The British Army Surf Team are crowned the 2017 Combined Services Champions
In a David and Goliath like fairytale, the British Army Surf Team deservedly won the 2017 Combined Services Surf Championship, for the first time in their history!
Founded in 1999, the British Army Surfing team has traditionally been the smallest of the Tri Services (Army, Navy & Air force) teams, in terms of its membership. However, hard work and dedication from the surfers, coaches and support team saw them pull off a well-deserved yet unexpected victory against their bigger bitter rivals.
“…right up until the awards ceremony we had no idea we were the overall winners …everyone was ecstatic, it was a magical moment” Al Sharmers, Army Bodyboarder
“It was amazing to see how chuffed everyone was, and not just those at the championship but past and present members unable to attend, who passed on their heart felt messages of congratulations and gratitude”. Lt Col Jim Dufty, Army Bodyboarder
Held at Penhale in Cornwall, the Tri Service Championships was divided into four divisions (Open, Bodyboard, Women’s and Longboard) and contested over two days. Day one saw the Bodyboard and Open divisions compete in tough overhead conditions, with the Army’s Steve ‘the spin doctor’ Nicholson and Josh Hughes finishing 2nd in their respective events. Steve combined two incredible 360 spins and an El Rollo to secure his place on the podium. Josh’s signature power surfing style scored highly and he was unlucky not to win the Open.
On day two the conditions couldn’t have been any better for the Longboard and Women’s division with perfect 3-4ft waves and a light offshore wind. Though the Army were unlucky not to make the women’s final, they made up for this disappointment with three finalists, out of four, in the Longboard division. Josh Hughes and Mark Spencer took out 1st and 2nd in style. The overall standings read: Army 1st with 7883 points and the Royal Navy and RAF with 7578 and 6922 respectively.
Though unexpected to many, the Army’s victory was actually no coincidence, and down to rigorous preparation prior to the event. Following the Army’s own Surf Championships, where the winners were selected to compete in the Combined Services Championships. The team underwent an intensive training program with the Newquay Activity Centre. The NAC whose coaches include former British no.1s Rob Barber (bodyboarder) and Johnny Fryer (surfer) delivered key training for the team. Each discipline followed a structured program with close quarter coaching in and out of water, and video analysis. Everyone on the team really benefitted from the expert coaching and guidance, in particular, how to surf contest heats, what judges are looking for, when to execute manoeuvres, and improved positioning to become a faster, more aggressive surfer.
“The training really paid off, the team went into the competition with a game plan and confidence, and this showed throughout the heats.” Lt Col Jim Dufty, Army Bodyboarder
“I really enjoyed coaching the Army last week. The surf was solid and it’s not often I get to coach surfers that are comfortable in those conditions. The team was determined, motivated and there was some really impressive surfing”. Johnny Fryer, Head Surf Coach at the NAC.
Riding high on this wave of confidence and looking to build on their first victory, The Army Surf Team and Newquay Activity Centre are eager to bring all riders up to a competitive standard, and are already in preparation for the next event in May, where the team are off to Australia to compete against the RAF Wave Riders and the Australian Defence Force teams.
From everyone here at the Newquay Activity Centre we’d like to congratulate everyone involved in the Army Surf Team winning the Combined Services Championship, it was well deserved, and you’ve made us very proud!
For further information about the Adventurous Training services that Newquay Activity Centre offer to the Tri-Services please take a look and then contact us to book in!