On Saturday 3rd September, two Budehaven P.E. teachers, Simon Hammond and Mel Bardsley, joined a 20 person strong Bude SLSC Masters team heading out to compete in the Masters World Surf Lifesaving Championships in Nordwik, Netherlands.
The competition involves water events such as ocean swim, ski paddle, and board races as well as beach events including flags, 2km run and 100m sprints.
The Bude masters team has a very strong team spirit; this supportive competitive team had already become the National men and women lifesaving champions at Exmouth in August; however, the World Championships is obviously a much larger and physically strenuous event, including athletes from Argentina, Australia, Canada, U.S.A., and others.
On the first day of competition, the brown North Sea with its messy surf did not look remotely inviting. No wetsuits were allowed in the first race of the day, the Ocean Swim Race. This was not the easiest start to World Level competition.
Mel, still recovering from salmonella poisoning, didn’t have much energy to push as hard as she would have liked in this her favourite event, just finishing out of the top 10, although Mel and the sprint relay team finished 7th overall later on in the day.
Simon made a couple of water finals. His efforts in qualifying for his sprint final against a very strong all Australian contingent where he finished 5th, was particularly impressive at the end of a very long day.
The second day of competitions again started early on the beach, where stewarding starts at 7.30am.
The beach rescues were the first event of the day. This is where 1 person swims out to the buoy, they signal for their partner who races out on a board, they then both paddle back to the beach on the board.
Both Simon and Mel’s pairs made the finals, although Mel feels her dramatic underwater exit on to beach wasn’t the ideal finish to a race.
This event saw Bude achieve its first world champions so congratulations to Nicola Hammond (Simon’s wife) and Liz Kay, both parents of current Budehaven students.
The second day involves lots of water relays completed in teams of 3. These include the ocean race, ski relay, board relay and taplin (swim, ski, paddle).
This is where Budehaven teachers achieved their hard-fought World medals. Simon became a world champion alongside Tim Moyle and Min Fry (again both parents of current Budehaven students) in the ski relay.
Mel achieved a silver in the board relay and a bronze in the ocean race (both with Jayney Henwood and Liz Kay) as well as a bronze in the taplin relay (with Nic Hammond and Jayney Henwood).
The last events of the day were beach events, the 2km run, and beach flags. The 2km race is not the nicest event especially when running on very soft sand; however, both Mel and Simon made the top ten in their categories so a very good end to a very tiring two days of competition.
A big thank you to Budehaven School for allowing both Simon and Mel the opportunity to compete in the Masters World Surf Lifesaving competition, but also to Bude SLSC for their fantastic organisation and support.
A large number of our Budehaven students and parents are involved in surf lifesaving, so it really is fantastic to see Bude on the World Map in such a competition.
Mel and Simon said: The message is: students, aim high, for one day you could also have the honour of representing your club at a world competition, such a fantastic experience and one not to be missed!
Well done to Mel and Simon and other members of the team.