Thousands of visitors and locals alike headed to Watergate Bay this weekend for the awesome White Stuff Surf Relief Day, an event packed full with fun, action, music and surfing. Over £7,000, was raised on the day and with additional funding still to come the charity is likely to reach the target of £10,00 from the event. As a result, the invaluable ‘Surfable’ project will now be able to support hundreds of disabled and disadvantaged children through the process of learning to surf.
Delighted organisers from White Stuff, Surf Relief UK arrived on the beach to find a perfect morning – the sun was shining, the wind had dropped and the surf was a fun 2-3 ft. Four sky divers from the Perranporth based Cornwall Parachute Club kicked off the day descending onto the packed beach where excited onlookers watched on in awe.
A packed schedule of activities that provided fun for all the family continued throughout the day with a big sand castle building contest which witnessed the creation of some interesting beach sculptures including a huge octopus and a lady surfer lying on a board! The circus skills area, White Stuff T-shirt painting tent and Blue Reef Aquarium rock pool roadshow were really popular with the enthusiastic crowds.
The White Stuff Surf Relief pro surfing competition took place throughout the day and onlookers witnessed some impressive riding from surfers from all over the UK, Australia and South Africa. The Men’s Open saw a tight final between Johnny Fryer, Paul Kirby and Chris Schnitzer but it was Australia’s Jarred Sullivan who clinched the Surf Relief UK Cup. He said, “I’m stoked to have won the White Stuff SRUK Cup. There were a lot of good surfers competing at Watergate today and there has been a great vibe throughout the whole day. It’s been a load of fun and I definitely think that Surf Relief is a great cause so it’s been a pleasure to be surfing and know that we’re doing some good for people who need our help.”
In the Women’s event, Ceri Edwards, Zoe Sheath, Nicola Bunt and Holly Mather all impressed judges however it was Holly who took the top spot and the winnings. In the Under 16’s Open Joe Humphries, Leon Maisfield, Harry Timson and Josh Piper all worked hard however it was a delighted Josh who scooped the prize money. In true Surf Relief style there was a fun board competition which Lewis Timson, Ben Skinner and Chris Thompson all entered but it was the tandem surfers Tom Pope and Paddy Daniels that brought the most smiles on the beach and won the competition.
Enthusiastic local companies generously sponsored the surf teams, these included Adventure Cornwall, Gone Feral, Extreme Academy Watergate Bay, Reef Surf Lodge & Surf School, Mojito, Rushbox, Christian Surfers, Seabase, Evo Management, Skinners and The Print Environment. Rush Box took first place, Extreme Academy took second and Gone Feral took third place in the team event.
Also present for their national launch was Freedom Surf School, the UK’s first ever surf school for disabled people. Showing the valuable work that they do, the school taught two kids with autism in the morning and two paraplegic men in the afternoon. Founder Mark Hill said, “Today has gone really well and I’m really pleased. I’m honoured to have been able to launch the initiative at the White Stuff Surf Relief Day and I look forward to working with them in the future.”
The trainee chefs from Fifteen Cornwall also got in on the fun, donning wetsuits and taking to the water, some for the very first time. Camella Cotton, a trainee chef from Newquay joined the team and said, “I stood up and rode it all the way to the beach, I really want to buy a board and do it more often now and I can check the surf every time I am at work.”
The day ended on a perfect note at the Sunset Sessions. Masterminded by Newquay’s Barefeet Promotions. Enthusiastic crowds gathered around to enjoy the live music from Johnny Pioneer, Tarka Groove, Two Spot Gobi, Barnaby Ray Quartet and Jackson Analogue. Newquay boys Jona and James from Barnaby Ray Quartet commented, “You can’t beat the setting for the White Stuff event. Normally we play in really smoky clubs and tonight were playing to the ocean and all for this really great cause so it’s been really special!”
Susan Crawford, Marketing Manager from White Stuff commented, “We’re so proud to have been part of such a successful event. The White Stuff Surf Relief Day has brought together the best of surfing, music and family entertainment here at Watergate Bay and we’re delighted that the charity has raised so much money that will help so many people.”
Dave Manley Chairman of Surf Relief UK said, “Without a doubt, today has been a fantastic success! The combination of good weather, waves and enthusiastic support from local companies and the public has helped to raise over £7,000, some of which will be going towards supporting a surf camp for 100 autistic children this September in South Devon. It will also help to support a network of surf schools for disadvantaged children and we really need to say a special thanks to White Stuff and Watergate Bay. Without them today would not have been possible and I really hope that we can make it even bigger and better this time next year.”
Photos by Jason Feast