JULY 7th saw the annual MINI-BUGS pre teen surf event take place at Sennen Cove, Cornwall.
This years' event attracted an amazing 71 entrants. As well as the 3 main divisions - BEETLES (12 and under) ANTS (10 and under) and FLEAS (8 and under), there was also an expression session involving a number of British Junior Squad under 16's. The contestants were all in it for the fun but also gunning for the prizes on offer donated by key players in the UK surf industry.
"The idea of the event is to bring together all of the stoked and enthusiastic pre teens from around the country and essentially give them a platform to have fun, make friends and learn. There's also the element of introducing them to competition formats and of course the amazing prize fund is a real bonus." Contest Organiser Joel Gray from Surf Solutions
Competitors surf 2 qualifying heats with their best scoring wave counting from each. The top 4 surfers from each division then make the final and battle it out for top BEETLE, ANT and FLEA. Head Judge Sam Wakerly "The standard this year has again really jumped up, especially in the ANTS (10 and under) division where we were really able to award some high scores for some proper surfing moves. It was impressive!"
The day also saw the World Cockroach Championships in which the mini surfers take on the Swell boards and give their best 'dying cockroach' impression whilst surfing the wave.
Although conditions were more like Autumn than summer with strong winds, rain and an increasing swell, the young surfers still filled the beach at Sennen Cove with stoke and enthusiasm. With entrants coming from as far afield as Newcastle upon Tyne, Jersey, Wales, London, North Devon, South Devon and all over Cornwall they were hungry for a day in the waves.
"I had an amazing day & great experience surfing alongside some great surfers." Rhys Northcott (Saltash) said after competing in the ANTS division.
Last year's ANTS WinnerGabriel Ley travelled down from North Devon. "I loved the comp and I'm pumped for the MINI-BUGS next year. It was really fun to surf with all my mates in a friendly comp again." This year Gabe moved up a division and had to settle for 2nd place in the BEETLES after Cieran Hughes from Wales took the top spot with a convincing display of wave choice and power turns. His prize included a custom 4th (Luke Hart) Surfboard as well as an all expenses surf-coaching trip to Portugal in December courtesy of Surf Solutions and The Surf Experience
The stoked winner said "It's the most groms I've ever seen at a contest. It was like a grom army. Everyone got a goodie bag for entry which had more stuff in it than most other comps' final prizes. I was blown away by the prizes, all the winners got a custom surfboard! No other comp I've been to has prizes like that. I got a bag full of clothes and surf bits, a custom 4th Surfboard and the main prize, AN ALL EXPENSES COACHING TRIP TO PORTUGAL IN DECEMBER WITH THE U16S CREW! SUPER STOKED!! Roll on December, it's going to be the ONE."
The ANTS was decided on a count back after a tie between Stanley Norman from Bude and Joseph Morriss from Wales. In the end Joseph was victorious due to a superior single highest wave and the prize of a custom FLUID JUICE surfboard also headed back to Wales along with his beaming grin. "I couldn't believe I won the ANTS section. It was a tie between me and my Surf Solutions team mate, one of my best friends and awesome surfer Stanley. It came down to a single wave score and I was super stoked!!! The prizes are awesome with goodies from the surf companies. I can't wait to get my custom surfboard from Fluid Juice...what a prize. The MINI-BUGS competition is the best comp for groms out there with loads of different fun activities as well as the main events." (Joseph Morriss)
The FLEAS again saw a Welsh victory with young Ejay Cogger stealing a win with some critical rides just ahead of Bude's Bertie Norman. As well as his backpack full of goodies he also will be ordering a custom surfboard courtesy of NT Surfboards. "As it was my first surf competition to even get to the final was amazing for me. But when Joel was reading out the results and announced that I had come first in the FLEAS I was so stoked. And to have won a new custom surfboard and receive so many gifts in my prize bag I am still lost for words. I cannot get this smile off my face. This is one day I will never forget" Ejay Cogger
Imogen Jones from Newquay took the TOP GIRL award after her Round 1 performance and Bertie Norman from Bude clinched the coveted World Cockroach Championship award. A full list of results is below.
The EXPRESSION SESSION took place in two parts with a heat just before the finals as well as a session the previous Thursday that had been videoed in great waves. The invited surfers represented the best Under 16's in the country.
"I found it a real privilege to be invited to compete in the expression session and it felt really cool to have the groms looking up to us as I remember being in their shoes and hopefully we can give them an insight as to where they would like to go! I thought the prizes were super generous and it definitely worked and gave the groms some incentive to give it their best shot!" Ed Smith (GB Junior Squad member and Expression Session Saturday winner).
The other prizes were reserved for the video's session. After reviewing the video footage and taking into account comments from Pro Surfers Nicco Von Rupp and Reubyn Ash the Power Move award (and crate of MONSTER ENERGY) went to Angus Scotney. The main prize of a QUIVER surfboard went to the Raddest Move, which was awarded to St Ives' 13-year-old Harry De Roth for a stylish slob air.
"Overall this event was a massive success and it could not have happened without the generous support of those that supplied the prizes as well as the staff on the day - namely Sam Wakerly, Paddy Daniel and Holly Donnelly. From a coaching point of view I'm genuinely excited at the prospect of such a strong movement of pre-teens in the UK. There's no reason why one of these MINI-BUGS will not be competing on the WCT one day in the future" Joel Gray
A special thanks must go to the following: Surf Experience, Quiver, 4th Surfboards, Fluid Juice Surfboards, NT Surfboards, VANS, DC, RIP CURL, FCS, GORRILLA, XCEL, O&E, NORHTCORE, CARVE / SURFGIRL, WAVELENGTH, SURFERS SKIN AND XPOSE as well as Sennen Surf Centre and Surf Solutions.
BEETLES (12 and under)
1. Cieran Hughes (Wales)
2. Gabriel Ley (N Devon)
3. Garin Clay (N Devon)
4. Jordan Zervas (Newquay)
ANTS (10 and under)
1. Joseph Morriss (Wales)
2. Stanley Norman (Bude)
3. Jack Codd (Wales)
4. Finn Collins (Newquay)
FLEAS (8 and under)
1. Ejay Cogger (Wales)
2. Bertie Norman (Bude)
3. Jake Arrowsmith (N Devon)
4. Harvey Barkey (St Ives)
TOP GIRL PERFORMER
Imogen Jones (Newquay)
WORLD COCKROACH CHAMPION
Bertie Norman (Bude)
Ed Smith (Liskeard)
Angus Scotney (ST Mawgan)
Harry De Roth (St Ives)