Natty Surf Jam
3rd April 2017
I remember very clearly when I sat down with Graham Cullis and Meg Loney, where they shared about the tragic story of Megs brother Natty taking his own life and the background and circumstances surrounding it. At that time, they asked the question would Christian Surfers consider helping them run a surf competition which would form the key part of the day of celebration and awareness for mental health charities.At the time, I felt very strongly that it's the sort of thing that Christian Surfers are very good at. We have great skills, a fantastic volunteer team and believe that God has called us to get involved with things such as this.Fast forward to April 1 2017 at 7 AM in the morning at Fistral beach Newquay, and everything was set for a huge day of celebration and fun with some serious aspects to it that will hopefully benefit many of those involved and culminated in an evening of live music at whiskers bar in town.So much has gone on in those last six months, but all I know is that Graham and Meg put so much energy into this event that it was always going to be a success and our role as Christian Surfers was to run the longboard competition which consisted of 16 girls and 28 boys ranging from those that have never entered competitions before, to current British champions, and indeed some of those who are in the world's top 10.A few days before the event on Wednesday conditions were looking decidedly challenging and we suggested a call to prayer for guidance on whether the event should go ahead or delay until Sunday which in many respects didn't really fit as it would be after the live music and indeed the rest of the day. We prayed specifically that the forecast overnight would either get worse or far better in order to make the decision easier, and it was no real surprise when on Thursday morning the forecast wasn’t great but it was certainly considerably better than had been predicted.It was then decided to go ahead with the event and we had support of a great team from CS in Cornwall, who arrived at 7:15 AM on Saturday morning focused on serving for the day.The family had a very simple prayer circle in the shallow water and then it was down to us to get cracking with seven hours of surfing. Conditions to begin with were pretty good, high tide, a decent swell and not much wind but by the time that the first eight heats of the men's open had finished and the girls were going in, it was decidedly more challenging. Nobody moaned at all and everybody put their all into the event, seven hours later we had seen some fantastic surfing, we had run 21 heats and connected with so many of the longboarding community. The award ceremony was due to take place at whiskers after the first band and so many of the surfers involved moved there for the presentations.Once again, the CS team had worked tirelessly along with many others involved in the other parts of the day, which included stalls from ‘Surfers against sewage’ the ‘Wave project’ and some mental health charities, with live music and hugely popular raffle.Standouts in the women's surfing was Emily Currie and all the other finalists that actually managed to get out in some very tough conditions and likewise big congratulations to Ben Howey for taking the title in the men's pushed all way by Ben Skinner, just back from the world long board Championships in Papa New Guinea.Full results were:Men’s Longboard Open: 1st Ben Howey, 2nd Ben Skinner, 3rd Lewis Stritch & 4th Jack UnsworthLadies Longboard Open: 1st Emily Currie, 2nd Jenny Briant, 3rd Jen Pendlebury & 4th Claire SmailWinning Team – Ben Howey, Claire Smail, Sophie Bagnall and Joss Cresswellnot sure how much money was raised for the chosen charities, but the day was a fantastic success and most of all we believe natty would have been very proud of it.