English Adaptive Surf Open 2020 - Report and Photos

Blog - English Adaptive Surf Open 2020 - Report and Photos

English Adaptive Surf Open 2020 - Report and Photos

6 minute read

As Storm Alex tore its way across the country, some of the world’s best adaptive surfers defied the weather to tear it up at The Wave, in a groundbreaking competition.

Pegleg Bennett throwing the Shaka whilst competing at the English Adaptive Surf Open

The 4th annual Korev Lager English Adaptive Surf Open will go down in history as the world’s first-ever adaptive surf competition to be run on Wavegarden Cove technology. The Wave in Bristol proved to be the perfect location for the event, not only were there guaranteed waves throughout the comp, but the venue itself was designed to be 100% accessible.

Heavy rain falling at The Wave in Bristol

This inland surfing venue can continue to pump out waves through some pretty harsh conditions, which was handy with the tail end of a storm passing through. If this year’s event had taken place at the beach it would have almost certainly been postponed. As the rain and wind picked up throughout the day spectators could shelter in the clubhouse and dryrobes were essential for staying warm and dry between heats!

Competitors getting ready to surf at the 2020 English Adaptive Open Surf

Before the event Nick Hounsfield, founder of The Wave, spoke about how stoked he was to be able to host this inspirational competition:

“Ever since I started to think about creating The Wave, I knew that it had to be truly accessible for all. We designed the place with adaptive surfing at the very core of what we want to deliver. I’ve been working with the Adaptive Surfing Community for the last 5 years, and having the 2020 English Adaptive Surfing Championships at The Wave will literally be a dream come true – both for me but also for all our staff and supporters who have helped build my vision for The Wave. We can’t wait to host this amazing event!”


The Wave Bristol

Both Surfing England and The Wave worked hard to ensure that the day went off without a hitch. Social distancing measures were in place throughout the venue and volunteers did an incredible job of assisting competitors both in and out of the water.

Visually Impaired surfer competing at the 2020 English Adaptive Surf Open

Having grown exponentially over the past four years, this years event saw competitors from all over the globe (including Italy, Portugal, Canada and the US) make the journey to Bristol to surf for the titles on offer. Competition though is only a small part of this event, the adaptive surf community is incredibly friendly and welcoming. Each surfer has their own inspirational story of how they got into the sport, which makes this such a unique competition to be a part of.

Competitors outdoors being briefed about The Wave at the 2020 English Adaptive Surf Open

The introduction of a new venue to the Apadaptive Open also saw the introduction of a new format, designed to take advantage of the location and to maximise time in the water for all the surfers. The morning heats between 9am to 12pm had competitors surfing the lefts, before switching to the right in the afternoon from 2 to 5pm. Each surfer had six waves per heat, with their highest wave score on the left and right combining to give their final position overall.

The contest ran on the advanced setting of The Wave, and also the beginner section on the inside of the pool. This meant that all levels of surfers were able to enter and compete.

Competitor keeping warm in dryrobes at the English Adaptive Surf Open

Surfing England’s big hope is for adaptive surfing to be included in the Paralympics eventually, and this event was a perfect showcase for the sport. Throughout the competition, every surfer out there truly pushed themselves to the limit and there were some stunning performances.

dryrobe Ambassador and adaptive surfing legend Pegleg Bennett took home the title in the Standing division. Current Visually Impaired World Champ Melissa Reid took 1st place in both the Women’s Open and Visually Impaired Divisions, as well as 2nd place in the Standing, but was pushed hard by Charlotte Banfield who came 2nd in the Women’s Open.

Charlotte Banfield surfing at the Korev English Adaptive Surf Open 2020

Young Ethan Jolosa from Wales put in some great performances, finishing 3rd in the Prone category behind veteran Bruno Hansen who took 1st place and Italy’s Massimiliano Mattei in 2nd. At just 15, Ethan clearly has a bright future ahead of him.

Ethan Jolosa surfing at the English Adaptive Surf Open. The Wave, Bristol.

Llywelyn Sponge Williams had a very impressive day, not only did he edge out Martin Pollock to win the Sitting/Kneeling division and took home the Men’s Open title, he also claimed the overall highest scoring wave total!

Pegleg Bennet surfing at The Wave in the Korev English Adaptive Surf Open 2020

We spoke to dryrobe Ambassador Pegleg Bennet and asked him what it was like competing at an Adaptive Championships at The Wave:

“Amazing! Venue wise it doesn’t get any better. Totally accessible for the adaptives, with guaranteed perfect waves every time. It’s a completely level playing ground. This is the way I think competitions are gonna go now.”

Pegleg Bennet at The Wave, Bristol

The atmosphere and the camaraderie amongst the competitors was phenomenal to witness. You could see youngsters become inspired to either take up surfing or push themselves further. dryrobe® are proud to have been able to support this event and we're already stoked for next year's competition! 

2020 Korev Adaptive Surfing Open 2020 @ The Wave from Surfing England on Vimeo.


Full results:

1. Bruno Hansen
2. Massimiliano Mattei
3. Ethan Jolosa

Winners of the Prone division at the 2020 English Adaptive Surf Open

Visually Impaired:
1. Melissa Reid
2. Matteo Salandri
3. David Lewis

Winners of the Visually Impaired division at the 2020 English Adaptive Surf Open

1. Llywelyn Sponge Williams
2. Martin Pollock
3. Michael R Pingatore
4. Isaac Heaher

Winners of the Sitting/Kneeling division at the 2020 English Adaptive Surf Open

1. Nuno Miguel Franco Vitorino
2. Natasha Davies

Winners of the Assisted division at the 2020 English Adaptive Surf Open

1. Pegleg Bennett
2. Melissa Reid
3. Louis Sutton
4. Charlotte Banfield

Winners of the Standing division at the 2020 English Adaptive Surf Open

Women’s Open:
1. Melissa Reid
2. Charlotte Banfield
3. Katie Victoria Richards
4. Natasha Davies

Winners of the Women's Open at the 2020 English Adaptive Surf Open

Men’s Open:
1. Llywelyn Sponge Williams
2. Pegleg Bennett
3. Louis Sutton
4. Bruno Hansen

Winners of the Men's Open at the 2020 English Adaptive Surf Open

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Photos by Tom Young