FOUR young North Devon surfers were celebrating this week having been selected in the GB junior surf squad.
Will Bailey, Storm Wall, Lily Mandeville and Amy Dyer were part of a strong line-up announced by Surfing GB.
Over the coming months, they will work hard at home and in training camps – as well as competing in selection events – in an attempt to represent their country on the world stage.
With the possibility of surfing making its debut at the 2020 Tokyo Games – a decision that will be announced in Rio later this year – the squad have the potential to form the basis of a GB development team set on becoming Olympians.
Lily, from Woolacombe, said: “I am super happy I have made the GB squad and pleased that my results from last season have put me in this position.
“I’m really looking forward to the upcoming competitive season and the GB training camps.”
I was lucky enough to be the one to break the news to a “stoked” Will, who is in South Africa with the charity Surfers Not Street Children.
He booked his place in the squad through a strong performance at the British Nationals at his home beach Croyde last year.
“I’m honoured and ready to work hard,” he said. “It means everything to me to be selected and I’m so stoked.”
Storm, also from Croyde, said: “I was really stoked to be selected. I’m really looking forward to training and surfing with the squad and thanks to Surfing GB for the opportunity.”
Amy, from Braunton, also made the squad thanks to her fine performance on home sand at the Nationals.
“I’m very happy to be picked for the squad and I’m very much looking forward to the upcoming season,” she said.
The first competitive event for the quartet will be the 2016 Caravan Club British Schools Surf Championships, which will be held in Woolacombe next month.
Pauly Jeffrey, the contest director, described it as “a weekend of competitive surfing and fun for all to enjoy”.
“This annual event provides the platform for the surfers to take on fellow surfers after a long winter break,” he said. “It’s a great way to kick off to the season.”
— SurfingGB (@SurfingGB) March 8, 2016
Last held in Woolacombe in 2008, the Schools has grown in recent years, drawing record numbers of competitors.
Here’s hoping local knowledge gives the North Devon crew the edge on April 23-24. The competition is open for entries at the Surfing GB website.