Following a great day of close competition and some fine performances, the Surf Life Saving GB team took 3rd place overall in the Sanyo Bussan International Surf Challenge World Championships held on Shirarahama Beach – Wakayama, Japan. The competition featured teams from all over the world including Australia, Hong Kong and the USA.
The competition which is held annually throughout the world features athletes competing in many surf lifesaving disciplines, both in the water and on the beach, in teams or as individuals. Surf Life Saving GB is the leading charity of volunteer beach lifesavers building healthier, safer communities dedicated to saving lives on our beaches and coastal waters.
The Great Britain team consisted of:
Matt Bowden (Portreath SLSC) Katy Devine (Woolacombe SLSC)
Dan Goodway (Perranporth SLSC) Lana Evans (Rhoose SLSC)
Dan Humble (Portreath SLSC) Jenna Hawkey (Portreath SLSC)
Lewis Rosewell (Pen-Y-Bont SLSC) Fay Mills (Woolacombe SLSC)
Lloyd Rosewell (Pen-Y-Bont SLSC) Rachel Pascoe (C) (Portreath SLSC)
Following a windy evening the night before the hope was for a small wave for the competition; however the finals were greeted by flat calm conditions on a warm sunny day. As to be expected from Japan Life Saving the beach set up and organisation was first class. From the early few races it became apparent that the competition in the overall point score was going to be close. As ever the Australian team were consistently at or very near the top, however with the USA winning an early gold in the men’s tube race and Japan winning the women’s board rescue, the challenge was being set. Team GB made the podium in the morning’s competition too, winning bronze in the men’s tube, Lloyd Rosewell and Dan Goodway both having excellent swims, and great performances in the board rescue. In the women’s races the team finished 4th in both just missing out on a medal despite very good swims from Fay Mills and Lana Evans in the tube. The rope at the floating markers provided an extra challenge for the girls in the board rescue delaying their pickup of the patient by valuable seconds.
Dan Humble had a great paddle in the board race, winning silver and in a very close finish Jenna Hawkey narrowly missed out on silver having been overtaken in the closing stages by the second Australian paddler. The girls beach relay team bought close to the morning’s competition with another bronze in the beach relay thanks to a flying final leg by Katy Devine.
In the afternoon the stage had been set for the Oceanman/women and Taplins, with a draw of ski, board and swim, the team were looking forward to a close race. The Oceanwoman was first and Rachel Pascoe took it out from the start to the rest of the competitors, leading the ski only losing it in the board paddle to a very accomplished paddle by the Australian. Rachel held off a late challenge from the USA with a gutsy swim to claim silver.
In the Oceanman race the lead was very close at the end of the ski with Dan Humble on the same wave as the Australian and American competitors. The final two legs finished with Dan taking the bronze medal. As the final races of the day, the Taplin’s were always going to be hotly contested and the racing did not disappoint. In the ladies race, Jenna Hawkey led out the ski and had it not been for the Australian picking up a runner she would have handed Rachel Pascoe a comfortable lead for the board. As it was the team had a small lead, Rachel paddled very well to keep the team in contention and handed over to Lana Evans. With the USA and Japan opting to use their runners as swimmers it added extra pressure as there was a fresh set of arms from the final can but Lana held off the challenge and tagged Katy Devine who sprinted through to claim the silver medal.
In the men’s race it was again very close with Dan Humble having a great ski paddle to hand the lead to Lewis Rosewell on the board. Lewis had a very fast start and maintained the momentum throughout the course before tagging Dan Goodway for the swim. Dan and the Australian entered the water pretty much together and he stuck on his feet until the back of the floating markers pulling just on to his shoulders before dropping back after the last marker. Whilst this was happening, the USA swimmer was closing the gap behind and again with both the USA and Japan electing to use their runner to swim it proved to be very interesting in the closing stages. The second US swimmer pulled ahead but Dan not giving up stuck with him to the beach and tagged Matt Bowden who sprinted pasted the American to claim silver.
Andy Ferris, the Team GB manager said ‘Throughout the competition there was an excellent team spirit and the whole team did Surf Life Saving Great Britain proud winning four silver medals and five bronze. On behalf of the team and SLSGB, I would like to thank Japan Life Saving for another excellent competition, great hospitality and for making the team feel very welcome’.