The Isle of Wight Surf Club team headed down to Woolacombe last weekend for the 2011 British Interclub Championships. Matt Harwood had put together a strong team with Doug Richards, Josh Jupe, Chris Mannion, Mark New and Craig Sharp joining him. This years event was being scored differently to previous years with only one day to fit everything in and there was only one heat for each team member. During free surfing the boys looked good, but during the heats they couldn’t seem to find the high scoring waves. Local knowledge paid off for the teams from Devon coming out on top. With the Island scoring 2nd’s, 3rd’s and 4th’s in their heats it wasn’t enough for a podium this year. In the Masters category the old timers in the team faired better, Craig and Chris showing that experience was the key coming 2nd overall.
While at the South Coast Surfing Championships at the weekend this trophy reappeared having not been seen since the early 90’s. On the trophy there are little shields listing all the previous winners going back to 1973. We would love to find out who the winners of the championship were prior to 1973 and obviously all the winners since. The last one on the trophy is Stuart Jones in 1991. I remember Craig Sharp winning it back in 1994 and Johnny Fryer was also a winner of the South Coast too. Please let me know if you have information of any others.
South Coast Surfing Championships
The Shore Surf Club
1973 – Eric Davies – Shore Surf Club
1974 – Roger Preston – Wessex Surf Club
1975 – Guy Penwarden – Wessex Surf Club
1976 – Rodney Sumpter – Shore Surf Club
1977 – Guy Penwarden – Wessex Surf Club
1978 – Guy Penwarden – Wessex Surf Club
1979 – Guy Penwarden – Wessex Surf Club
1982 – Paul Wiltsher – Shore Surf Club
1983 – Nick Schofield – Brighton Surf Club
1984 – Guy Penwarden – Wessex Surf Club
1985 – Rob Vaughan – Harbour Surf Club
1986 – Nick castle – Wessex Surf Club
1987 – Brian Haugh – Shore Surf Club
1990 – Dereck Dear – Wessex Surf Club
1991 – Stuart Jones – Isle of Wight Surf Club
I also have come across a report from the 1994 South Coast Surfing Championships held here at Niton on the Isle of Wight and have copied it here.
South Coast Surf Competition
After being postponed twice because of the lack of competitors and then surf, the South Coast Surf Comp was finally held on the weekend of November 19 & 20. Surfers from the Island and mainland competed at Niton in a good size wave 2 – 6 foot, helped considerably by the S.W. 5 – 6 wind.
There were a total of 30 competitors, a small number having travelled from ‘over the water’. The competition categories were Longboard, Open and Junior. The Longboard and Open had 4 heats – 1st and 2nd placed surfers going straight into the semi finals – 3rd and 4th placed surfers going ino the repercharge. The Juniors had the semi final and then a final.
Open – The tide had dropped back considerably, and the waves were a good deal smaller than they had been earlier on when the semi’s were held. A close fought competition with the eventual winner being Craig Sharp, beating the 1991 South Coast winner Stuart Jones to second place. Third was Ross Williams and fourth Paul Blackley.
Longboard – Three mainland surfers – Matt Terry, Simon Wilkins and Eric Davies along with well known Island surfer (and surf club chairman) Ray Hutchings, made it to the final. Another close contest, the victor being 1st Matt Terry, 2nd Eric Davies, 3rd Simon Firley and 4th Ray Hutchings.
Junior – 1st Ross Williams, 2nd Craig Sharp, 3rd Nick Dennington, 4th Ian Wardle
Other category winners were Richard Balding – Junior Longboard, Johnny Fryer – Cadet, Nick Dennington – Youth, Master Longboard – Eric Davies.
The competition was sponsored by Sola, G & S clothing and Offshore Sports. The winners and runners up receiving prizes ranging from bags and sweatshirts to vouchers for £20 .00-£100.00 to use to purchase a new Sola wetsuit.
The owners of the Castlehaven Caravan site were very hospitable. Snacks and hot drinks were very welcome amongst the cold surfers and damp spectators.
FULL LIST OF RESULTS
Longboard Master – Eric Davies
U16 – Nick Dennington
U14 – John Fryer
Junior Longboard – Richard Balding
Open Master – Eric Davies
Comments about South Coast Contest
Oops!! – Everyone saw the ten foot sleeper, bobbing past Castlehaven on Sunday everyone it seemed except for Ray!! CRASH ! Ray did a neat little manoeuvre straight into the path of the king sized log. Consequence, one flattened fin! Must be the underpants!!!!!!!!!!!
