Surfing moves closer to Paralympic inclusion with event at The Wave, Bristol

The 2022 English Adaptive Surfing Open ran on July 7 at The Wave in Bristol. It’s a popular draw combining positive vibes in a party atmosphere while adhering to strict ISA Para Surfing classifications. Surfing England says they are pushing to get the sport included in the Paralympics via both regulations and simply by sharing their stoke of these high-energy events. Check the post below from Hannah at Surfing England…

With travel back on the agenda, we welcomed home legend and the force behind adaptive surfing in England Spike Kane back to the contest after a couple of years out. A fantastic international presence, surfers made the journey from Israel, France, Canada, Argentina and more. It was epic to welcome some of the top athletes on the scene to the contest and show those competing for the first time what can be achieved on the waves.

Contest heats ran for 6 hours on both sides of the lake, with a phenomenal crew of volunteer support. A record year saw 10 surfers competing in the Prone Assist and scoring epic waves racking up the points on the score table. Stand out surfing from Andy Guy, his first-time surfing in the lake since last year and tearing up the advanced, he’s one to watch. At the crunch, Mark Hagger took the title, and Hannah Dines came 2nd, the highest scoring woman in this class. A strong Scottish attendance for the first time ever also saw their surfers performing exceptionally. This event is scored by the top wave on the left and right combining to give a score out of 20 and forming a leaderboard (results below – individual scores viewable on LiveHeats).

English Adaptive Surfing Open
The event was held once again at The Wave in Bristol which continues to show support for the adaptive surf community. Photo by ImageCabin

With every division, competition was fierce in the water and the focus was on. The Visually Impaired 2 division saw Melissa Reid showing her style, taking the top spot, adding to her run of wins! In the Visually Impaired 1 division, two surfers went head-to-head, with Thomas Da Silva from France taking Champion.

In the kneel, the crowd were going wild. Martin Pollock nipping at Llywelyn ‘Sponge’ Williams tail on the waves, Martin was stoked to see his scores ‘closing the gap’ on Sponge, who, in the end, claimed the champion position for a consecutive year, racking up his English Champ titles. Victoria Feige from Canada placed third and was the highest placed woman in this class.

Stand three and Sit only had one surfer in each class – we took the decision to run these and blended with other heats to give the competitive experience. The surfers gave it their all, and we hope to see more surfers join from these classes in future years. We have to mention Alon Avisar who travelled from Israel and went booking straight onto some expert sessions at The Wave, fantastic surfing!

n the Stand one division, 3 surfers charged hard, two entering the contest after surfing in the Waikiki Participation session that took place last year, a sign of the growing appetite for adaptive surfing in England. With the Adaptive Surf Club running at The Wave, we expect to see more surfers coming through year on year. Back in the event after a couple covid years break, Benoit Moreau from France came back with his firm attention on the Champion title, his surfing was mesmerising to watch, and the judges rewarded the waves and he took the top spot.

English Adaptive Surfing Open
The machine-made waves proved the perfect setting for the 2022 English Adaptive Surfing Open. Photo by ImageCabin

Another busy division with some seasoned athletes, Stand two, saw Pegleg Bennett and Nachman Yariv Balulu in another close contest, with some friendly rivalry reenergised that started last year. Nachman pinched the Champion title, he really surfs with flair. Zoe Smith who started surfing last year placed 3rd and highest woman, her development in surfing has been rapid and you can see how hooked she is on the sport.

Finally prone one was an international head-to-head class, as we welcomed Nicolas Gallegos (Argentina) and Parker Olenick (USA) to England! These two kept a close race, Parker just nipping top – incredible surfing and we hope to see you next year.

A standout mention and additional award went to Jade Edward, 10 years old surfer from Scotland, who got the hearts of the crowd all week at The Wave nipping around on her skateboard, and more importantly shredding on the advanced waves.

English Adaptive Surfing Open
The Wave was designed for easy access to the surf. Their gradual ramp entry makes it easier for adaptive surfers to get in the water. Photo by ImageCabin

Check the full photo gallery here and event results below.

Para Surf Prone 1
1 Parker Olenick
2 Nicolas Gallegos

Para Surf Prone 2
1 Mark Hagger 
2 Hannah Dines 
3 Karen Darke 
4 Spike Kane

Para Surf Stand 1
1 Ben Moreau 
2 Giles Long 
3 Joe Dillnutt

Para Surf Stand 2
1 Nachman Yariv Balulu 
2 Pegleg Bennett 
3 Zoe Smith 
4 Louis Sutton

Para Surf Stand 3
1 Alon Avisar

Para Surf Sit
1 Spike Kane

Para Surfing Vision Impairment 1
1 Thomas DaSilva 
2 Ashley Greenaway

Para Surfing Kneel
1 Llywelyn Sponge Williams 
2 Martin Pollock 
3 Victoria Feige 
4 Isaac Heaher

Para Surfing Vision Impairment 2
1 Melissa Reid 
2 Alexander Shub 
3 David Lewis 
4 Michelle Ann Macfarlane

2022 English Adaptive Surfing Open from Surfing England on Vimeo.

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