Head of the Surf Snowdonia Surf Academy, former Welsh and British champion surfer and wildcard entry, Jo Dennison.

Surf Snowdonia has revealed some of the big surf names that are set to take part in its inaugural Pro Surf Challenge on Monday 24 October 2016.

The line-up for the event, which is part of the UK Pro Surf Tour, will include current UK Pro Surf Tour Leader and recently crowned British Champion Jobe Harriss as well as Welsh champion surfer Emily Williams.

Luke Dillon, the highest placed UK surfer on the WSL rankings – and fresh back to the UK after taking part in the WSL Open in Costa Rica – will also join the starters, as will 15-year old Ellie Turner – current British champion and ranked as world No. 4 at the recent ISA Junior World Championships.

Competitors qualify based on their UKPST rankings, though the starting line-up also features a number of wildcards, including the head of the Surf Snowdonia Surf Academy and four-times Welsh Champion surfer Jo Dennison and Surf Snowdonia surf instructor Rik Vlek.

Current Welsh women’s champion Emily Williams at Surf Snowdonia / Image credit: Stewart Mackellar

Competition format

The Surf Snowdonia Pro Surf Challenge will be a unique first-time stop on the UK Pro Surf Tour circuit this year. The competition will have a knockout format with three divisions: Open, Women’s and U18s.

In the Open division, 20 surfers will each will ride three waves. The top eight surfers with the highest individual wave score will progress to a ‘man-on-man’ knockout stage. Surfers will compete in order of the lowest seed first.

The Women and U18s divisions will follow the same format, though with just 10 entries per division only the top four surfers will progress through to the knockout stage.

In the knockout stage (quarter and semi-finals) surfers will go head to head, one exchange at a time. The winner of each exchange will win the point, the first surfer who makes it to 3 points will progress through to next round.

Competition commentary will be provided by Lee Bartlett. Lee is a six-time British Surf Champion and former UK Pro Surf Tour champion as well as a regular commentator for national and international surf events and competitions. The event has been sponsored by Conwy County Borough Council. There is a substantial cash prize for each category.

David Reed, director of the UK Pro Surf Tour said:

“This unique event opens a new door for the direction of competitive surfing. Surf Snowdonia’s guaranteed and consistently powerful waves mean that we have a level playing field for our competitors – the luck factor of ocean waves is eliminated from the competition.

“The inland surf lagoon format transforms the whole experience: spectators will be able to stand right at the water’s edge just a couple of metres away from the surfers and the waves. That kind of proximity not only transforms the experience for the crowd – it makes the competition a whole different experience for our surfers too. We’re all looking forward to a really buzzing atmosphere on competition day.”

Great family day out

There will be indoor as well as outdoor seated and standing viewing areas, with refreshments and snacks available all day at the Surf Snowdonia restaurant and deli. The Surf Snowdonia bar will host live music during the event, and will be open for drinks all day until 11pm.

Exclusive Surf Snowdonia clothing and merchandise will be on sale in the on-site surf shop and the soft play shack will be open for younger children and toddlers who might want a break from the competition. The Crash & Splash lagoon will also be open for over-water obstacle sessions throughout the day – booking is advised.

Andy Ainscough, managing director at Surf Snowdonia said:

“To be bringing surf athletes of such a high calibre to the heart of the Conwy Valley is brilliant. Who’d have dreamt it would have been possible even just a couple of years ago!

“The Surf Snowdonia Pro Surf Challenge is going to be a great, free, family day out to kick off the October half term holiday. The level these guys surf at – and the proximity the crowd will have to them – is going to make it a day of really inspiring action for everyone who comes to be part of it.”

Surf Snowdonia launched its world-first inland surf lagoon in August 2015. Unhindered by variations in wind conditions, swell and tide, the 300-metre by 113 metre the facility offers guaranteed, consistent waves and ideal conditions for the UK’s best surfers to showcase their talents.

Surf Snowdonia drew a crowd of thousands when it played host to a ground-breaking international Red Bull Unleashed surf competition in September 2015, and its revolutionary technology has been named by the International Surf Association (ISA) as having been instrumental in surfing’s successful bid to be recognised as an Olympic sport. Surfing will make its Olympic debut in the Tokyo 2020 Games.


Visitor information:

The day of competition is Monday 24th October 2016.
Parking and entrance to the Surf Snowdonia Pro Surf Challenge is FREE.
No need to register for tickets, just turn up on the day.
The knock-out format competition takes place between 8am and 5.30pm.
There are three classes in the event: U18, Women’s and Open.
On-site refreshments will be available all day.

Surf Snowdonia is in the village of Dolgarrog, Conwy Valley. It’s around 15 minutes’ drive from junction 19 of the A55. Postcode is LL32 8QE.
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