Posts Tagged ‘sport’


Devon and Cornwall’s top ten beach locations

March 12, 2009

So we know things are bad – there has been enough press about the depth and extent of the recession that at least the paper industry should be doing well (its not actually, so times are really bad) – you’ve probably lost your job, your bonus and the potential to make any serious money for the next thirty years – its therefore probably time to start cutting your cloth to your budget.

Well if thats you it may mean cancelling the five bedroomed villa in secluded countryside with large pool and guest house in the South of France to something closer to home. We therefore thought you might be interested to read Dorling Kindersley’s recommendations which they have recently published and which we picked up in The Times On Line for where to go in Devon or Cornwall.

Of course should you decide on this drastic action you must remember that the ‘Beam me up Scottie’ machine has still not been invented ( now there’s an opportunity, but we will not be volunteering ourselves as the test pilot – that would be one extreme too far!) and so you will have to face the wonderful A30, or even worse the A38 as you meander your way into Cornwall’s green and pleasant land.

Of course on that day the sun will be shining without remorse but, because you couldn’t afford to have the car serviced (thanks Flash Gordon) the godarned air conditioner has packed up and the temperature in the car has risen to over 90 degrees F. The two elder children are shouting, pinching and yelling at each other whilst the baby has just expunged itself of waste from both ends – the smell rises and forces you to crease your nostrils – desperately you look down to turn the fan on flat out – BANG – the mother in front of you has stopped and now you have caused the mother of an accident.

Three hours later you are on your way again in a replacement vehicle arriving at your destination to find your room has been filled by another traveller…..

We paint a grim picture – thanks Gordon – but in reality the Devon and Cornish beaches are some of the finest in the world, with great surf, huge expanses of white and golden sand and a vast and bracing ocean. Fun can be had for all the family – from the little ‘uns who can spend hours in harmony building castles in the sand or hunting for crabs in the endless rock pools, to the next generation who can surf, waterski, paraglide, mountain bike, kite surf and wind surf, to the less extreme activities for perhaps Mom and Pop who can go fishing, golfing, walking and sailing.

It is a magical, wonderful place – just two things – the getting there thing…….oh and the weather has broken when you do arrive – make your own fun!


One of the finest bays of the Penwith Peninsula, Porthcurno, with its wedge of white sand mixed with tiny shells, is squeezed between granite cliffs. The rock-hewn Minack Theatre is located to one side and there is a museum of telegraphy at the back of the beach. Pubs and cafés can be found close by. 

Porthcurno beach, Cornwall

Par Beach, Isles of Scilly

Majestic, bare and wild, the beaches on St Martin’s are considered to be the best on the Isles of Scilly. Par Beach on the island’s southern shore is probably the most impressive – a long, empty strand looking out onto rocks that make up the Eastern Isles. Be prepared for chilly water though.

Whitesand Bay

This expanse of fine sand close to Land’s End is a favourite with surfers and families alike. It has a good beachside café and at Sennen Cove, the more popular southern end of the beach, is the Old Success Inn. Surfing equipment is available for hire and courses are also provided.

Kynance Cove

This is one of the best options on the Lizard Peninsula, where beaches are few and far between. The 10-minute walk from the car park is well worth the trudge for its fine white sands, rocky spires and surrounding grassy areas. Swimming is limited by the tides but other attractions include caves and cliffs with serpentine seams of sand.

Woolacombe Bay

Surf dudes come from far and wide to one of the West Country’s most famous surfing beaches. The beach is popular with families and there is a warren of dunes behind for exploring. Crowds gather at the northern end, but more space can be found at the quieter southern end. The small resort of Woolacombe has shops and cafés.

Fistral Bay

Surf aficionados flock to this beach, which is the venue for surfing competitions. A surf centre supplies equipment for hire. Most of the sand is covered by water at high tide and strong currents mean that kids need to be careful, though lifeguards are present throughout the summer. The restaurants and cafés here offer outdoor seating.

Watergate Bay

North of Newquay, this arc of golden sand has a wild appeal. It is home to the Extreme Academy, which offers kite-surfing, land-boarding and other pursuits for the adventurous. Behind it are Jamie Oliver’s famous restaurant, Fifteen, and the more casual Beach Hut, both with splendid views. Watergate is not very sheltered, so make sure you carry windbreakers.

Tunnels Beach, Ilfracombe

This private beach is named after the tunnels that have provided access to it since 1823, when the swimming was segregated. There is a tidal bathing pool and on-duty lifeguards make the beach safe for kids. The rock pooling is top-class and there are kayaks for hire. Open Apr–Jun & Sep–Oct: 10am–6pm; Jul–Aug: 9am–9pm.

Croyde Bay

Sandwiched between the extensive west-facing Saunton Sands and Woolacombe, this compact bay has fine sand. There are campsites around and the village has pubs and bars that fill up in the evenings.

