It was a dark January evening with a cold, howling easterly wind that the idea was first born for ‘King of the Point’.
What if we could have a surf contest, different to the normal tried and tested format, where like the WSL we had a waiting period. Not just any waiting period, but one that would encompass the fickle and cruel nature of life as an east coast surfer and stretch for nearly six months to hopefully get epic conditions.
The plan was to get east coast surfers to interact with each other to surf two of our point breaks hopefully in one day and crown someone ‘King of the Point’ who then had bragging rights till the following year. Fast forward to December 9th 2017 and that plan was reality. The week before we saw the potential perfect day and started making preparations tentatively fully expecting Storm Caroline to change her track and foil our best laid plans. After much frantic chart watching it was looking like there was a window in our so far unheard of excellent start to winter surfing and that conditions could be pretty solid for the Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning of the weekend 9/10th December.
Phone calls to competitors were hastily made to everyone and inevitably some places became available to new entrants due to work/life commitments which were eagerly snapped up.
Saturday morning we rocked up and were greeted with something pretty rare on the east coast. A clean lined up 14-second long range groundswell in the 8-10ft range graced our sight with the tide dropping and the first heat in the water at 11.30am. As ever, things were pretty loose format wise but we ended up with 18 competitors from all over the east coast and with the daylight hitting us early we came up with a 70-minute heat of 6 surfers taking us through till darkness.
Heats were drawn and guns pulled out and the first heat hit the water with stand out performances from Jesse Davies showing no fear or regard to his safety as normal, Danny Allott from Newcastle seeming at ease in the well overhead waves and James Cummings pulling into an absolute bomb and not making it out. Louis Hudson, son of east coast legend, Steve Hudson of Tynemouth Surfshop also grabbed a fair few bombs out there in the solid conditions. Local guy Jamo Taylor snagged a few to show his local knowledge and surfed real well.
Heat two saw a group who were pretty much all from the local area and great rivalry ensued with Delboy, South African Mike, Joss Wescombe, ex SecretSpot employees Jack Chatterton and James Turner and the poshest speaking surfer on the east coast Posh Tom Wilson and what ensued was a pure spectacle to watch with competitors pushing each other in perfect conditions.
Heat three with the tide now pushing had great performances from youngster Ben Tucker seeming at ease in the big surf, shop manager Scotty getting a few heavy closeouts and young Evan Rogers,bson of east coast and Saltburn Surf shop legend Gary Rogers, looking super comfortable. Andy Hogg from Scarborough and Tynemouth legend and Patagonia Surf Manager Gabe Davies making an appearance. Gabe sat up the point taking the outside bombs and sometimes seemed to have effortless speed making sections disappear, whilst Evan sat a little further inside and caught the wider sets sometimes running through the whole way.
With the heats now over, we made the call to cancel the next days session at another local point as storm Caroline had changed its course and was delivering an ugly easterly wind overnight. Better to finish on a high and the competitors and a fair few spectators made the short trip to a local pub, the Hayburn Wyke for real ale and JDs in front of an open fire and the inaugural first crowning of #KOTP.
Here it was great to see how a group of guys who turned up earlier not really knowing each other were now seeming like old friends and the banter and laughs that ensued were testament to this.
The contest had really generously been supported by Ripcurl and Patagonia and the prizes were pretty awesome with a new 6/4 Flashbomb wetsuit, jackets, impact vests which deservedly went to Jesse, and a whole heap of accessories from both companies and everybody seemed to get prizes worth way more than their entry fee. Over £300 from entries was raised and is been donated to SAS.
So, who won. Well technically Gabe Davies won by a 0.6 margin over local guy Posh Tom Wilson, but with Gabe working for Patagonia he kindly conceded the prizes to Tom and effectively shared the title of KING OF THE POINT until next year.
But in our eyes, we don’t need to crown a winner. Everyone who turned up, took part or spectated was a winner on that day. From little acorns grow big trees so see y’all next year for KING OF THE POINT! Yeeeeeeeeeew!