The most impressive UK competition finals we have seen for many years. Stradbally was 40-50 knots with mast high waves, absolutely howling cross-off, totally gnarly.
The top 6 men (Phil Horrocks/Rob Jones/Ben Proffitt/Andy King/John Skye/Jamie Hancock) were taken down to Stradbally in Knoxy’s trailer with all their kit from the main base at Gowlane.
The rest of us slowly made our way down in the vans, to watch the best in the UK sail in classic Brandon Bay conditions.
Rob Jones .v. Phil Horrocks: This was pretty close, Rob beat him in the waves but Phil beat him on jumps with a tweaked pushloop and backloop.
Phil Horrocks .v. Ben Proffitt: Ben had the better waves with some sick, late hits but also nearly brained himself by going for a double pushloop. Well not quite..... a howling gust sent Ben around again re-shaping his boom with his nose. A good comeback for Phil after his early exit from the single elimination to finish 5th overall.
Ben .v. Andy King: Andy didn\'t have a great heat. He didn’t get out the back and floundered in the mass of white water, not like King at all which showed just how harsh the conditions were. He did impress the beach crowds with a huge backloop and the best wipe-out of the event but Ben was really on a roll and choose good set waves riding them all the way into the beach (literally).
Ben .v. John Skye: A knackered Ben may have got the highest wave score in this heat but Skye was all over him in the jumps with a big pushy and a stalled forward as Ben limped home with a sore hand and a re-arranged face.
Skye .v. Jamie Hancock: Hancock got a real baptism of fire having not been out all day. He just didn’t get into the waves till the end of the heat and by then Skye had racked up the points and the victory was his.
But this being a double elimination, Skye had to beat Jamie again. And that\'s where we have to take a break because the Head Judge Duncan Coombes has withheld the result until the evening when the fleet will watch footage from the last two days courtesy of Boardseeker at the Seven Hogs Pub.
We will bring you the result as soon as WE know!
After all the Stradbally excitement, the judges tried to find a beach that was suitable for the other fleets but everywhere was totally blown out and very, very gnarly so the day ended around 5pm.
Friday is forecasted to be BIGGER - who would have thought it in early May....
Photos from Simon Crowther to folllow but here are a few we took from the sand dunes to give you some idea of what awesome conditons we had today.
Photo Credit: Boardseeker/Louise