No wetsuits allowed | Fresh Air Fix

Categorized | Events, Rivers and oceans, Surfing
No wetsuits allowed
Posted on09 June 2010. Tags: Cornwall, Events, Surfing
No wetsuits allowed
Love surfing but could do without the hype, fuss and paraphernalia? Then follow in the footsteps of Britain’s first surfers and have a go at belly boarding.
Traditional belly boarding is believed to have arrived in Britain with soldiers returning from the Great War of the 1900’s. Stories of surfing from South Africa, Australia and Hawaii led them to copy the Hawaiian wooden ‘Paipo’ boards, which had no fins and these continued to be widely used until the arrival of the Malibu boards in the early 1960s.
In 2002, two friends decided to revive the sport and start the World Belly Boarding Championships (WBBC) in memorial of the late Arthur Traveller, a Londoner who holidayed with his wooden board at Chapel Porth every year.
From the beginning, Martyn Ward, a RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor and Chris Ryan, a Chapel Porth National Trust Car Park Attendant wanted it to be a very simple, back-to-basics comp – no wetsuits, no leashes and no swim fins. From only a handful of competitors it has now grown into the World Championships with over 100 entrants taking part last year.
A bit of wood and a swimsuit is all you need, you don’t even need to bring money as the entry fee is free although a donation is appreciated and even parking is also free if you’re a National Trust member.
Surfers of all ages take part, and besides the serious competition for the World Title, there are more light-hearted prizes including Most Stylish, Best Trick and Spirit of Belly Boarding categories. The boards themselves are also judged for the Best Artwork, Best Patina and Best Vintage, and many participants come dressed in traditional bathing costumes instead of wetsuits.
“The World Belly Board Championship celebrates all that is good about surfing!” says five times British Surf Champion, Robyn Davies is Surf Project Officer for the National Trust. “The National Trust and the RNLI feel it really important to highlight the pressures put on the coast and the beaches and what better way of doing this than by having a really great day out.”
“It’s amazing to see the event that Chris and I started six years ago grow into the World Championships we have today, helping to raise vital funds for the National Trust and the RNLI” adds co-founder Martyn Ward. “Both charities contribute to the conservation of the coastline and the safety of bathers at Chapel Porth.”
To find out how to enter this year’s WBBC which takes place on 5th September, visit
pic c/o RNLI/NT

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