My Dad, Ben, and I entered the 2nd contest because it just looked fun and were immediately hooked. We were both regular surfers and Chapel was our home break. In fact, my Dad was one of the keenest surfers I have known and surfed right up until the end of the summer in 2010, when being diagnosed with Alpha-1 which meant surfing the cold atlantic waters just wasn't an option.
After that first champs I offered to design the t-shirts for the next year and have continued to do so ever since. Every September we'd both man the t-shirt stall, which gave Ben the perfect opportunity to indulge one of his great passions – talking to people. Ben continued to be a regular at the Championships after 2010, helping out behind the t-shirt stall and still bringing his warmth and humour to the event.
This year, on Sunday 8th September for the first time since we entered together in 2004, I attended the World Bellyboard Championships without my Dad. He died just a few days after his 65th birthday back in July. The support from everyone involved in the Championships was amazing and culminated in the giving of a special award 'The Ben Stockley Spirit of Bellyboarding'. The trophy had been painstakingly crafted by James Otter of Otter Surfboards, who felt moved by Ben's tale. It was also decided that funds raised from the sale of special Bellyboarding bumper stickers would go to your organisation, the support of which was a great comfort to him.
The sheer number of people who have said to me that Ben had a positive effect on their lives has been outstanding and this was reflected in a 'paddle out' in July which saw a group of 40 or so surfers, bodyboarders, body surfers and swimmers make their way beyond the break to scatter Ben's ashes at the place he so loved. The pictures show: the presentation of the 'The Ben Stockley Spirit of Bellyboarding' Nick Holden championship director (in red) announces that Chris Ryan (centre) has won the award and I'm presenting him with the award on the left. A close up of the award during construction – missing base and plaque. Contestants taking part in the event. Ben's Paddle Out at Chapel Porth. Ben and I with our bellyboards, back in 2004.
For further information please see www.bellyboarding.co.uk
My brother in-law's sister is also raising money for you Alpha-1 through taking part in the Wolf Run – she has set up a page for donations:
Please support her.
A big thank you to all who took part and raised funds for Alpha-1 it is very much appreciated.