Somo, a great little surf town in Northern Spain, was descended upon by a horde of kneeboarding enthusiasts from fourteen nations ,all with good intentions, enjoying the moment, making new friends and renewing old friendships. The opening ceremony set the scene for a week of festivities, a high level of surfing, siesta's, and nightly gatherings featuring great food, beers, wine and storytelling. The language barrier was no barrier; 'Hola', 'muchas gracias', 'si', and a bit of signing was enough. The surf fluctuated under a tidal influence, with a daily window of opportunity that allowed for excellent surfing. Whilst the Opens set the bar, the top eight age divisions didn't disappoint. Every nation was represented with a good spread of World title's amongst the competing nations.
There were so many highlights, but to isolate a few; There was Michael Novakov taking a fourth world title thirty-one years after his last world title. Michael used all of his king of North Narrabeen alley experience. It was a proud moment, that brought a lump to the throat. Gavin Coleman had set the bar high in the semis and blew everyone away with his trademark aggression and power. Karl Ward was no pretender; from heat one his intentions were clear and he surfed with speed and flow. He is a future champion, no risk. Paul o'Neil was the darkhorse. His wave choice and attack belied his contest experience. Someone to watch in the future. The Juior Pro are the future and didnt hold back. Theses guys believe anything is possible and the crowd response rewarded this atitude. Sam Coyne, Liam Taurins,Tom Novakov and Kelvin Weir all impressed. The ladies coped superbly in solid, tricky waves with Karelle Popke winning the event. Then there were those surfing through the pain barrier, the most courageous being Bob Gove. Bob was recovering from horrific injuries from being t-boned by a drunk a few months earlier. He was a most deserved winner.The eloquence and raw emotion of his acceptance speak was humbling. Talk about emotion. The New Zealanders' Haka was prime and great to watch.
A lasting impression is of the spectactular geographical features of Somo, and it's history, culture and great people. At the end day of the competition it was evident, whatever our origns, it is the shared passion for kneeboard surfing that was the most inspirational aspect, ensuring a continuence in our evolution. Endangered? Possibly, but we are far from extinction! This was evident in the large numbers of competitors and their supporters who travelled from around the world to compete in Somo, and who are all looking forward to the next Kneeboard World Champions in New Zealand.