The Boardmasters surfing competition is one of Europe's biggest longboard events on the calendar, it also coincides with one of the biggest music festivals in the UK. This combination makes for one hell of a weekend. We had three Rebel Team Riders: Beth Leighfield (UK), Joao Dantas (Portugal) and Freja Kristenson (Denmark) competing amongst a stacked line up which included current and former World Longboard Champions.
One week later we caught up with Rebel Rider Beth Leighfield to give us the low down.
'The Boardmasters is always one of my favorite events of the year in the UK. It's so nice to meet and share waves wirh people from across the world. When I heard fellow Rebel team rider Freja and her friend Thilde were making the trip to England by van I was excited to meet up and show them what Cornwall had to offer. A 18-hour drive door to door is no mean feat, especially when you factor in having never driven on the other side of the road.
We arranged a rendezvous with the Rebel crew at a little roadside car park, somewhere near Perranporth beach. The aim of the session was to link up with my photographer pal, all around legend, Bella Bunce, escape the hustle of Fistral beach and find some secluded peelers (you would be surprised how much a 20-minute walk from car to surf can often put people off getting in). Whilst we waited for the Portuguese contingent to arrive, Freja and Thilde began recounting tales of their haunted accommodation experience the night before (think 15th century cottage, no signal and doors moving on their own). Despite the sleep deprivation and ferry sickness, they didn’t seem phased by their mammoth journey, no doubt fuelled by the stoke of being on a surf trip in a foreign country without their parents.
As we suited up, I began to feel that nervous hosting anxiety that comes with wanting to show new friends your home and make sure everyone has a good time. Fast forward three hours and turns out I had no need to worry. Cornwall pulled through with the magic and we were blessed with waist high peelers to ourselves until sunset. It was incredible sharing our Cornish line up with such a group of talented loggers. After the session Joao’s young brother Antonio claimed it was one of the best surfs of his life. I will let Bella’s amazing photos do the rest of the talking:
Feeling energised from our surf, everyone’s minds turned to the competition. Across the weekend the forecast was looking like a mixed bag of small wind swell and 8ft+ onshore gale conditions. Not quite your ideal logging days. Looking at the heat sheets the night before, myself and Freja were drawn in the same first round heat. With Joao being seeded straight into round 2.
The day of the competition we arrived early to be greeted by 2-3ft wobbly faces, which considering the report we were all happy to see. Freja and I, had a trickier first heat up against a world longboard tour competitor. Freja surfed stylishly the whole heat, with smooth cross steps and soul arch fives. It was a close heat and I think a bit of local knowledge helped me edge the 2nd place position, progressing on. It was Freja’s first big international competition, at only 17 she’s one to watch for the future.
Joao sailed through his first heat, and despite performing some sick pocket hang tens bowed out in the quarters with a respectable 9th place. Chatting to Joao afterwards we discussed the state of the current European WSL tour, being a one event qualifier for the world tour doesn’t make it a very fair pursuit – but that’s a whole different blog post.
Thilde and I fought our way through to finals day and surfed our semis at low tide where the main concern was paddling out and not getting stuck on the inside. We both finished the event with a 5th European place. It was a big learning curve that we completed in some challenging surf. Next year we all have our sights set on a podium for the Rebel team.
For all of us, regardless of the actual competition the event was a great chance to meet new people from different cultures and share our love for longboarding. Plus, the hundreds of music acts, DJS and bars makes the elimination a little easier to handle. Finally, for the Danish girls, no trip to Cornwall could be complete without trying a Cornish pasty. For those of you who don’t know, the Cornish pasty is arguably one of the great British delicacies. Dating back to the 15th century, the pasty is a savoury pastry traditionally filled with meat, potatoes and vegetables. The crimp served as a handle for the miners, to avoid arsenic and heavy metal poisoning from the mines.
After eating it Freja gave it a 11/10, so I’ll take that. Big up Cornwall.
Last but not least, a big well done to the winners Alice Lemoigne and Eduardo Delpero taking the win in some challenging log waves.
Beth (Rebel Rider)'