CORNWALL surfing superstar Ben Skinner, has made a great start to his bid for world glory this year by winning the Dakhla 2011 Festival Longboard Championship in Morocco.
The festival, set in the Western Sahara, attracted some of the top watermen from around the globe and Perranporth-based Skinner, 26, took a couple of huge scalps.
On his Skindog board – designed and made through his own Cornish company – he knocked out 2009 world champion Harley Ingleby in the first heat.
Then he delivered the same fate to multiple ASP World Champion Colin McPhillips in the semi-finals. He triumphed in the final, pushing Alexi Daniel, Damien Castera and Tommy Loye into second, third and fourth places respectively.
Skinner, whose sponsors include Truro-based Skinners Brewery, said: “It was a fantastic event, with a huge mix of people from all over the world and a great start to the new season for me.
“Skindog performed brilliantly and everything went to plan. It was a terrific result against a world-class field that was arguably a better line-up than the 2010 World Longboard Championships.”
His triumph prompted renewed speculation that this could finally be Ben’s big year.
Four times European champion, he has won both bronze and silver in the ISA World Surfing Games. In last year’s event in Lima, Peru, he finished second in the third round to Australia’s Harley Ingleby – but this time Ben proved too strong for him in the Dakhla festival.
Skinner thanked all his sponsors – O’Neill, Relentless, Skinners Brewery, 100% Organics and Matunas Wax – “without whose support I simply wouldn’t have been able to take part, let alone win.”
[wordbay]surf board [/wordbay]