Setting off for Peru with no sponsor or outside funding, the British surfing team still retained their belief ahead of last week's ISA World Longboard Championships. Their commitment paid dividends, with a fifth place overall finish, and a silver medal for Cornishman, Ben "Skindog" Skinner.
Huanchaco beach, in North Peru was the chosen venue for the event, which included the best longboarders from around the world, in what the ISA describe as the Olympic games of surfing. The GB team comprised of Ben “Skindog” Skinner, Adam Griffiths, Ben Bates, Raife Gaskell and Britain’s number one female Claire Smail.
Team GB finished 5th out of 22 countries, beating the USA and Australia, with all the team holding their own against the best in the world.
“If we can achieve this with all the distractions of funding ourselves then think what we could achieve with sponsors on board," said Team Manager, Robert “Minnow” Green. "We were one of the few teams that had funded their own trip, training and other costs”.
Team captain, Ben Skinner, won silver after a battle with French surfer, Antoine Delpero, which saw the scoring going down to the wire. In a cruel twist, Ben had beaten the Frenchman the day before in the semi final, however after winning the Repercharge contest, Delpero progressed through to the final.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone who has helped make this happen," said Ben, who two weeks prior had taken out the European Championships. "It really has been so special the support we have received and we are over the moon with our top 5 position as a team, we hope we have done Great Britain proud. The team, have been great and to also win a silver medal in the first Longboard world games is amazing. I can't believe it has happened, I had some of the biggest heats of my life, beating world champs. It just proves what is possible when you focus and just surf. However it wasn't gold and we will be back as a team next year and I want it more than ever”
The team is now is aiming to raise £10,000 to cover the costs of the trip, hopefully with some money left over to put towards training programmes for the next generation of team GB.
To date Surfing GB have raised over £5,625.00 on their www.crowdfunder.co.uk/teamgb page, where you can make a pledge for goods and services from the team. Another £1000 was raised at a Joe Way appeal fundraiser, and the Flowrider at the Retallack resort & Spa also donated £1000.00, putting the running total at £7,625.00.