Words: Chris Nelson Images: Mat Arney

The Summer Solstice Slyder Social presented by REEF

Sometimes the waves just don’t play ball. It’s part of what makes the ocean such an alluring yet fickle mistress. The elements won’t bend to our will but sometimes from setbacks great things can grow… And so it came to pass that this year’s Slyder Cup morphed into the Summer Solstice Slyder Social. Swell or no swell, the slyders would converge; powered by pure stoke, the proceedings had developed a momentum of their own.

The friction free clans came together at the Blue Bar Boardroom in Porthtowan, bearing surfmats, handplanes, alaias, paipos, bellyboards and finless shapes.  The Show ‘n’ Shine saw some beautifully crafted work on display. Against the Grain, Westering, Yellow Duck, Traditional Surfing, Paipo Glide, Original Surfing and G-Mat all had their craft in attendance. Lenseman extraordinaire Mat Arney was on-hand with some self-shaped paipos and alaias as well as some creations from Otter Surfboards. Steve Wintercroft brought down a freshly glassed, up-cycled, finless, channel-bottomed surfboard which drew more than a few admiring glances and saw him walk away with the highly coveted ‘Shaper’s Shield’. Martin Jackson claimed the award for ‘Most Rad’ taking us all on an adventure in low-fi – demonstrating the fun to be had when you strip it right back. There was even a sprinkling of ‘alternative’ alternative craft – teatrays, Flotina’s, chopping boards and Sally Parkin’s super rare Japanese itago board scored in a ‘cultural exchange’…

The sun blazed and the air was full of talk of wood grain, wood stain and matters of inflation. As the tide dropped out a small wave started to peel at PT and suddenly everyone converged on the line-up. Boards were shared, waves were shared and smiles ruled the day. And while there was a distinct lack of loot playing and virgins dancing, the Solstice spirit was in full effect and saw Webbo walk away with the trophy for Most Stoked having been first in, last out and shredding all manner of sleds; Jen Tyler dominating on her bellyboard just pipped slyding stalwart Rose Ross to the award  for Longest Wave.

Thanks to all who came and slid, to the crew at Reef for supporting the day and to the Blue Bar for hosting us. Big hoots as always to Richard Braham of Whale Submarine for the awesome artwork and Nick Holden for the top trophy whittling.

The Slyder Cup will be contested in the late autumn swells this year, and will return to its rightful place as a Spring Convention in 2015. Feedback suggests that perhaps the Summer Solstice Slyder Social should also find its way onto the Approaching Lines calendar as a permanent fixture… watch this space… 

Until the Autumn, keep your rubber inflated and your wood well polished!