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Proud winners. From left to right: Mali James, Verity Wyatt-Budd, Flora Lawton, Milly Zoeftig

The BUCS surfing championship returned to Fistral beach, Newquay last weekend as Falmouth and Cardiff Universities dominated the competition.

The annual event hosted by BUCS, which stands for British Universities and Colleges Sport, attracts surfing societies from universities across the country for a weekend of parties and surf and to obtain bragging rights over rival student cities.

Last year’s defending champion, Falmouth Uni’s own Matthew Chapman, said: “The competition went really well this year, although it was disappointing to lose first place on a count back but that’s contests for you.”

Chapman, who is originally from Jersey, added: “The waves were ideal throughout and the standard of surfing was higher than I expected! It was a great weekend and I hope to come back next year and reclaim the gold.”

A relatively flat Friday didn’t dampen spirits, as beach volleyball and improved conditions for the next two days kept the crowds entertained. Saturday saw most of the best waves, with some 3-5ft offshore fun compared to a slightly smaller Sunday.

After typically shifting Cornish weather and three packed-out days of surfing heats covering all ranges of surfing ability and experience, 88 women and 252 men (making it the biggest surfing comp in Europe in terms of competitors) tackled varied wave conditions to determine four finalists for both men and women.

It was Falmouth and Exeter Students’ Union (FXU) who dominated an extremely tight men’s final, with Joseph Prow, Matthew Chapman and Theo Cherques taking 1st, 2nd, and 4th respectively, with Swansea University competitor Rhys Poulton taking 3rd.

With no one to represent FXU in the women’s final, it was Bristol’s Flora Lawton who shone to take the title, with Cardiff’s Verity Wyatt-Budd and Plymouth’s Milly Zoeftig taking 2nd and 3rd, and Cardiff Met’s Mali James snapping up 4th.

The competition, which is in association with Surfing GB, was another resounding success and the high standard of surfing along with special events at Newquay clubs such as Sailor’s meant students and locals alike had a very special weekend.