On Tuesday evening, we were excited to host the Blue Coast Nippers Club first ever Surf Competition – and what a great time we had! Although the swell turned out a bit smaller than anticipated, and a few of our Nippers were away on their Tattie Holidays, everyone who came along got involved and gave a great performance.
For the past few weeks, our focus in Nippers has been to improve our surfing technique and start thinking more about what constitutes a great wave. We’ve been talking a lot about strong paddling, maintaining control at the end of waves, and using body weight and positioning to add some direction to our boards. Some Nippers have even begun to catch their first green waves and turn along the wave face, which has been awesome to see. Last night, the competitors had the opportunity to put all of their learning together to show us what they can do, and it was brilliant to see how far they’ve all come.
The competition was structured in four ten-minute-long heats. The first two heats were randomly allocated, while Heat 3 consisted of the runner ups of Heats 1 & 2, and Heat 4 was the Finalist’s Final for the highest scoring Nippers from Heats 1 & 2. The Nippers learned about how surf competitions are typically run, including why competitors wear different coloured rash vests to be easily identified from the shore. There was an element of pressure to the evening, with an emphasis on a quick turnover between heats, but the overall focus was on having some fun in the sea and taking pride in showing us what they have learned during their time in our Nippers Club.
Here's a rundown of how the competition went:
To kick off the competition, Madison, Jane, Verity, and Bluebell waded in with ten minutes on the clock. Madison caught the very first wave of the night, and continued on to catch the most waves in the first heat – well done Madison! The waves were on the smaller side with not too much power, but it was great to see Verity and Bluebell putting their strong paddling into practice and consistently going for waves.
After a long blow of the whistle, the first group swiftly left the water to swap over their rashies with Rose, Poppy, and Eden, who were eagerly awaiting to charge into the surf. This was a great heat to watch, with Eden catching the biggest wave of the night, Poppy surfing into the beach while in the splits, and Rose catching a fantastic eight waves in just ten minutes! Rose also managed to catch a little green wave in this heat, giving her the highest scoring wave in Heat 2.
For the Runner’s Up Final we had Verity, Bluebell, and Poppy back in the water. Our helper Isla was able to provide one assisted wave per contestant per heat, and it was great to see the Nippers take advantage of this in Heats 3 & 4. Bluebell rode the longest wave of the entire competition in this heat, maintaining great control all the way into the beach and stepping off gracefully at the end. Verity also did a great pop up and had a nice surf into the shallows. Poppy did well to catch five waves during this heat, and achieved the highest overall Runner’s Up score. Congratulations Poppy!
For the Finalist’s Final, we had Madison, Jane, Rose, and Eden back into the water for the last heat of the night. This was action packed, with a whopping 21 waves in total caught in ten minutes! It was awesome to watch each of the finalists demonstrate control and balance on their waves, as well as adding some direction. Rose did a fantastic job at turning her board right and going after green waves. Madison and Jane both realised after a few minutes that their positioning could be better, and sought out a better spot to catch bigger waves– great work guys. Eden showed great consistency with her pop-ups and control, and better yet was her enthusiasm – it was great to see how much fun she was having in the surf.
It was a close night, with everyone putting in great work and having a lot of fun. At the end of the last heat, the scores were tallied, and the three finalists of the night were announced:
1st Place – Rose
2nd Place – Madison
3rd Place – Jane
Congratulations to our top three of the night on your well-deserved finalist placements!
Unfortunately, the heavens opened right at the end of the event, and most of us were keen to get into our dry clothes and head home for a hot shower! Luckily we were still able to hand out prize bags with some Blue Coast swag and sugary treats foreach of our competitors to celebrate everybody’s efforts and recognise other achievements of the night and the season, including:
Biggest wave – Eden
Longest wave – Bluebell
Most stylish wave – Poppy
We also reserved awards for the most improved over the course of the season, with Verity, Bluebell, and Eden taking the recognition for their consistent effort and improvement in all types of waves and conditions over the course of the 2023 season.
Well done to everyone who came along and thank you for making it a great night. You each did brilliantly, and we are stoked to watch you progress each time you come along to Nippers. We look forward to hosting another Nippers Surf Competition next year to do it all again!