‘There can be only one’, has always been the tag line for this unique competition.
Hosted by the Extreme Academy, Watergate Bay, Legend of the Bay is a one day kite & one day SUP Surf competition. Individuals proficient in both kitesurfing and stand up paddleboard compete head to head, for the title. With both Dom Moore and Josh Coombe, last year’s joint winners not able to compete this year, a new Legend of the Bay would be crowned in 2016.
Although the wave conditions were not as good as seen is previous years, with the sun bright in the Cornish sky gave a warm fill to it all. The early rounds were a lottery for everyone, but everyone was working the small waves and white water.
Quarter final’s were everyone stepped up a gear, and thoughts of winning the SUP Surf competition. Kite Group saw John Eliman Brown, take on Lee Harvey, and Paul Stebbings against Jack Ridel. In the SUP group last year’s SUP Men’s winner Dave Ewer, competed against current BSUPA Women’s champion Tina Beresfoot, and a family battle as Jason Sawyer took on his son Todd Sawyer.
Kite semi-final would be between John Eliman Brown and Paul Stebbings, SUP Semi-Final Dave Ewer and Todd Sawyer.
As the conditions dropped again everyone battled to make every wave and every turn count. Dave Ewer commented, “We all want to ride the big clean waves, but competing it this is just as hard, really making you focus!”
The final would be between John Eliman Brown and Dave Ewer. John and Dave matched one another wave for during the fifteen-minute final. Hooter sounded and it was John taking victory from Dave, with Todd and Paul joint third.
Sunday – time to pump up those kites, for day two. Moderate north westerly winds and small swell – not ideal for a kite wave competition, but all were very much up for the challenge on the day. In the run for the crown John Eliman Brown was first and Paul Stebbings second. How might the day pan out?
The semi-final saw John Eliman Brown facing Lee Harvey, and Paul Stebbings against Alex Bird. The wind was up and down making it harder and harder for all involved to edge back up wind. In the end it was more like a running race – competitors would start at the top of the contest zone, head out, cut up wind, turn their gun down through the contest zone looking for suitable scoring waves, then coming ashore and running back up the beach to do it all again!
The final would be between John and Paul. After two days, two different sports it all came down to the final of the kitesurfing. John, with a victory in yesterday’s SUP, only needed to win to take the title. Paul needed to win here in the kites, to force a draw and a count back on scores from this morning round robin heats to find our winner.
The final started and both John and Paul kited away from the beach, turned and headed back to the beach, both cutting hard into the wave first and slashing high leaving a trail of clear white water spray. Then, the moment that turned the final – John had changed to a different kite for the final, and the unfamiliarity caused the kite to drop and twist. It took at least a couple of minutes before John could get it back in the sky. In that time Paul had seized the moment and pulled out all the stops and was gunning for glory and victory. Although it would be the best two scores from the final that makes your overall, John was out of time to find that crucial second high scoring wave.
Paul had won taking victory from John, and possibly with it the overall title.
Judges went back to the tally sheets. The points were close – Paul Stebbings , 43.90, John Eliman Brown 44.00. Paul had lost the overall by 0.1 of a point to John!
John Eliman Brown would be crowned 2016 Legend of the Bay. That’s what makes the Legend of the Bay so unique and why there can be only one!
At prize giving, Paul paid tribute to John saying, it had been John that had inspired him to get more involved with the different sports and compete. So many years ago he had seen John kite, SUP & surf all in the same day! He added “To win the kite competition, but lose to John in the overall, he couldn’t have wished the Legend of the Bay going to a more deserving individual.”
John you are a true Legend of the Bay!
Our thanks go to all competitors across the weekend, for making this competition special.
Thanks also go to Extreme Academy & Watergate Bay Hotel for their continued support of this event.
To Perranporth Surf Life Saving Club, for providing Water Safety cover during the weekend.
And thanks to GUL Watersports, Westcountry Watersports, Kernow Kitesurfing Club and SUP International Magazine for their support.
2016 Legend of the Bay – John Eliman Brown
1st – John Eliman Brown
2nd – Dave Ewer
3rd Paul Stebbings/Todd Sawyer
1st Paul Stebbings
2nd John Eliman Brown
3rd Lee Harvey/Alex Bird