Carden, competing in the Masters division, was the last member of the Channel Islands team left in the event.Having surfed his way to the final, Carden, along with Chris Griffiths (Wales), Martin Mynne (England) and Pedro Araujo (Portugal), was devastated to learn that officials from the European Surfing Federation had cancelled the remainder of the event because of pollution concerns.’The run-off from the heavy rains had left the beach in a bit of a state.
Even so, they had two full days to complete only eight hours of surfing.
Instead of waiting to see what happened, or moving the contest to another site, they just walked away!’ he said.He added: ‘I don’t think the officials have any idea what that meant to the surfers.
We’ve all sacrificed a lot to be here.
They could have finished the contest.
They didn’t and that is a great shame.’Up to the time the competition was cancelled, surfers from 13 nations, competing in seven divisions, had battled it out in the tricky conditions at Playa los Canteras, a surfing beach located in Gran Canaria’s capital, Las Palmas.
The Open was dominated by Spanish, French and Portuguese surfers along with the 1989 World Professional champion, Martin Potter of England and current pro stars, Sean Holmes (Italy), Marlon Lipke (Germany) and Jake Boex (England).In the Open, the CI’s most inspired performance came in the second round from Jersey’s Ben Chapman.
He entertained the huge crowd with an electric display of vertical surfing.
Chapman advanced in first place, thereby relegating Boex, the English pro, to the losers round.Unfortunately, Chapman was taken ill the following day and was forced to retire.Other strong performances came from Andy Cummins who put in a gallant effort despite suffering from the same mystery stomach bug as Chapman.
Guernsey surfers Johnny Wallbridge and Tom Hill impressed as did current CI Open champ, Sam George and the evergreen Mark Durbano.In the longboard division, Jersey’s Ben Skinner, a favourite to win the event, was the victim of an incredible last-minute decision to move his semi-final heat forward by one day.
It left CI manager Tony Lang and other team members, frantically searching for Ben.
All to no avail.
When he arrived at the beach a couple of hours after his heat, he was understandably distraught.
In the ladies division, Lucy McAteer and Esther Lemprière, surfed with great heart in the demanding conditions.
Against far more experienced competitors, Esther rode the largest waves she could find and, despite being eliminated in the first round, received praise for taking and making the meanest wave of her heat.
Lucy McAteer was unlucky not to make it to the semi-finals when she was eliminated in the dying seconds of her quarter-final heat.
Jersey’s most talented woman surfer since our former Euro champion, Arlene Maltman, will now be spending the winter training in Southern Europe.
Eurosurf 2003’s dubious ending was not enough to dampen the spirits of the CI team.
Much of this was due to the unfaltering enthusiasm of team manager Tony Lang, club president and judge Dominic Boletta, and supporter Louise Skinner.
‘A lot went wrong on this trip,’ summed up Carden: ‘but despite that, our Spanish hosts were great and the Channel Islands team was the best we have ever had.’