Well, as you might have guessed, I was running late in getting "La Bestia" ready, and by the time I did get the show on the road Friday's rain was in full downpour. Visibility on the A303 and M5 was a gnarly 50ft in the driving rain......
Got down by 8/9-ish, managed to get in backstage right beside the stage again, great place for primo "La Bestia" life - can you see her in the pics!?! Time for a beer and chance to watch Ash Grunwald - really good and although cloudy it didn't rain - and was great.
After the GrunwaldMeister I caught up with Matt, Kev & Wheeler, the ensuing session went on for hours, by 2am I chucked them out to get some shut-eye!
Woke at 8am on Saturday, hearing the heavens opening, I tucked up inside my duvet & turned up the heater! The torrential rain stopped, I got up and headed down to the surf comp rendezvous - caught up with the other Judges, some of who I hadn't seen in a while which was fun.
We all piled into Norm's red VW T4 (specially graded so it is in 4WD constantly), we sheltered at the top in the wind and started to get going.
Ben Skinner had walked round earlier saying it was soo small compared to Kernow which was 10ft and onshore. Before long his wish came true(!), as the swell picked up throughout the event.
Always a joy to watch great longboarding, styling, progressive and traditional moves all on one wave.
The Final was the biggest of the day, and happened at about 2pm, really good waves with all four finalists fighting it out. Elliot Dudley opened with a strong wave, hanging five over one huge section on an overhead wave. But the failed to capitalize on it, allowing Ben Skinner back in as he tore up a beast a few minutes later. Elliot came back with another few waves, but Ben clinched it in the last few minutes. The heat ended with all the finalists, caught on the inside in the overhead conditions.
Prizes were given on stage......
1. Ben Skinner
2. Elliot Dudley
3. Nick Dowrick
4. Angus Murray
Then time for a beer with the guys and then some Ben Howard - which was very cool too.
Chilled and did the arena, there is so much stuff going on, and the vibe is always so cool, fun & chilled but these tight-rope walking guys were amazing - pics don't do them justice, but hopefully you get the idea....
At about 7pm I got a call from the bar manager (Kev) and had to go on a mission of mercy taking his girlfriend (Veronica) to A&E in Barnstaple. Got back at 2am, and headed straight to the bar staff's wagon to get some alcohol down me - they were all still up apparently it had all gone really well that evening. and before leaving they had sound some vodka promo stuff - red light sticks.....
We proceded to play various games, hang-man being the most popular at 3am on Sunday morning.........you can see the stage that I left at!
Clearly the morning was slightly rough, I managed to get in the water for a few waves, overhead and lumpy but still fun Croyde. Caught a couple of right bombs, was one of those sessions where you just had to throw yourself down the face and see what happens. Fifty percent were makeable, the others weren't, but they were fun trying to make. I got a couple of stonking right's with one air drop, which I made on my crap backhand, so was stoked. But they were fun, and I caught a nice well overhead left too, which I managed to race a long section to get out on - last thing at about 6pm it glassed off and was epic, but by that stage I was already beer in hand watching the sun going down.
There were so many great bands over the weekend, Ed Sheeran and Woodford Green to name but two, if you've never been to Gold Coast, can't recommend it enough.
Whilst we were in between acts backstage Matt's hacky sack became the official game. But bull watching was the second best
One of the highlights for me was seeing Stevieray Latham playing the chilled sessions late on Sunday, whilst we waited for Nick Thorn to complete his mammoth 36 mile 8 hour paddle.
The festival came to an end at 9pm, we did some litter picking before starting on the remaining beers.
Monday was virtually flat at midday when I headed off, back into more hours of driving rain on the way home. :0(
Hope you had fun wherever you went.....
17.06.11 GoldCoastOceanFest Croyde