The Sunday of the first weekend in September has, for over a decade now, been the day that bellyboard aficionados converge on Chapel Porth beach just down the road from us for the annual World Bellyboard Championships. This year though, the team behind the Champs decided to observe a fallow year (just as Glastonbury festival does every now and then) to let the waves grow back and catch their breath. In lieu of everyone’s favourite prone-plywood wave-riding festival, this year a couple of events took place over the same weekend to fill the void: the 5th annual Single Fin Shootout at Little Fistral, and the first ever Let’s Go Down By The Sea festival held at Holywell Bay.
Let’s Go Down By The Sea was a celebration of vintage seaside style, with vintage cars and hot-rods, lindy-hop dance lessons, ukuleles, the world picnic awards and the bellyboard club championships. Running over the entire weekend, with events scheduled for day and night, the festival was held at Trevornick holiday park and on Sunday a vintage King Harry bus ferried competitors down the road to the beach at Holywell, where the earliest footage of surfing in the UK was recorded back in 1927. There were a few Otter bellyboards on the beach on Sunday (with Mat riding one to a third-place finish), and our friend Glen (who made himself a longboard with us a few years ago) was also there with one of his own creations.
Meanwhile, just a few miles up the road in Newquay, stand-up surfers assembled at Little Fistral with their vintage (pre-1985) single fins for the 5th outing of the Single Fin Shootout. The swell was a solid four-foot, with the onshore wind due to swing around and die down in the afternoon just as competition was getting underway. In the end it was Alan Stokes who lifted the trophy having scored top marks against the judging criteria of “style, speed, power and control” on an incredibly sun damaged, sub-seven-foot, channel bottomed pintail.
Single Fin Shootout images captured by and reproduced by kind permission of Martin Jackson.