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Be ready for big waves as first proper autumn swells hit region's coastline

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 29, 2011

Autumn swells are set to hit Westcountry surfing spots PICTURE: Greg Martin

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There have been some fun waves all week in the South West, but just like Bear said in Big Wednesday: "That's just the lemon next to the pie; it's going to get bigger!"

If the forecasts are to be believed, tomorrow morning should see the first proper autumn swell hit our coasts, pushing waves into every nook and cranny from Land's End to Lynmouth. I hope you're ready!

Last weekend in much smaller waves at Longsands Beach in Tynemouth, Russell Winter won the North East Open of the UK Pro Surf Tour, making it his third year in a row.

The Newquay-based former World Championship Tour surfer dominated the final with big powerful turns as he excelled in the Tynemouth surf conditions. Russell said: "It has been a fantastic event; I have enjoyed coming to Tynemouth and competing and looking forward to returning next year. On behalf of all the competitors I would like to thank North Tyneside Council for supporting this event."

The result returns him to the top of the leaderboard on the UK Pro Surf Tour.

Finishing second was in-form French surfer Gordon Fontaine, and equal third were Luis Eyre and Tom Butler.

In the pro junior division Luis Eyre took the honours in a very close fought heat. Second place went to Pro Junior Tour champion Stuart Campbell. Third and fourth went to the brothers Ed and Jack Smith from Liskeard.

With a bit more foam under their feet, the fourth and final event of this year's British National Longboard Championships was held last weekend at Gwithian Beach in 3ft surf and offshore conditions.

With the open, under 18 and ladies divisions already decided on points by the third round of the series, the last remaining event attracted a good turnout with the runners up of the other divisions fighting for places in the top ten.

Following on from worries resulting from a marginal weather forecast for the weekend, and the likelihood of severe weather on the Sunday, the event was run in one day in what turned out to be highly contestable, albeit cool, sunny and windy conditions.

In the open division, the event was won by Ben Skinner (Perranporth) with series champion Ben Haworth (Devon) coming a close second. Haworth won the series with three straight wins.

This weekend sees the arrival of the Student Surf Tour in Porthcawl, Wales. With categories for men's and women's surfing running over both days, the Student Surf Tour Porthcawl is the first leg in the full inter-university academic league.

In Newquay, the weekend will see this year's British National Surf Championships held at Fistral Beach.

With on-going difficulties at the national governing body for surfing, Surfing GB, none of this year's national events were scheduled to take place, until volunteers stepped forward to salvage this important event.

To coincide with the event this weekend, a gathering of surfers, interested parties, parents, businesses, media and others are meeting in Newquay to decide the future of surfing in the UK, and introduce a new steering committee for a new NGB.

However, if politics and contests are not really your thing, my advice is to get up early on Sunday, find a sheltered, north-east facing cove, and see in the first of the big autumn swells in style.

After all, this is just the start of it. This is the lemon next to the pie.

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