It’s no surprise that Cornwall, flanked on three sides by lots and lots of water as it is, hosts a busy calendar of water sport competitions. There’s nothing like spending half the day falling off a surfboard before watching the best surfers in Europe giving a master class in the sport in one of the big surf competitions that take place at Watergate Bay every year. Think of it as inspiration.
May always brings the English National Championships to Watergate Bay, with categories encompassing everyone from the very best surfers in the country to the youngest just starting out in the sport. This event has a great ‘grass roots’ feel – it’s a very inclusive competition.
The European Pro Longboard Tour, in the autumn, is a very different species – these guys surf for their living and so they’re ambitious and hungry to win. There are thousands of Euros in prize money at stake, and the competition is cut-throat – all the more exciting for spectators.
Boardmasters, in Newquay over a week in August, is a big, brash, noisy affair. Surf, skateboarding and BMX competitions, live music and a two-day music festival make this a key date in the calendar for those who like their sport with a big helping of youth culture – previous line ups have featured Dizzee Rascal, The Streets and Fatboy Slim. Tickets sell out quickly, so you need to be organised for this one.
Away from surfing, Thundercat racing (very fast motor catamarans),kitesurfing, gig racing and stand-up paddleboarding all get their turn at wowing the crowds with hard-fought competitions. You don’t need to be well-versed in the sports to enjoy a day out at the beach watching the competitions; it’s enough to see passionate people battling it out on the water and showing how good amateur sport can be.
Except for the Boardmasters events, all events mentioned above are free for spectators and can make a great family day on the beach even better. You never know, it might just inspire you to try a new sport while you’re in Cornwall.
English National Championships, European Pro Longboard Tour, Thundercat Racing, British Stand Up Paddle Association National Championships and British Kitesurfing Association ‘Legends of the Bay’ Competition all at Watergate Bay during 2013. For detailed information, see Watergate Bay events.
Early August, Fistral Beach, Newquay, Cornwall, TR7 1HY, Tel. 0870 264 3333