A YOUTHFUL Channel Islands surfing team is bound for Wales without a handful of key names, following late confirmation of competition dates by British Surfing organisers.
Six riders from Jersey and Guernsey are set to appear in the 2022 British Cup, where leading performances could be rewarded with international selection for upcoming global events.
However, just four weeks’ notice was given ahead of the national finals, leaving the team without two of its strongest male talents. Nathan Elms and Will Masterman, CI champions in 2021 and 2022 respectively, are both elsewhere this weekend and Claudia Cosgrove is unavailable.
Sarnian surfer Katie Smith is the only female travelling to Llantwit Major, while Jersey representatives Max Bennett and Anders Ravenscroft are due to compete in both the men’s open and under-18 boys events, alongside Guernsey’s Tom Hook. Matt Chapman [men’s open] and Owen Graham [U18 boys] are also entered.
‘We were notified so late – we only found out it was on on 30 August – so we only had a month to sort everything out and by that stage two of our senior CI finalists [Elms and Masterman] had already booked to go away elsewhere this weekend,’ said coach Roley McMichael.
‘We have decided to go with a younger team, rather than taking the old guard again. We have three juniors surfing in the open. It will be a good experience for them, to be up against something that is slightly more difficult, but we have already told them not to concentrate on the senior side.
‘The individual aims are for the junior side and with Anders, Owen, Tom and Max we have the best junior team that we’ve taken anywhere for years.
‘We have struggled for numbers for the girls so we just have Katie from Guernsey. Below that we have a few who will be really good in a few years. They were nine or ten during Covid lockdown and they were surfing every day.’
Discussing the progression path available to CI surfers, McMichael added: ‘This competition quite a big deal. The end goal is the Olympics but at this stage it’s more about just getting into the British team. A lot has changed – it used to be the top three who went into the British team but now they choose it through a committee. But, if one of the guys does do well then it puts them in good stead.’
British Cup 2022, Channel Islands team
Men’s open: Matt Chapman, Tom Hook, Max Bennett, Anders Ravenscroft.
Ladies open: Katie Smith
Under 18 boys: Owen Graham, Max Bennett, Tom Hook, Anders Ravenscroft
Under 18 girls: Katie Smith
Coach: Roley McMichael
Judges: Tim Gaudion, Andy Torode.