Dave Gray wins the 1980 IOW Surf Club Contest

The 1980 Annual was finally wrapped up on 22 March. A meaty depression prowling round the mouth of the Channel produced totally maxed out Compton with onshore gales and waves breaking way out in the bay half way between the carpark and the most westerly visible point of the Tennyson Down. There was no alternative but to most the contest east of Niton to Hope, where it underway at midday.

A disappointment after the Saturday which was gutsy at 4-5 feet with very nice inside sections, the waves only managed to struggle up to 2 feet at most for the first heat. However, the six contestants in this heat made the most of a bad job, with Marcus Lloyd dominating to the accompaniment of raucous cheering from the kids on the cliff above and ‘Come on Marcus, give it some welly’ from his girlfriend. Mike Smith slid a few to the very inside, as did Dave Jacobs, but Simon Rolfe and Chris Hollis really needed bigger waves to show off their repertoire to its best advantage. Who didn’t?

Chris Salter and Dave Gray at Compton in 1977

An IOW Surf Club Competition at Compton in 1977

Heat Two ripped, slashed and bogged out in similar waves – in fact there were a couple of reasonably-sized sets to break the monotony! Perennial champ Dave Gray adopted a ‘ride anything’ policy which paid off – he won his heat. Steve Williams and Mark Todd followed him through to the finals.

Yes, finals! As the tide dropped out, allowing the swell to break a bit bigger and more consistently, the six finalists paddled out for the decider. Keith slid from further out on a borrowed longboard (the right tool for the job?). Steve broke his fin off half way through a kick-out in the shore break and had to swap boards before many minutes of the final had passed. Dave and Marcus, being goofy, rode mainly lefts, the latter obeying his beach-callers instructions, giving it welly wherever possible, whereas the other four shared the remaining rights amongst them.

Final results were:1 Dave Gray, 2 Marcus Lloyd, 3 Keith Williams, 4 Steve Williams, 5 Mark Todd, 6 Dave Jacobs. Thanks to everyone who helped with the contest, in particular the judges Ann Macpherson and Dave Bottrell; Tony Macpherson for providing the duck-caller (modern technology!) and gallons of frothing tea; Steph for the coconut; especially our hallowed Hon Pres, Sir John, for traipsing from one side of the Island to the other with us, in search of waves – bless their cotton Damarts!

Good luck to Dave Gray in the forth coming English Nationals to be held in Cornwall in early May. He’ll be riding a new board from the stable of ex-islander Tad Ciastual’s Vitamin Sea. (Not sure if there is any sponsorship involved!) Dave has also broached the subject of sponsorship to his boss, the manager of Mainstop. The ripples are moving out, and the idea is being put to Mainstop’s advertising division for consideration. The uposhot of this could be that Mainstop will make some financial gestures in the form of wetsuits emblazoned with their logo – which is red, green, yellow and blue!…….

(taken from a 1980 issue of Wight Water Magazine)

(Dave Gray making the most of some very small waves at Compton in the early 80’s)

 

 

2 Responses to “Dave Gray wins the 1980 IOW Surf Club Contest”

  1. Chris Salter says:

    Paul, the photo of Dave and me is from 1977 not 1980

  2. dave gray says:

    cor blimey we had hair then chris

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