Last week, Surfing England announced the young surfing athletes chosen to represent Team England Juniors at the upcoming 2022 ISA World Junior Surfing Championships in El Salvador.
The event will take place from May 27th until June 5th, 2022, and will see the world’s best junior surfers competing in two age divisions: Under 18 and Under 16, to receive champion titles.
The surfing teams will also be collecting points for their country’s total, which will form a leader board to rank each country according to the most points scored overall.
Among the list of incredibly talented young athletes are two siblings from North Devon, 15-year-old Belle Betteridge, and her brother, 17-year-old Beau Betteridge, both from Croyde. Belle will be competing alongside surfing Olympian Sky Brown, as well as Georgie-May Hicks in the Under 16 Girls category. Beau is set to compete with Sam Hearn and Kieron Smith in the Under 18 Boys category.
“Being the only surfers from North Devon to be selected for the team is huge,” says Beau. “It means everything to us. We’ve both been training for this for years, so to have the opportunity to represent England with my brother is a big honour,” adds Belle.
The young athletes were first introduced to surfing by their father, Chris Betteridge, who encouraged them both to learn to surf from a young age.
Their favourite surf break is in Ponta Preta, a right-hand point break in Cape Verde, where the pair have both often visited on family holidays.
“We’ve been surfing for as long as I can remember,” says Beau. “My dad and his friends are passionate about surfing, so he got me into it and I started competing when I was ten.”
“Beau and my dad were always surfing together, and I started competing nationally in gymnastics,” adds Belle.
“But after a major back and neck injury when I as ten, I stopped competing and started taking surfing more seriously, and began competing.”
With only a few weeks before the Junior England Surfing team fly to El Salvador, the North Devon siblings plan to train to ensure that they are on top form for the competition.
“We surf every day, and plan to do as much coaching, heat drills and gym training as we can,” says Beau. “We also want to make time to enjoy being at home because that’s when we surf the best.”
“I also box three times a week, which helps both physically and mentally to get my mind straight for competitions,” adds Belle.
After flying the flag for both England and North Devon at the competition in El Salvador, the pair hope to continue the momentum of their success as young surfing athletes.
“Ultimately, we want to travel the world as competitive surfers,” says Belle.
“We’re going to start doing the Pro Juniors and QS next year and hope to get some good results,” adds Beau.
With talented young surfers like Belle and Beau on the Junior England surfing squad, it’s clear that the future is bright for British surfing.
Through hard work and determination, it’s hoped that the North Devon siblings could represent the UK on the Championship Tour someday.
When asked for advice for anyone who might be keen to get into surfing and follow in the Betteridge’s footsteps, the pair had this to say: “Get in the water as much as possible,” said Belle.
"Having someone to surf with is great. I’m lucky to have Beau and my dad to help encourage me to keep practising. For competitions, getting heat practise is the main thing - with a coach, a friend or on your own.”
“Just keep practising as much as you can, and try not to worry about the results of competitions,” added Beau. “No matter how good you are, you can always have a shocker of a heat, so don’t be discouraged.”
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