Saturday, 20 August 2011

Not long now !

National Trust Press Release
15 August 2011

World Bellyboard Championships attract worldwide entrants

On Sunday 4th September, the ever expanding community of traditional wooden 'prone' surfing enthusiasts will descend on the cosy location of Chapel Porth beach in St Agnes to take part in the 9th annual 'World Bellyboard Championships'.

Organised and hosted by the National Trust and sponsored by Skinners Brewery, the event has grown from humble beginnings with just a handful of entrants, into a genuine World Championship competition which has gone truly global in recent years with entrants from Australia, New York, San Francisco and British Virgin Islands

National Trust Ranger and contest director Nick Holden says ‘This year’s World Belly Board Championships will be bigger and better than ever, and suitable for anyone and everyone of any fitness level with the minimum of gear; from 80 year old ladies to teenage boys. It will be competitive, entertaining, inspiring, traditional, bucket loads of fun and the coolest event to take part in.’

The traditional art of surf riding has deep roots in the British Isles. First produced in Britain in the 1920’s and known as surf riding boards, wooden bellyboards are a direct descendant of the ancient Hawaiian paipo boards. The competition embraces all aspects of prone wooden boards and will showcase the work of an evolving low key industry, which produces wooden surf riding equipment.

English poet John Betjeman regularly used the boards at Polzeath and perfectly summed it up by declaring that ‘I don’t know if there’s anything so exciting as getting a perfect surf, timing ones shoot off from the waves, riding along the waves…’

One thing that makes the World Belly Board Championships stand out from all other surfing competitions is the lack of wet-suits. Belly Boarders are not allowed to wear them in the competition so rather than the sight of monochromed sleek surfers you are greeted with views of traditional bathing costumes from knitted all-in-one bathing outfits and structured bathing costumes giving more than a nod to times long since past.

The Museum of British surfing, based in North Devon will also be present with a great collection of wooden boards. They recently discovered that the doyenne of crime writing, Agatha Christie, was one of the country's first "stand-up" surfers - research has revealed she took up surfing in the early 1920s, when the sport was in its infancy.

‘If you have heard of the Champs and always intended to come along then this is the year. After nine years there are still untold stories, un-seen boards, un earthed talent, inspiring people and wonderful memories out there that can add even more depth to this brilliant event’. The fascinating stories of surfing described by the colourful characters who take part has helped the competition develop a reputation as providing one of the most enjoyable, inclusive and friendly atmospheres you can encounter in the surfing world’, added Nick Holden.

All ages, abilities and experience are welcomed at this free to enter bellyboard extravaganza. Not only is the coveted World Title up for grabs but competitors can also walk away with trophies for best vintage board, best artwork, best swimwear and many more. The “WBBC Bake Off” cake competition provides an opportunity to be involved without getting wet, or you can simply soak up the atmosphere as a spectator.

For more information and to register for this free event go to


Further press information and images from: Claire Bolitho, National Trust Communications Consultant on 07901 971156
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Notes for Editors:
• The World Belly Boarding Championship (WBBC) was first started nine years ago at Chapel Porth by Martyn Ward (RNLI Lifeguard Supervisor) and Chris Ryan (Chapel Porth National Trust Car Park Attendant) as a memorial contest to the late Arthur Traveller, a Londoner who holidayed with his wooden board at Chapel Porth every year. From its humble beginnings with only a handful of competitors it has now grown into the World Championships we see today
• The Trust looks after a number of the best surfing spots in Devon and Cornwall. These include: Godrevy, Chapel Porth, Holywell Bay, Crantock and Woolacombe.
• As a charity, the National Trust relies heavily on hundreds of volunteers every year who help to maintain coastal footpaths and take part in various beach-cleans.
• The management and conservation of this coastal land costs approx. £3,000 per mile per year.
• The Trust owns nearly 90 coastal car parks in Devon and Cornwall. Income from the Trust’s coastal car parks is ploughed straight back into the management and conservation of the surrounding area.
• In managing the coast, new challenges such as climate change and sea level rise, fisheries management and the need for a marine planning system have led the Trust to shift its focus beyond the limits of its land ownership and get involved in issues affecting the broader coastal zone.
• Set up in 1895 to protect places of historic or natural beauty for the nation to enjoy, the National Trust is Britain’s largest coastal landowner and Europe’s largest conservation organisation. It protects 760 miles of the coastline in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
• In 1965 the Trust launched The Neptune Coastline Campaign in response to growing fears that development was slowly destroying the best of the nation's natural coastline. Four decades on, the campaigning spirit and generosity of thousands of people has helped the Trust to raise £45 million and acquire over 700 miles of coastline in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and open it up to the millions of people who enjoy it every year.

- Posted using a lightsaber

Location:Chapel Porth Beach 4/09/2011