Surfers await 20ft Cornish waves

BY SIMON DE BRUXELLES

SURFERS from across Britain were heading for Cornwall

last night as forecasters predicted perfect conditions for waves more than

20ft high, a type known as the Cribber.

A dozen surfers have been invited to compete in the first tournament to

ride the Cribber, including Russell Winter, from Newquay, the only

European on professional surfing’s world tour.

Yesterday organisers of the tournament at Fistral Beach in Newquay told

competitors, on standby since early September, that mid-Atlantic weather

conditions were right to create waves higher than a double-decker bus.

Sue Jewell, of Gul International, the wetsuit manufacturer that

organised the event, said a final decision would be taken this morning.

“Conditions look good and we do not want to miss it," she said.

The Cribber takes its name from a reef that stretches half a mile out

to sea. An area of low pressure in mid-Atlantic creates the 20ft swell

needed to form the waves when they reach the north Cornish shore. The

speed and direction of the wind are also vital, as are low spring tides.

The Cribber became part of surfing legend in September 1966, when three

Australians, Jack Lydgate, Johnny McIlroy and Pete Russell, rode 30ft

waves off Towan Head at Newquay. Since then conditions to create the big

wave have happened several times, but only a few people are said to have

ridden it.

A large safety team for the Gul Cribber Challenge will include Cornwall

Air Ambulance, coastguards and lifeguards on jet skis. Surfers will

compete for a £1,000 prize.

Paul Eden, of Gul, said: “It is not about the prize-money, though. They

are doing it so they can say: ‘I am Cribber King.’

"