GALLERY: Smooth Movers 2022, The Art Of Bringing People Together

Jason Lock

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Updated 4d ago

Think of West Cornwall's Smooth Movers event as the UK's answer to the Duct Tape Invitational and you've got the gist of what's going on here – but it's also much more than that.

Through the eyes of this editor at least; if the theme of a surf event is traditional comp-style on a log or fish only; then the feeling was one of reconnection. Lots of people spoke about how they are still in the social emergence stage of post-COVID break-free, and an event like Smooth Movers served to rip the bandage off – making people move again, in more ways that one.

Live cam: Godrevy

"Stephy [Rogers], all wrapped up in a Lewis sister sandwich after we missed her heat," said Lottie Lewis right, with Monica left, who both drove down from just outside Newquay to support their bud.

© 2022 - Tom Vaughan.

It only takes a local grass-roots surfing event for people to see those they haven't over the past few years. An excuse to get together, and a general ok-ness to have a camera shoved in their face, courtesy of yours truly and MSW snapper Tom Vaughan. And some of the UK's greatest log and fish shifters descended on the Red River Pub in Gwithian for a launch party on Friday, helped along by free Atlantic Pale Ale (thanks Sharp's Brewery!) and the general feeling that everyone was there for the craic. That this is what it's all about.

Los Estables, in Gwithian, a stone's throw from the comp site at Godrevy, hosted the launch event the day before. Sharp's Brewery supplied the social juice.

Los Estables, in Gwithian, a stone's throw from the comp site at Godrevy, hosted the launch event the day before. Sharp's Brewery supplied the social juice.

© 2022 - Tom Vaughan.

On the docket, two films from Seth Hughes, one featuring Mike Lay and a fresh flick called Amble with up-and-coming longboard star, Izzy Henshall: “I was actually nervous about showing my film,” said Izzy, right before it screened to a packed audience. “The actual competition will be fun, just kind of switch it on and go. But showing that here... yeah, I don't know why, some nerves.”

Any excuse for a little get together.

Any excuse for a little get together.

© 2022 - Tom Vaughan.

Izzy Henshall and Steph Rogers, post heat.

Izzy Henshall and Steph Rogers, post heat. "Well, Izzy won and I came fourth, so you've got first and last place here," said Steph.

© 2022 - Tom Vaughan.

It was a success. What filmmaker Seth Hughes has created here is a love letter to West Cornwall. And Izzy is a supremely talented logger, very much in tune with the benefits of living out in those deepest throws. Hopefully this flick will be making its way to a festival near you, soon!

Harry Timson's fish entry, whippy lil' Nigel Semmens' shaped, channel-bottomed rocket.

Harry Timson's fish entry, whippy lil' Nigel Semmens' shaped, channel-bottomed rocket.

© 2022 - Tom Vaughan.

Friday eve was also an art exhibit with pieces from Sennen-son Seb Smart and Ishmael Hammon.

Friday eve was also an art exhibit with pieces from Sennen-son Seb Smart and Ishmael Hammon.

© 2022 - Callum Morse.

As Friday night wound down, a couple dozen hardened warriors made their way back to campsites or parked vans around the 1am mark, for a pinch of shut eye before the dawn chorus chirped to life at 6am. By 7am(ish) the first buzzer set off the opening heat.

What last year's Smooth Movers men's champ Mike Lay didn't know here was he was about to win the category again. Pictured with baby Enys.

What last year's Smooth Movers men's champ Mike Lay didn't know here was he was about to win the category again. Pictured with baby Enys.

© 2022 - Tom Vaughan.

Contest zone took place just to the east of Gillick Rock, at West Cornwall beauty spot Godrevy. If you came late, good luck parking. The tiny National Trust car park was at capacity, with the overflow parking spots filling neatly with spectators and the usual Saturday morning regular dog walk crowd.

Photographer Amy Bullock and one of many pooches at the Red River Pub.

Photographer Amy Bullock and one of many pooches at the Red River Pub.

© 2022 - Tom Vaughan.

Photographer Callum Morse points the lens the other way.

Photographer Callum Morse points the lens the other way.

© 2022 - Callum Morse.

"We started filming in April 2021 for a new movie," said filmmaker Seth Hughes. "From then until now, Izzy Henshall's talent has gone up like a rocket." Keep an eye out for the duo's flick, Amble, soon.

© 2022 - Bella Bunce.