Watch out Paul!! – Picture the scene Sunday morning – earlyish! One cafe with stripy awning, one orange VW Camper with Roof Rack. BUMP one cafe without awning, one VW Camper with roof rack and smashing stripy awning. UMM Men Drivers
Testy Rigsy! – Chris – you ‘performed’ really well on Sunday morning, when Big C sent you out to test the paddle out and strong rip. Shame you didn’t ‘perform’ so well in the heats – what happened?
Unlucky – Recently returned from living in Newquay – it was almost a foregone conclusion that with his longboarding skills, Alan Reed would reach the longboard final. Or so it would have seemed. Unfortunately after two unintentional interferences, one in the first heat, and second in the semi’s it was a shame to se him knocked out.
Little’un – Well done to ten year old John Fryer from Brighstone. He was by far the youngest and the smallest competitor in the competition. He surfed in tough conditions over the weekend, but came away with the prize for the best cadet surfer.
BANG, BUMP, CRASH, SMASH – To all those hits and near misses – which involved short boarders, longboarders, surf skiers and bodyboarders – COME TO OFFSHORE SPORTS for all your ding and repair kit needs.
Craig Sharp is an Isle of Wight born surfer and now businessman of Pocean Vacations, Surfing and Self Catering Holidays and in less than 3 years employs about 30 people. Pocean life offers a wide range of surfing hoidays alongside activity holidays in Portugal. Pocean Life is located in the cultural town of Ericeira, which boasts some of the best waves in Europe.
Craig’s business was recently featured in an article in the Telegraph ‘Business in Lisbon: opportunities for British companies in Portugal’.
During the early Nineties the surfer on the Island leading the way was Stu Jones who was starting doing airs and seeming to get amazing speed out of any wave he rode. But not far behind him was a young Craig Sharp was starting to turn heads.
November 19-20th 1994 was the South Coast Championships and it was being held on the Isle of Wight. Stuart Jones was the last Islander to win it in 1991 and it was all set to be a great event. The event was held at Niton in good size waves helped by a force 5-6 south west wind. The final was between Stuart Jones, Craig Sharp, Ross Williams and Paul Blackley. Paul and Ross didn’t get a look in as Craig and Stuart battled to become champion. It was very close but the young Craig came out on top to become the 1994 South Coast Champion.
I managed to get hold of Craig a few weeks a go and this is what he had to say;
I have just sat down to think about the IOW surf scene and what it all meant to me growing up on the island. So here we go:
I remember skateboarding at Shanklin pier around 1990… At this time just a few of the boys surfed liked Edd Thompson , Dave Grey and Paul Wilson. They were the Shankers boys and I watched them from the pier end where we all used to skate.. To be honest at that time I preferred the skate scene as I just thought the surf looked kind of slow.. However after a little persuasion from Edd Thompson I managed to have a session down at Wight Waters on the foamies.. Well of course one wave was all it took for me to be totally hooked. I then asked my mum to buy me a board sooo she did and it was from Raf .. A 6.8 critical section., thanks Rick !! So I surfed everyday until dark and on all conditions.. I would call Edd every day about the surf and we became the shakers groms hahaha..
I really grew into the surf when I started to go to Niton.. I think the wave made me a better surfer as it allowed me to do turns which I always watched in movies from the likes of Kelly Slater, Luke Egan and Shane Dorian… They were the guys for me.. But I must say Stu Jones had an influence over me to perform, he was a radical surfer and I looked up to him for that, so I really wanted to beat him in a competition which came about in the south coast championships.. I was so pleased to win the event on the island it was a special surf scene for all of us at the time.. What a great day !!
After that I journeyed onto some amazing surf trips with Blackley, having surfed some of the best waves in NZ and growing up mentally as a surfer, I was now ready for the surfers path. Since The IOW I have competed in competitions around the Globe which have provided me with a lot of fun and at times financial rewards but the main thing for me today is that surfing is a lifestyle and without the Isle of Wight none of this would be possible. Thank you to all the surf breaks on the Island and all my friends who were of my life. Now I am in Portugal still surfing and making my life from the surf so come on boys lets do an IOW surf session in Coxos..
‘Surf’s Up with IW History on Film’ by The Isle of Wight County Press
Johnny Fryer made cover for The British Surfing Magazine Wavelength, issue Sept 168 in 2007. The article to go with the cover shot was entitled ‘The Magnificent 7 ride’. It was a piece about a boat trip to Indonesia with a selection of Britain’s best surfers Oli Adams, Gary & Danny Wells, Isaac Kibblewhite, Matty […]
Gallery of the images that were displayed on the ‘history wall’ at the opening wight surf history exhibition