by Luke Wakeling
Cardiff University’s Amy Dyer won gold at the BUCS Surf Championships in Newquay on the weekend of the 18-20 October in what was the inaugural BUCS Championship event of the year. The first year student won with a score of 9.20 in the final after making it through three rounds competing against the best surfers from universities across the country.
The BUCS competition consists of four-person heats, where each individual is allowed to catch up to 15 waves that are then scored out of 10. The scores are based on the manoeuvres the surfer is able to do on each wave; the top two scores are then taken to make a total out of 20. The two surfers with the two highest scores in each heat goes through to the next round.
Gair Rhydd Sport talked to Dyer about her experience of her first BUCS competition: “I wasn’t too sure who would be at the event before I arrived, but I wasn’t expecting to win. Surfing is such a hard sport as the conditions are always changing so it is impossible to make such predictions, you just have to try your hardest”. Indeed, the conditions in Cornwall were difficult, which makes the surfer’s win even more impressive.
When asked about where winning BUCS places amongst her achievements, Dyer responded: “Winning a national contest always ranks highly in my opinion. I have won a few national contests before and competed for England internationally at the ISA World Junior Surfing Games and it always feels amazing. I think the thing that pleased me the most about my performance at BUCS was the fact the surf was so tricky but despite this I managed to get my best wave of the final in the last ten seconds to take the win.
Having my name called out as the winner of the gold medal was amazing, as none of the finalists were sure how each other had done. It was a complete surprise to me when they announced it, making it even more exciting.”
Performing at this level in any sport requires a lot of training and dedication and surfing is no exception. As Dyer says: “I first started surfing properly when I was 12 as my cousin was really into it and I was super competitive and wanted to beat him. I started competing at 14 when the British Nationals came to my homebreak and I entered on a whim and actually did okay, spurring me on. I have since done many years training with Damon Beveridge at Surf Development UK which really improved my surfing style as well as competition technique to allow me to get those better results.”
As is common with many high-performance athletes across the university, juggling training and studying proves to be difficult: “A major struggle for me has been balancing academic studies with my surfing and the competitions. It meant I missed a fair bit of college to compete abroad, but I always managed to catch back up when I got home, with a lot of hard work. This year I was unable to compete at the English and British nationals as they were in the run up to my A level exams which was a shame, but in the end my academic studies must take priority.”
Dyer talked about her aims for the rest of the year and hopes to qualify for Team GB: “The end of the contest season is upon us now, so I aim to train hard over winter and surf as much as possible in Cardiff (and hopefully have a trip abroad to somewhere warmer) to prepare me for the upcoming English and British Nationals around May time, with the eventual goal to qualify for the GB team to compete at the ISA world championships.”
Judging by her gold medal at BUCS, Dyer is in a very good position to accomplish these goals.