During the early Nineties the surfer on the Island leading the way was Stuart Jones, but not far behind him was a young Craig Sharp who was starting to turn heads. Over the next few years the gap between them got smaller and smaller.
By November 19-20th 1994 it was the South Coast Championships and it was being held on the Isle of Wight. Stuart was the last Islander to win it in 1991 and it was all set to be a great event. It 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.
Craig flew out to New Zealand with Nathan Holt and met up with Paul Blackley. Travelling with Craig was never boring, and if you want to see Craig Surfing, Skiing, Snowboarding, hiking in the bush, on a glacier, bungy jumping, talking to Sea Lions, camping on a smoking volcano, and even herding sheep for 4 miles then check out the pics by clicking here (New Zealand & Bali 1995).
Craig an Isle of Wight born surfer now lives in Portugal and is owner of Pocean Life, Surfing and Self Catering Holidays in Portugal. Pocean Life is located in the cultural town of Ericeira, which boasts some of the best waves in Europe. In less than 3 years Pocean Life now employs about 30 people offering a wide range of surfing hoidays alongside activity holidays in Portugal.
Craig’s business was recently featured in an article in the Telegraph. The article was entitled ‘Business in Lisbon: opportunities for British companies in Portugal’.
If you are interested in Pocean Life check out the company profile:- Pocean Life – Company Profile
I managed to get hold of Craig a few weeks a go and this is what he had to say;
Craig Sharp: 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 so 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 shankers 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..