Blackpool Sands

Backed by woods and meadows, this family-friendly beach makes an enticing sight as it swings into view on the road from Dartmouth. Its sheltered location, clear water and fine sand makes this one of South Devon’s best swimming spots. For refreshments there is the renowned Venus Café.

Top 10 Devon & Cornwall is published by Dorling Kindersley, priced £7.99, and is available at

We wonder why the likes of Damar Bay with the villages of Rock, Polzeath and Padstow – home to Rick Stein’s gastronomique delights (he has four restaurants there – or certainly did have before Gordon took charge!), has not made it to the top ten………………perhaps too upper class and too many drugs of the nefarious kind, reportedly. Let us know your thoughts and get on down there, it will be a blast.


Snowkiting, snowboarding and kitesurfing???

December 20, 2008

Did you read our blog two days ago? … How similar (or otherwise) is snowkiting to kitesurfing on water?

We have shown some classic instances in the past of when one or other (snowboarding and kitesurfing) goes wrong – well, snowkiting is relatively new on our blog and here is another classic … although happily no-one appears injured, and thanks to BUZZZZ101 for posting it.

Although a bit noisy I think you can put it down to fear, concern and relief!

I’ve been into a forum re. this video and the general opinion is that it is genuine – there are no no edits and no sped-up digital moments! Lucky he held on!!!


Surf the waves – were they able to finish the Billabong Pro Maui event?

December 19, 2008

And the answer is … yes they were.

Stephanie Gilmore Wins the Billabong Pro Maui, Claims Vans Triple Crown

However, the event didn’t go off without problems. There was no surf at Honolulu Bay, for the first time in the 10 year history of the event, and so the organisers were forced to move the final stages of the competition to Ho’okipa Beach Park on the northern side of Maui.

“Today marks the seventh day in a row that the Bay hasn’t had any waves,” Dino Andino, Billabong Pro Maui Contest Director, said. “We’re running out of time, and looking at the forecast, it doesn’t look like the swell is going to be big enough or the right direction until after the waiting period is finished. With that in mind, we’ll be relocating the venue to Ho’okipa Beach Park on the other side of the island where we’ll be looking to get the final day of Billabong Pro Maui competition underway at roughly 8am.”

“It’s a shame that we won’t be able to finish at the Bay but that’s how it is with surf contests,” Gilmore said. “We’re subject to swell patterns and Mother Nature and sometimes we need to make changes. It looks like tomorrow is going to be the biggest day at Ho’okipa which I’ve heard is a fun little wave so I’m stoked to get back in the water.”

However, Ho’okipa supplied the goods and the event was concluded yesterday, Thursday 18th December.

Gilmore, 20, claimed the Triple Crown when she eliminated an emotional seven-time world champion Layne Beachley from the semi-finals of the ASP women’s world tour event.

She then registered the highest score of the day – 9.57 – to beat Melanie Bartels in the final, 17.6 to 14.8.

“Mel is one of my favorite surfers and I just go as hard as I can when I draw her in a heat. You can’t put in a performance at half-speed, and I saw her get a solid wave so I just went for broke on the next one and it paid off. It feels incredible to win the Vans Triple Crown title, it’s a real honour to be considered a good surfer in Hawaii and in such a variety of conditions.

Brazil’s Silvana Lima claimed the world No.2 ranking after being eliminated in the second semi-final by Bartels.


This video from ASPWorldTour is  Steph at the ASP World Tour event last month (November) – sorry but there’s nothing posted yet on the Pro Maui final event…


Michigan’s own Vasa

December 9, 2008

Yesterday we wrote about the Vasaloppet in Sweden, the grand daddy of all cross country skiing events held since 1922 to commemorate the Swedish rebellion, led by Gustav Eriksson Vasa, against the Danes, which now attracts, over the course of a week and in many different events,in excess of 140,000 participants.

Well today it is the turn of ‘The Great Lakes State’ – Michigan, where in the Pere Marquette State Forest , near Traverse City in the north western part of the lower peninsula lies the premier cross country trail known as the Vasa Pathway. This year their ‘Vasa’ event which will be held on February 13th to 15th and is already attracting many entries.

Events include a 27 km and 50 km classic, a 27 km and 50 km freestyle, timed classes and a junior Vasa. Registration for the event will cost in the region of $50 to $60 but for further information on the trail, registration and the event, which will prove to be a great day out we suggest you visit the official website by clicking on this link

Below is a video from JeffOYB which may not from his opening remark be the best advertisement for cross country skiing in Michigan or the Vasa but when you watch the video you will see what fun this sport can be.


Europe’s greatest ski fest – the Vasaloppet

December 9, 2008

It all began nearly 500 years ago, the year 1520 to be precise, when a Swedish nobleman, Gustav Eriksson Vasa, fled the blood letting troops of King Christian II of Denmark, who only weeks before had executed Vasa’s father and brother with 80 other Swedes, in what became known as Stockholm’s bloodbath. Vasa fled to Mora where he attempted to persuade the people to rise in revolt against the Danes but before they gave him an answer the impending arrival of Danish troops was announed and Vasa fled.

