THOUSANDS of music lovers, athletes, sun-worshippers and beach lovers descended on Croyde for the GoldCoast Oceanfest at the weekend. The 12th annual event was blessed with perfect summer weather that offered visitors the ideal conditions to enjoy the arr

THOUSANDS of music lovers, athletes, sun-worshippers and beach lovers descended on Croyde for the GoldCoast Oceanfest at the weekend.

The 12th annual event was blessed with perfect summer weather that offered visitors the ideal conditions to enjoy the array of world class sport alongside international and local music on show.

"We were blessed with fantastic weather, great crowds and very good ambience," said Mr Latham. "Once again we are delighted with the positive fashion in which the weekend was embraced by locals and visitors alike."

On Friday, the North Devon Gazette-sponsored Education Day - now in its sixth year - was attended by more than 1,500 young people representing 55 local schools.

The event, organised by PEDPASS with support from around 150 young leaders, gave pupils the chance to take part in beach games, orienteering events and attend workshops and presentations in the main Oceanside Croyde Arena.

While the masses of schoolchildren clearly enjoyed the day, the event received a further thumbs in the form of a School Sport Partnership "Leading the Legacy" accolade, awarded by the Youth Sport Trust, the body that supports school sport partnerships on behalf of Department for Education and Department for Culture Media and Sport.

On the beach on Saturday, more than 200 volleyball players took part in the Parkdean Holidays Beach Volleyball competition.

Players competed on 24 courts, packing the beach from the river to the rocks.

"If the event keeps growing this way, they will be stretching to Down End in another five years," said Denise Austin, who retained the Queen of the Beach title by beating Gaby Medricka in an epic top-two shoot-out, the fourth time they have met in the final.

"It was the best final ever for the spectators - tense, amazing rallies, controversy, drama," added Denise.

Other beach events on Saturday included the Legacy Elite Ironman and Diamond Lady Knockout events and the Island Tribe North Devon Aquathlon.

On Sunday, Woolacombe's Nick Thorn won his fifth Cushe Big Boy Paddle Race, heading a field of 17 competitors as he made the paddle from Saunton to Croyde in 20 minutes 48 seconds.

In the Thatcher's Gold Men's Beach Soccer, Average Joe's took the men's title, while Superstar Allstars won the women's competition.

Throughout the weekend, music lovers were able to catch a host of top local and international acts including The Magic Numbers, the headline act on Saturday night.

Other popular Oceanfest attractions included skateboard action on the vert ramp and spectacular trials riding displays by Animal Bike Tour legends Martyn Ashton and Sam Pilgrim.

"We are hugely appreciative of all the support we enjoyed from the residents of Croyde," added Mr Latham.

"We'd also like to thank the professional and service agencies; our sponsors; the athletes who participated; the musicians who performed; and our brilliant team of staff and volunteers."

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GoldCoast Oceanfest Beach Sports Results

Goldcoast Inter-club Nipper Challenge

1st Woolacombe

2nd Hayle

3rd Portreath

Thatchers Gold Men's Beach Soccer

Winners: Average Joe's

Runners-up: Safardos

Thatchers Gold Women's Beach Soccer

Winners: Superstar Allstars

Runners-up: Llawrohwyl

Parkdean Holidays Beach Volleyball

Queen of the beach: Denise Austin

Runner-up: Gaby Medricka

King of the beach: Daniel Maranhao

Runner-up: Jan Kucherko

Surf South West Surfing Toedipper

Surf Star of the Future: Ruben Gray

Legacy Elite Ironman/Diamond Lady

Under-18 Men:

1st Freddie Hedger

2nd Joe Wall

3rd James Bunney

Open Men

1st Dan Humble

2nd Robbie Sandbach

3rd George Haynes

Under-16 Girls:

Joint 1st Josie Williams/Mesha Wardman

2nd Kirsten Watts

3rd Grace Clarke

Open Women

1st Ellie Parker

2nd Holly Hawkey

3rd Jenna Hawkey

Island Tribe North Devon Aquathlon

Men - Youth

1st Christian Brown

Men

1st David Bartlett

2nd Iain Hinds

3rd Mark Lewarne

Men Vets 40+

1st Phil Parsons

Men Super Vets 50+

1st Dick Congdon

Men Vintage Vets 60+

1st Andy Ward

Women

1st Dani Perks

2nd Ellen Riswhite

3rd Fern Kates

Women Vets 40+

1st Paula Robinson

Women Super Vets 50+

1st Susan White

Goldcoast Relay Event

Peter Dyer and Chris Stone

Cushe Big Boy Paddle Race

1st Nick Thorn (20min 48secs)

2nd Gary Sinkivicious (21.43)

3rd Greg Norman (22.46)

4th Andrew Byatt (23.05)

5th Zak Lawton (23.20)

North Devon Gazette Education Day Beach Flags

Boys

1st Ryan Owen (Orchard Vale School, Barnstaple)

2nd Byron Day-Rogers (St Margaret's School, Northam)

3rd Olly Stephens (Southmead School, Braunton)

Girls

1st Millie Rhode (St Margaret's School, Northam)

2nd Erin Rostock (Sticklepath School, Barnstaple)

3rd Ellie Kirby (Woolacombe School)

North Devon AONB Orienteering Challenge

Filleigh Primary School (Will Ayre, Thomas Corras, Francis Huntingford, Tom Worsley and Steve Latham)