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No teeth chattering at the World Bellyboard Championships

Ever heard of the World Belly Board Championships?

Held at Chapel Porth near St Agnes it is "truly a celebration of British eccentricity combined with a genuine love of splashing about in the sea on little bits of mostly vintage wood!". We attended 5 years ago, loved it and then 'mislaid' our boards. I accused my brother of nicking them and selling them on but then miraculously found them about 6 weeks ago in the rafters in the barn where I had sensibly stored them (sorry Bruv!).

According to Peter Robinson, surf historian and founder of Europe’s first dedicated surf museum, the Museum of British Surfing in Braunton there is evidence of surfing in the UK in the very early 1900s, but it became a popular beach activity in Cornwall and Devon at the end of World War I. A mixture of wealthy Brits travelling to Hawaii & learning to surf, and soldiers chatting to Commonwealth surfers in the trenches combined to create something quintessentially British.

A cup of tea, a cucumber sandwich and a spot of jolly good surf riding in the rolling Atlantic breakers became a must do activity for hundreds of men and women. Their equipment ranged from modified coffin lids to 'Crest Riders' made from ply with a kick in the nose.
Bellyboarding bloomed again after the Second World War as Brits returned to the beaches in their droves, and many thousands of bellyboards were made in the 1950s and 60s to service the growing demand.

It remains the same simple pleasure of being 'hooshed' in on the crest of wave on a simple plank of wood.

So with that in mind we journeyed to Cornwall yesterday to take part in the 13th Championships with great excitement, a barbecue and a clutch of Bellyboards two of which I rather cleverly purchased at a Car Boot Sale and two belonged to Ben's Mum when she was a teenager so are now 67 years old!!

Despite the lack of surf the sea was very warm for the time of year (rules stipulate no wetsuits allowed) but the adventure did stimulate a conversation about why your teeth chatter. So here is the the explanation...when it's cold outside and your body temperature starts to drop, the hypothalamus sends a message to your body that it needs to warm up. One way it does that is through your muscles, which generate heat by shivering. Teeth chattering is just a form of shivering apparently.

Fortunately for us the sunshine and provision of a hot tub to jump into once you had competed meant that there was very little teeth chattering going on.No medals this year but a thoroughly good time was had by all.

Rebekah Pearson
Rebekah Pearson
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