Surfing in Britain? It’s Chilly but Brilliant and Widening in Appeal.
Surfing is an inherently British sport, and has a rich cultural history. As recently as the 1970s, Britain’s top surfers had to be foreign to earn a decent living – a fact which is still evident in certain areas of the world today. But thanks to the internet the sport has been able to grow and evolve and become far more accessible than before.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the capital of surf: Liverpool. In October this year it hosted its first ever professional competition with the UK’s only professional women’s surfers in attendance, and as the year progressed the competition continued to grow, adding a third, a fourth, a fifth, and a sixth event leading to a grand finale for the event on December 1st.
These days, Liverpool is the home of the UK’s best surfers, and the scene in the city is dominated by women of all ages, shapes, and sizes. The growing number of top female surfers in the city has been helped by the city itself, which has become a hotbed of surfing in recent years.
In the 1970s, Liverpool was a surfing destination known mostly for its dangerous surf breaks. When British surf guru Colin McRae arrived to head up the world’s longest surfing race in 1978, most people in the city thought he was going to take the sport back to its hippie roots, and instead he gave it a new lease of life by creating the UK’s first major surfing event, called the W.I.P. World Amateur Championships, in 1981. McRae was able to spread the word about the world championships to the rest of the world and the event grew every year. In 1985 the event grew to the point where the UK now had their own world championship.
McRae’s vision was for the event to become an annual event, and he was able to achieve this by booking and selling the whole of England into the event, and the event has grown and grown since. The format of the competition has remained essentially the same, with professional surfers competing in each event. This is