17 Things We Learnt At Red Bull Unleashed This Weekend

Because a surfing competition in the middle of a Valley in North Wales was never going to be normal...

1) Holding a surf contest in a Welsh valley is surreal

Photo: James Renhard / Mpora

The otherwise sleepy village of Dolgarrog in the Conwy Valley, North Wales, resplendent with it’s rolling fields of green trees and oh-so local shops is certainly a surreal place to find a surf competition stacked with pros from all over the world.

2) But it definitely works

Photo: James Renhard / Mpora

Two days, 24 pro surfers, 2000 fans, and one world-class, continuous artificial wave meant that the first ever Red Bull Unleashed absolutely went off.

3) You really can go mental on a rental

Photo: James Renhard / Mpora

Aussie Ian Crane,on a board with RENTAL written on it in big red letters, had a stellar run that netted him a staggering 29 points (the maximum possible was 30), sending him through to the quarter finals.

4) Hawaii still rules

Photo: James Renhard / Mpora

24 surfers from around the world were, over two days of knock-out surfing, whittled down to just two. Billy Stairmand from New Zealand and Albee Layer from Maui did battle for the title of first ever Unleashed winner. The man from Maui, Hawaii got the job done in the end, and took the crown in front of a packed audience.

5) Bright pink boards are cool

Photo: James Renhard / Mpora

Jack Freestone brought some mad steeze with this hot pink board. You need some skills to get away with such a bold move.

6) Snapping your board in two doesn’t help your score

Photo: James Renhard / Mpora

Chasing a high score to stay in the comp, Aussie Mich Crews snapped his board clean in two. He didn’t get the score he needed.

7) But it does win you fans

Photo: James Renhard / Mpora

He did, however, win over the public when he gave half his board to a kid in the crowd. Presumably, it’s now available on eBay.

8) Surfers can be funny looking

Photo: James Renhard / Mpora

Hiroto Arai from Japan duck-dives under the water, and looks a bit like Han Solo being frozen in Carbonite.

9) Surf photography is a lonely job

Photo: James Renhard / Mpora

Surf photographers spend all day in the water, freezing their tits off. And what thanks do they get? The appear in articles like this, pointing out their loneliness. Sorry chaps.

10) Is that Woody?

Photo: James Renhard / Mpora / Warp Films

Hang on! We’re fairly certain that this dude is Woody from This Is England 90.

11) Surfers love sheds

Photo: James Renhard / Mpora

These are the ‘wooden camping pods’ (fancy huts, then) that the pro surfers laid their heads in at night throughout the event.

12) They really love sheds

Photo: James Renhard / Mpora

The competitors has these rad little huts in the Surf Academy, right next to the wave. Ideal for resting up between heats, rehydrating or, like Luke Davis, hanging out your washing.

13) And table tennis

Photo: James Renhard / Mpora

Some of the fellas relax with a gruelling game of Whiff-Whaff. Bodacious.

14) Judges tents have weird names

Photo: James Renhard / Mpora

Judging the competition were pro’s Jake Paterson, Alain Riou, and former World Number two Brad Gerlach. While there, they formed an all male choral choir called Beirniaid. Odd.

15) Surfers lie about the size of the fish they catch

Photo: James Renhard / Mpora

“Honest, mate, it was this big…”

16) Alana Blanchard wasn’t there

Photo: James Renhard / Mpora

And believe us, we searched high and low. But her other half, Aussie Jack Freestone was in attendance. He made it through to the semi finals, where he was knocked out by eventual finalist Billy Stairmand.

17) All gardens need watering

Photo: James Renhard / Mpora

It appears that even Wave Gardens need watering. This is actually the Crash & Splash Lagoon, featuring a massive inflatable Blob, a climbing wall and a slip & slide, that’s soon to open to the public.

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