Tired, battered and bruised we finally made it back from Newquay and Boardmasters 2014 last night, after a crazy few days. Although the climax of the Boardmasters festival was overshadowed somewhat by the chaos of Hurricane Bertha, the general consensus from the people we spoke to was that Boardmasters 2014 was a resounding success.
We were up at the Festival Site on the Sunday morning and luckily had selected a good camping spot and have got a few more collective years and camping experience between us than a lot of the other revellers did. The scene that greeted us as we blearily looked upon the first field was carnage. Many tents were ruined, flattened or gone and by the time we walked up to the main arena area it was nearly impossible to stand up straight in the brutal winds.
Although we heard a lot of moaning and have seen a lot of negative comments on some social channels, the organisers did the right thing and made the right decision to protect the safety of the people up there at Watergate Bay and we support their decision fully.
Until that point the Festival had been one massive party and the mix of music and Surfing and Skating was perfect. There was so much going on it was hard to spread yourself about to see everything but with careful planning it was easy enough to soak up a good mix of bands and events down at Fistral.
With music getting underway around lunchtime and then continuing until 1am there was always something to see at Watergate Bay. For the brave there was a fantastic funfair with some serious gut sloshing and head spinning rides and loads fun stands to visit, including The Lucky Seven Custom Cap trailer, and the Coke bus where you could have your own special bottle created. There were plenty of food stands offering a wide range of grub, from noodles, to gourmet burgers and even a salad bar. What was nice was that the queues were never out of control and even after the close of the headline acts it was quick and easy to get served.
The campsite was exactly what you would expect, a little noisy, a bit chaotic and pretty busy, but with a good set of ear plugs and a nightcap, we didn’t haven’t problems sleeping as the parties continued around us. The site toilets were certainly better than I expected and again queuing wasn’t an issue. One thing that was noticeable, but too be expected was the amount of discarded rubbish by the revellers and the cleaning staff were struggling to get on top of it at times.
The mix of music up at Watergate was good, there were acts ranging from vocal acapella harmonies such as the Boscastle Buoys, through to punk rockers The Dead Kennedys, through to the Rapper Snoop Dogg. For me, the highlight of the music scene was Snoop’s set. Thousands of us lapped it up as he made us wait in the pouring rain and then joined in with every song as he dazzled with his confident and varied performance.
We spoke to one group of revellers in the VIP tent who told us that although it was their first time at Boardmasters, they loved the mix of people, the range of performances and the setting of the site with the many stages and beautiful views across Watergate Bay. Brian Letley told us “ We’ve seen some amazing established and new bands up here, the vibe is really chilled out, the ales are going down far too easily and we are already looking forward to 2015”.
Over at Fistral the Surfing competition was well attended, especially with the cancellation on the Sunday at the Watergate site. The conditions weren’t ideal and watching the semi-finals at low tide, you had to be impressed with the competitors and feel for them as they paddled out into the stormy conditions and well overhead waves. The right decision was taken to allow the tide to come up a bit before the finals played out in front of the growing crowd.
Although all events were well supported and the crowd enjoyed seeing all the athletes in action, the most attention and excitement seemed to surround the final of the Davidoff Cool Water Men’s Longboard Pro. The crowd seemed drawn to the Longboard event and the skills of all the competitors as they cross stepped, drop knee turned and one individual even punted and landed an air on his 9ft board. That individual was local boy Ben Skinner and he put on a masterclass to convincingly win the event for the second year in a row.
Unfortunately due to the effects of Bertha, the shopping village was closed on the final day, but until that point had been offering a wide range of Surf and Skate goods, the opportunity to watch and try out the Flowrider, and a chance to book Surf lessons with the Surfing Sumo team. The final of the Skateboarding was also cancelled due to the weather conditions so expect the Skaters to go even bigger in 2015.
So while my body slowly recovers and my liver breathes a sigh of relief and I sit here reflecting on Boardmasters 2014, I have to honestly say it was a blast. So we only got two days instead of three and maybe we missed some of the biggest acts, but the organisers have promised refunds. The festival until that time was a lot of fun and apart from a few first day car parking issues, the event was well organised and ran smoothly and we witnessed nothing but good times going on all around us. The Surfing was of a high calibre and highly entertaining and the Surf Report team are already looking forward to next year, although thicker mattresses will be sought before then! As soon as we have information on Boardmasters 2015 dates, line up rumours and refund details for 2014 we will let you know. Until then Party On Dudes!