We are absolutely thrilled to finally be able to share with you this exciting piece of news regarding Tribal Clash UK: In 2017, Tribal Clash UK will be moving from Blackpool Sands to Bantham Beach. We have been talking to Bantham Estate since the early 2015 regarding working together to evolve Tribal Clash into one of the premier events in the UK, and we are excited that the Estate has now agreed to host Tribal Clash next September.
Finding and securing a venue for Tribal Clash is always a lengthy process and involves months and months of discussions, site visits and consultations, and UK is no different from our international events. Our Portugal event was a result of two years of research, meetings, emails and permit applications, so although we first approached Bantham in 2015, an agreement was not reached until now.
Bantham Beach was named by Lonely Planet last year as one of the top 10 beaches in Europe and the only UK beach to make the list. It is, without question, one of the finest beaches in the UK. Set at the mouth of river Avon, this undeveloped white sandy beach is backed by sand dunes and enjoys stunning views of the Burgh Island on the other side of the Avon estuary. Bantham is also one of England’s premier surf beaches with a wave that rivals many famous overseas spots when it’s on.
For Tribal Clash, this new venue offers numerous benefits, as well as challenges – below we will discuss some of them!
What made you want to move Tribal Clash from its birthplace Blackpool Sands?
We had outgrown Blackpool Sands, and whereas the beach itself is absolutely perfect for a competition, with its flat grass area, the east-facing location which makes it sheltered from the prevailing winds, to name a few, it was not without problems. We struggled to find a solution to the catering issue because of strict licensing terms with the cafe on the beach (we were forbidden to sell food and drink), and the campsite was not big enough as the event grew. We looked everywhere along the south and west coast of England for a beach where we could have most of the participants parking and camping at the venue, and we kept coming back to Bantham. The estate changed owners a few years ago and under new management the time was right to begin discussions to stage Bantham’s first large scale event.
What is going to be improved in the new venue?
For the competition, this offers exciting opportunities because of the vast beach that will be available for us. Our options for events featuring run or swim will be much improved, as the Coastal Path offers many challenging climbs and water crossings around the area. All athletes will be pleased to see the soft fine sand in Bantham, which is much more forgiving, and much less soul destroying than the Blackpool Sands shingle. We may even see some actual sprinting in a possible team log carry event!
Bantham car park is huge, and on a busy day it can fit 1000 cars. We will now be able to have 500+ cars parking at the venue, instead of off site with people having to take a shuttle bus to the beach. We know this is what our participants wanted, so we are extremely happy that we can now offer this. Moreover, we have secured the use of an adjoining field behind the car park, which will be the Tribal Clash campsite, providing sufficient space for at least 500 campers next to the car park and the beach. We will also be able to have event registration on the beach, so everything will be in one place, removing the need for complicated drop-off and parking arrangements.
We are also very pleased to say that there will be an improved food and drink offer at Tribal Clash next year. Gastrobus, the food truck operating on the beach, will be joined with our own Tribal Kitchen, offering fast and delicious athlete friendly food and drink. The Sloop Inn in Bantham village, a short walk from the beach, is an atmospheric pub with a delicious menu including local seafood and meat.
And last, next year you will be able to bring your dog to Tribal Clash. Dogs are not allowed on the main beach, but they are most welcome in the campsite, in the event village and on the ‘dog beach’ at Ham Point by the river where they can enjoy a dip in the sea!
What are the challenges in Bantham for the competition?
Bantham is very tidal which creates a new challenge for programming and arena design. We picked a weekend of neap tides where we have the least water flowing within a 30 day window, but regardless of tide height, the size and shape of the beach will change considerably in a 12 hour period. During the Tribal Clash weekend, high tide will be in the afternoon, which is when we will have to schedule any events featuring water. We have to work with a changing beach and ensure that each individual event will have consistent conditions throughout even during the changing tide. During low tide in the morning we will have a vast expanse of the beach to play with. We are working on an ‘adjustable’ arena design where the lanes will extend with the tides – this will be extremely challenging but if anyone can nail it it’s us!
As always in a UK based outdoor event, we are always operating with a risk of extreme weather. Bantham is a South West facing beach, meaning that it is exposed to the prevailing southwesterly wind. Even in a neap tide weekend, if we happen to get strong winds, the wind is likely to push any swell further over the high tide mark. We will not be able to decide the length of the arena and the lanes until we have clear visibility of the weekend’s weather forecast.
Bantham is a reliable surf break, resulting from the sand bars constructed by the river Avon. It gets quite sizeable swell especially after Atlantic storms, and attracts big crowds when the surf is pumping. As in any surf breaks, there are also strong rip currents that come with the swell. Safety is paramount at Tribal Clash.
Wow that sounds tricky. Is it going to be safe to get in the water at all?
Bantham is our local beach. We are both kitesurfers and we have been kiting in Bantham for years, we know this beach like the back of our hands. In addition, we use the knowledge of the local lifeguards (two of whom are members at our home box and Tribal Clash veterans) to steer us in our programming. We are confident that the new home of Tribal Clash UK will deliver a competition which is even better and more memorable for all the athletes, spectators, staff and partners.
But we have already made travel plans!
Bantham is only 15 miles from Blackpool Sands, and 5 miles from Kingsbridge. If you have a dilemma, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to help.
Awesome. I’d like to get a team in, how can we sign up?
Tribal Clash UK is totally sold out, we have a reserve list of 90 teams wanting to get in. We are working on a way of allocating team places in the future that is fair, because of the growing demand from not just CrossFit gyms, but obstacle racers and adventure racers. Tribal Clash offers the perfect mix of functional fitness, obstacle racing, adventure, delivered in a festival atmosphere in a stunning location. If you missed a team place this year, come as a spectator, get behind a tribe and enjoy the party!