Schools Education day at Goldcoast Oceanfest saw the return of the 9th annual North Devon Schools Surfing Championships, sponsored and run by The Ilfracombe Academy. Sixty students and glorious sunshine engulfed the beach but this year one thing failed to show – Waves! Despite the fundamental ingredient missing in order to run a surfing competition, organisers from The Ilfracombe Academy pressed ahead continuing the ethos of an all-inclusive event.
The usual competition format was thrown out of the window and instead equipment supplied by supporters from Lyndon Wake Surf School and The Croyde Surf Academy saw races between the local schools. With some strong individuals in the schools that boasted surf lifesaving champions, they were brought to a level playing field when four competitors were required to paddle Stand Up Paddle Boards around a course. Tactics were also a necessity for students and teachers alike when tag-paddle races suddenly became tandem and triplet events. Needless to say, organisers had to become quite creative but the groms were all kept entertained throughout showing great team spirit and enthusiasm especially from Kingsley school who were leaders in this field.
In between events, competitors were treated to events from the main stage and thanks to the guys at Orca Publications, could relax reading the latest editions of Carve and Surf Girl magazine. After a series of 6 full squad events, there was a tie for 1st place between Braunton Academy and Pilton and a tie for 3rd between Ilfracombe and Park. One final event pursued leaving Pilton Community College winners of the much sought after ND Schools Trophy. The winners were lucky enough to have their award presented by Goldcoast Oceanfest organisors on the main stage. Congratulations to everyone who took part and helped keep this grass-roots event going. We are all looking forward to the 10th Anniversary next year, marking a significant milestone for surfing in North Devon.
1st – Pilton Community College
2nd – Braunton Academy
3rd – The Ilfracombe Academy
4th – Park Community School
5th – Kingsley School