And lo, a man came from a far off land and he was hailed ‘The King of Fins’, bringing together the five tribes of the glide, claiming the one crown that unites them. Noah Lane saluted the crowd, his chariot of choice at his feet – a single blade with two side bites. It was a day when an Aussie took the honours, but style was the real winner.
As dawn broke on Saturday morning, we approached the beach fired by a heady mixture of hope, optimism and caffeine. The evening before, the crowd had gathered at the Blue Bar for the pre-5 to 1 Fin Fair double bill screening, corduroy lined knee high surf advanced onto the beach, the swell looked to be fading. Much Skinners was consumed as everyone enjoyed the offerings of Messrs Cyrus Sutton and Joel Tudor. Contest director Nick Holden had fired up the assembled competitors to go home, get some sleep, and return ready for battle – for the swell would build, and the competition would begin. As dawn brought forth the offshore wind, grooming a waist high A-frame front and centre – he was proven to be true to his word. The event was on!
General good vibes and stoke warmed the Blue Bar grandstand area as contestants and crowds gathered, showcasing boards, bikes, fins and flair. Nick laid down the format. Five individual classes united by the number of fins, progressing to a final in each category – then, a grand final with the champions going head to head, representing the history and tradition of their chosen steeds. Only one would be crowned the ‘King of Fins’.
Smiles and shakas were the order of the day as the single fins were first in the water, with some super stylish talent on display. Soul arches, carving turns and hang fives flowed. Sam Boex brought forth his neon coloured glide with a special Land’s End baseball cap head-dip, while John Eldridge’s mid-floater, stance switch summoned hoots from the crowd. Grace and smooth lines flowed, with Ryan Manetta, Trev Garland, Chris Betty, Marcus Healan, Deshko Matthews and Elsie Pinniger really ramping up the style stakes. In the single fin final it was Jack Croker who edged out John Eldridge in a super tight, nip and tuck tussle.
Aficionados of the twin persuasion delivered panache, on tap. Jimbo Bennett broke out some sweet carving 360’s, Sam Boex impressed again with stylish turns on a single fin with a single side bite, John Eldridge was speed and flow personified, but it was Gee Piper who took down the title with his super smooth and critical grab rail turns and off the tops. Three was the magic number for the next heats. There were Thrusters, 2 + 1’s and 1 + 2’s, all mounted to a variety of boards. Style and aplomb flooded the line-up exuding from Adam Amin, Antonia Atha, Rose Darling and Katherine Cunniffe. The final was an all-out flair-down between Jonny Brooks, Ben Davey, Jimbo Bennett and Noah Lane, with Noah’s flow and classy turns proving unstoppable.
As the afternoon progressed, the tide dropped out and the P Town bank continued to deliver. For followers of the four, it was a slam-down that was all about poise and polish. Jamie Ward, James Cummings and Owen Lewis all laid it on the rail, but and Jonny Brooks had it in spades and took down the title. It was then time for a speedy fin change, adding an FCS nubster to his set-up, so he could return to the line-up for the Five Fin finale – Jonny’s third straight final in a row, and second straight win! Runner–up Sarah Bentley linked in some flowing turns and high lines to take the title of Most Stylish Lady.
And so it came to pass that Antipodean artisan of the glide Mr Noah Lane took the crown at the first annual 5 to 1 Fin Fair, presented by Reef. Gee Piper was a close second, Jonny Brooks couldn’t quite keep his winning streak rolling coming in an excellent third, with Jack Croker fourth and Jamie Ward fifth. The power of the stoke was strong in the line-up throughout the day. There were smiles all round, hoots, shakas and super smooth surfing. It was a time when style and decorum really did rule the waves. It was the dawning of the Fellowship of the Fins.
Roll on the ‘King Of The Fins 2014’!
See you soon, Chris, Demi and Nick.
Honourable mentions – Chops Lascelles, Jonny Brookes, Ig Wilkinson
We’d like to thank everyone who supported the Finn Fair, especially event sponsors Reef as well as FCS Fins and Skinners. A big thank-you to everyone who came to the screening of ‘Compassing’ and ‘Bootleg’, which raised £200 for the UK Longboard Team Crowdfunder. Thanks to our amazing judges Joff Owen, Mike Durkin and John Isaac as well as to our Approaching Lines Fin Fair team including Lashie, The Pope, Benters, Ant, Jen and Rory. Archie the Grom – you were there in spirit.