Surf started in the 2-3ft range with a slightly crisp north wind chopping things up a bit. The swell hung around until just gone midday, before it started to fade out. Didn't make a difference though, all heats run without a hitch, and an expression session to boot. Godrevy's a great setting for it too -- sometimes jokingly referred to as Cornwall's best small-to-medium-sized log wave.

By the time it had all wrapped up, it was Lola Bleakely who took out the women's event, with Amelia Hewitson in second and Izzy Henshall, third. All three women have now qualified for next year's Mexi Log Fest.

For the men, reigning champ Mike Lay and James Parry finished up equal first, with Gwilym Pritchard second and newly-minted Euro champ Arthur Randell in third. The three gents also qualified for the Mexi Fest.

The judging tent, taking the role seriously.

The judging tent, taking the role seriously.

© 2022 - Tom Vaughan.

As for the winner of the fish contest (called the Battered Fish), Devon's Jobe Harriss made a stellar return to competition with a first place finish, followed by Harry Timson in second and Ryan Riley in third.

We're not done yet; Olly Parker and Syd Randell won the Smoothest Mover award and Gwilym flared for the Send it For Summer Expression Session.

Olly, who has just got back from cruising around the UK on a hog with board, and Syd Randell, celebrations are under way.

Olly, who has just got back from cruising around the UK on a hog with board, and Syd Randell, celebrations are under way.

© 2022 - Callum Morse.

Winners! Men's log. L-r, James Parry, head judge Sam Bleakley, Arthur Randall, Gwilym Pritchard and Mike Lay.

Winners! Men's log. L-r, James Parry, head judge Sam Bleakley, Arthur Randall, Gwilym Pritchard and Mike Lay.

© 2022 - Callum Morse.

Lady log winners! Izzy Henshall (second left) Lola Bleakely and Amelia Hewitson.

Lady log winners! Izzy Henshall (second left) Lola Bleakely and Amelia Hewitson.

© 2022 - Callum Morse.

“Unsure of where to start with this so let’s go with thank you everyone,” said organiser Josh Daniel. “Smooth Movers really is about bringing people together, uniting the clans of British traditional surfing if you will, and having a good time – and I think it was mission accomplished on that front. A special thanks need to go to too many to count but if you see Meglar and Paige then buy them a pint for putting up with me for the entire eight week build up if nothing else. 

“The biggest thanks to my dear friend Tom Chapman of Algorhythm for everything, above and beyond doesn’t quite cut the work you put in nor the result of the afterparty.”

Matt Snelling.

Matt Snelling. "Yeah, that hat will stay on while I'm out there..."

© 2022 - Tom Vaughan.

...he wasn't kidding.

...he wasn't kidding.

© 2022 - Callum Morse.

Josh also thanked Cornwall Council, the National Trust, Down the Line Surf Shop, Sharp's Brewery, Hayle RFC and the Red River Pub.

“I'm going to sleep for a week or so.”

Here's some vignettes from around the day.

Ted Pearson.

Ted Pearson.

© 2022 - Callum Morse.

Right, Amy Brock-Morgan and left, Lola Bleakley, who went on to win the women's log event. Another rising talent out of West Cornwall.

Right, Amy Brock-Morgan and left, Lola Bleakley, who went on to win the women's log event. Another rising talent out of West Cornwall.

© 2022 - Tom Vaughan.

Blake Jones, laughs it off.

Blake Jones, laughs it off.

© 2022 - Callum Morse.

One to watch -- Sylive Puddiphat is a grom with bags of talent.

One to watch -- Sylive Puddiphat is a grom with bags of talent.

© 2022 - Tom Vaughan.

Amelia Hewitson.

Amelia Hewitson.

© 2022 - Bella Bunce.

James Parry.

James Parry.

© 2022 - Bella Bunce.

Mike Lay, logging and Seth Hughes, shooting.

Mike Lay, logging and Seth Hughes, shooting.

© 2022 - Bella Bunce.

"We're the aspiring Izzy Henshalls!" says Blake Jones centre, with Ted Pearson (left) and Louis Willcocks (right)

© 2022 - Tom Vaughan.

Lola Bleakley.

Lola Bleakley.

© 2022 - Bella Bunce.

"Oh no, another pic of us together, people already think we're a couple," said Sam Sunshine (left), with Allannah Brown.

© 2022 - Tom Vaughan.

Expression session.

Expression session.

© 2022 - Tom Vaughan.

World's biggest party wave? How to close out a day of comp.

World's biggest party wave? How to close out a day of comp.

© 2022 - Callum Morse.