I won a prize at the World Bellyboard Championships at Chapel Porth! This is one of the best days for British eccentricity, friendliness, surfing and people just generally getting along and having fun together. There are cakes, but no wetsuits. This year, gloriously and luxuriously, hot tubs were thoughtfully provided for the hundreds of competitors.
It would be good to report that I beat my last year’s third place in the Ladies Junior (under 60′s) Section with a resounding win! Alas, no podium finish for me this year – but I did win first prize in the Ladies vintage swimwear category. I bought this glamorous Slix costume at a jumble sale over 30 years ago, when my chums and I entertained each other by dressing up in it and giggling a lot. I’ve kept it all these years as I am a determined hoarder and can’t throw anything away. At last year’s Champs I wished I had brought it with me, so I vowed to give it an airing this year. I had to re-shirr the back panel and re-elastisize the legs: I tested it in the shower and there was a large element of sag. I teamed it with vintage sunglasses left over from the Opticians where I worked many years ago and a pair of 15 year old jelly shoes. I donned my outfit and then went to collect my beautifully painted board from the display. I was descended upon by photographers from all angles – it was like getting married again! Paul and I made him a vintage-style suit using a ‘Vegetable’ motif – a bit of a tongue-in-cheek joke about the ubiquitous ‘Animal’ range. We were both invited to take part in the Expression Session – a wonderful 10 minutes when around 80 people rush into the sea with their Bellies and have a communal surf. Happily my costume stood up to the epic waves, although I did get sand in my nose, ears and teeth, as well as the usual places.
As I am Plymouth Maid born and bred Paul Acraman the Artist painted Smeaton’s Tower on my board – it looked brilliant and I love it.
We now have Bellyfriends from the Champs – Sue the illustrator and her husband Martin, Alison the hot tub lady and others whose names we didn’t get. We’re already looking forward to seeing them all again next year. I might even enter the Bake Off!