell before regrettably giving up and calling off the rest of the event. Luckily the BUCS organisers foresaw the inevitable outcome and made the decision to use the existing round one scores to crown the winners.


 There were some woos and wows from the supporting universities, watching their competing peers showcase their skills

Gabi Rowe and Matt Chapman, both of Falmouth and Exeter Student’s Union, took first place in the women’s and men’s individual events. With their impressive surfing in the not so impressive surf, they both bagged themselves a brand new stick courtesy of Britain based Airwave Surfboards.


Airwave Surfboards.



Men’s individual winners
1 Matt Chapman – Falmouth and Exeter Student’s Union (1st wave 7, 2nd wave 6 = 13)
2 Rhys Poulton – Swansea University (1st wave 4.2, 2nd wave 7.5 = 11.7)
3 James Kneen – University of Nottingham (1st wave 5.2, 2nd wave 6.5 = 11.7)


Overall male team winners
1 University of Plymouth
2 Falmouth and Exeter Student’s Union
3 Swansea University






Women’s individual winners
1 Gabi Rowe – Falmouth and Exeter Student’s Union (1st wave 3.7, 2nd wave 5.4 = 9.1)
2 Ellen Harding – Cardiff Metropolitan University (1st wave 4, 2nd wave 3.6 = 7.6)
3 Mollie Erskine – University of Exeter (1st wave 4.3, 2nd wave 3 = 7.3)


Overall female team winners
1 Falmouth and Exeter Student’s Union
2 University of Exeter
3 University of Warwick






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