In Jersey’s first major event since the European Championships visited in 2009, the best surfers from England, Wales, Scotland and the Channel Islands descended on St Ouen’s Bay to continue their challenge for a place at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The adjusted championship format – including CI as a nation within British Surfing – set aside four guaranteed places at this year’s World Surf Games in Japan, although third spot in both the men’s and women’s events could still be used for qualification.
The conditions played a part in limiting surfers’ efforts beneath the Watersplash on Saturday, but the surf improved for Sunday's finals and paved the way towards a tight, dynamic men’s showdown, won by defending champion Jay Quinn.
‘It was a fun final surfing against the top guys,’ said Elms.
‘The waves turned on a bit and I got a few but Jay [Quinn] had a decent air and put it to bed fairly early. We were scrapping [for second] after that.
‘This was my first British competition in a while and my goal was to make the final. I’ve done that which is a massive bonus.
‘The ISA World’s is next and if I can get a good seeding in that then potentially Japan [World Surf Games] may happen, but one step at a time – I’m just happy with this.’
Elms secured direct passage into the quarter-finals on Saturday morning with an 8.36 combined score in round one, but his three team-mates were all forced to battle their way through via the repechage.
Piers Gould, who finished third in his opening heat behind top-scoring Kiwi-turned-Welshman Quinn [15.00], recovered with a 9.17 in the repechage as both he and Charlie Rio [9.04] reached the last 12. Ben Chapman had done the same 20 minutes earlier.
It would only be Elms who progressed further for CI, and his run was then extended again thanks to a late score of 5.63 to send his total up to 11.00 to win his semi-final.
The Caesarean was on the wrong end of a late wave in the final, though, having swapped possession of top spot with Quinn throughout the 25-minute concluder.
England’s Jayce Robinson – needing a 5.6 in the final 45 seconds to grab the second automatic qualifying spot for Japan – did just enough at the death to nudge Elms down to third.
Quinn ended up running away with it to claim the title after taking flight during one ride for 8.2 and backing that up for a weekend-best score of 16.4.
Brewer and Laurie McGreggor reached the final of the women’s open draw as they succeeded in disrupting the predicted dominance of the English.
McGreggor won her semi-final to ensure a CI v England final, after eventual champion Peony Knight, eventual U18 champion Ellie Turner and Lucy Campbell dominated the opening round.
Campbell missed out on a shot at the title, with McGreggor taking fourth overall with 6.4 – 0.5 behind Brewer.
‘It’s been fun,’ said Brewer.
‘I’m happy to make the final of both [U18 and seniors] for sure. It was a tough competition with Ellie and Peony and I’m happy with the results. Obviously you always want to win but I’m still happy.’
Guernsey’s Tom Hook led the way for CI in the U18 Boys – easing into the semi-finals with an 11.16 as Jersey’s Finn Matthews [4.07], George McAllister [4.53] and Olly Gould [4.04] finished outside the top two in their respective heats.
Hook reached the final to accompany English trio Barnaby Cox, Noah Capps and Seth Morris, but ended up settling for fourth after being handed a penalty for interference.
Brewer and Claudia Cosgrove both extended their U18 campaigns into the latter stages and ended the weekend as the second and third-best juniors in Britain, respectively, with scores of 8.73 and 5.16. Amelia Gould and Gabs Taylor reached the semi-finals, where they finished third and fourth respectively in their heat.