Report on Jesus Surf Series 2021 – A challenge but an amazing opportunity to share our faith

Things in the UK have suddenly become an awful lot busier with regards to surfing events since the COVID restrictions began to ease again. In fact, due to the postponement of the original Jesus Surf Classic due to lack of waves, it meant that Christian Surfers UK volunteers had the huge task of running two different surfing events over consecutive weekends.However, the volunteer crew was up to the challenge and here is a summary of how it all went.

The Jesus Surf Series consists of two different events, the Surf Classic and the Longboard Classic, with the latter being birthed out of the former 13 years ago when the Surf Classic became too big to hold over one weekend.

The Jesus SurfClassic is traditionally held at Croyde Bay, North Devon, and this year was celebrating its 29th anniversary, a phenomenal fact, and it is still one of the longest running and largest events in the UK surfing calendar.

The forecast for this year was incredibly challenging and Contest Director, Phil Williams, in conjunction with a core team, consulted and prayed and eventually made a set of decisions which they believe was guided by God and turned out to be very fruitful. Since there was likely to be a big storm on the Sunday, the ever-popular younger divisions (U16, U14s,U12s) were postponed and instead a one-day event for the five older categories was run.

Even then the forecast on the Saturday was for very strong winds and continuous rain for the entire day; however, the winds indicated it could be slight cross offshore which gave the chance for the event to run in pretty good surf conditions. So how did it all work out?

Well, it didn’t rain quite as much as it was supposed to all day although there were some torrential hours of rain; the judges did an amazing job on the scaffold tower; and by the end of the day champions were crowned and the presentation took place in front ofan excited crowd outside the main marquee which had provided cover for the duration of the event.

As well as the surf competition, surf movies were shown on the big screen TV, a barbecue ran all day, fresh cakes and coffee were served and there was live music from various local musicians: a great partnership between ChristianSurfers and the local churches.

A message of hope and faith was shared as part of the presentation, and that night the volunteer team met for a meal together and enjoyed fellowship inside the marquee which was a lovely end to the day. Sunday turned out to be horrendous weather so the packdown was completed and everybody went their merry way.

The forecast surf conditions for the 13th Jesus Longboard Classicthe following weekend were completely different.The weather was looking fair and there was a solid 4-6foot offshore swell on the Saturday giving perfect conditions for a record number of longboarders (over 90 registered) in the six categories throughout the weekend.

The event is held at Polzeathin partnership with the Tubestation, which is a surfer-friendly church with close links with Christian Surfers UK. They provide amazing hospitality and an incredible venue for the weekend. After a busy day of competition on the Saturday there was a further opportunity to have community together listening to Brendon Prince share about The Long Paddle. Brendon is the first person to stand-up paddle board around the whole of the UK,covering 3900km in 141 days: an amazing feat by a man of faith aiming to highlight water safety around the UK.https://thelongpaddle.co.uk/

Sunday is always specialstarting off at 9 am with the SurfersBlessing, a culturally relevant way of sharing our faith with those surfers who wish to attend.Due to the great weather, it was held outdoors, and a very powerful message was shared which seemed to hit the spot with so many people,especially in these days of challenging mental health.

Sunday’s conditions were not as good but still very manageable and around 4:30pm the presentation was held, champions crowned, thanks given, and all those involved consider it one of the best Jesus Longboard Classics yet.

So, the events of the 2021 Jesus Surf Series were weekends of huge contrast, but the constants being God was in control, there were waves for the events, and we were blessed with a fantastic bunch of competitors and a hugely supportive team of volunteers. Next year is a key one for CSUK with the 30th Jesus Surf Classic, so plans are already underway to make it even more special.

Contest Director, Phil Williams, continues to give thanks for the amazing team that enables these events take place; 2022 will be an exciting year for the Jesus Surf Series.