Within days news of the Stockholm bloodbath had arrived in Mora and the people wished Vasa was still with them to lead the rebellion. They sent their two fastest skiers after him and they caught up with him at Salen and persuaded him to turn back. That was Sweden’s first Vasalopp. The rest is history as they say – 3 years later Gustav Eriksson Vasa was elected king of a free Sweden.

It was not until 1922 that the people of Mora voted to hold a race between Salen and Mora, a distance of 90 kms (56 miles) and on March 19th 1922 the Vasaloppet, as it became known, was again raced with 119 starters with the winner, Ernst Alm, coming home in 7 hours 32 minutes 49 seconds.

Today there is a whole week of fun, sking, music and festivities. The skiing now includes non competitive events, 30 kms races, races for girls only and for all ages – as many as 140,000 people have participated in one year alone! This is Europe’s greatest ski fest and the big race itself, which is now completed in as little as 3 hours 40 minutes has been won, other than by Swedes, by individuals from Norway, Finland, Germany, Russia and France. There have been many unique and sporting occurences in the 86 years of the race. Below you will see the profile of the 90 km course from Salen to Mora.

Entries for the 2009 event – which starts on February 20th and finishes with the Vasaloppet itself on March 1st have already reached over 30,000 and can be found on the official website – jusy click on the following link  and choose which event is for you.

 Finally you can see some of the fun in the video below from magnuslindgren – this sport is very tough and very extreme.


Florida’s C.J. Hobgood Wins O’Neill World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach

December 8, 2008

The O’Neill World Cup Champion is C.J. Hobgood.

The day started with wave face heights of 12 feet which were  scheduled to hit 25+ by midday for the final day of the O’Neill World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach.

Hobgood, 29, won the World Cup  in clean 20- to 30-foot wave face heights, making Hobgood the first goofy-footer in 11 years to win at Sunset Beach – Australia’s Michael Romelese was the last goofy-foot to win at Sunset in 1997. Hobgood was lucky enough to grab the biggest wave in the 35-minute final and was absolutely blown away by his first place finish:

“That just shows you what Sunset can do. You just roll the dice, go out and sometimes Mother Nature is good to you and other times it just beats you down. There’s four guys out there, but you never really see your competitors the whole time. It’s Man versus Nature out there and that’s what makes Sunset so challenging and appealing.”

Australia’s Tom Whitaker, 29, finished runner-up. Whitaker was awed by the quality of surf Sunset Beach produced today: “It’s pretty much as dreamy as Sunset gets, it’s beautifully clean and really, really good sized,” he said.

Sunset Beach local, Marcus Hickman, 29, finished third with Jordy Smith of South Africa in fourth place. Smith posted a 10-point ride earlier in the day by getting a tube. He also posted the highest heat score of the contest – an 18.50 out of a possible 20 in the same round. The highest placed European was  Eric Rebiere of France, who placed third in his heat in the round of 32 to finish equal 17th overall.

ASPWorldTour posted this video with the day’s highlights…

After this event, Dusty Payne (Hawaii) is ranked first for the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing overall title. This year’s O’Neill World Cup of Surfing Champion C.J. Hobgood(USA) is second and Joel Parkinson (Australia) is in third. All three surfers will be competing at the Billabong Pipeline Masters.

The Billabong Pipeline Masters  started today – Monday, 8th December – it’s a never-ending wave for these guys!


Attention all young European skiers

December 8, 2008

This inspired challenge for skiers aged 12 to 18 years (in 2008) and who live in Europe has been developed and created by ‘The North Face’ and judges young European skiers in both freeride and freestyle.

Freeride will be judged to demonstrate the individual’s technique, control, lines and general abilities.

Freestyle will be examined on the individual’s style, creativity, landing;  difficulty and amplitude will also be rewarded.

There will be 5 qualifying events and the final in 2009 open to four categories:

  • 12-13 year olds
  • 14-15 year olds
  • 16-18 year olds
  • overall girls category

Each qualifying event will examine a maximum of 75 competitors with 60 competitors being selected for the final event in Val Thorens, France. An additional 10 competitors will be invited to Val Thorens at the discretion of the organisers. The top two skiers in the 16-18 year category at Val Thoens will be offered a sponsors contract by The North Face, Dynastar and Lange.

The dates of the qualifying events for the 2009 North Face Challenge are:

  • January 31st – February 1st 2009 – Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
  • February 7th – 8th 2009 – Ruka, Finland
  • February 14th – 15th 2009 – Are, Sweden
  • February 28th – March 1st  2009 – Chamonix, France
  • March 27th – 29th – Val Thorens, France

Registration for the events which are now open can be found on the following website

Below you can watch a video from jpbaralo of the final day of the 2008 event: a great event guys so don’t delay – get registered!