A paratrooper from St Albans has mastered the waves by winning a military bodyboarding competition.

Private Gareth Evans, of 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, beat boarders in the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force to win the Tri-Service Bodyboarding Championship 2014.

Pte Evans got into bodyboarding when he spent time in Durban, South Africa as a child, but had not been out on the waves for a number of years.

The 28-year-old said: "I first got on a board when I was about six and really enjoyed it, but when I joined the Army I fell out of doing it. I found out about the Army surfing team and went for a try out last December. I think I surprised them and myself, with how good I was."

Just a few months later Pte Evans, who went to Nicholas Breakspear Catholic School, found himself competing in the tri-service surfing championships held in Newquay at the end of April.

Pte Evans has served as a rifleman with Colchester-based 2 PARA for five years, including a six month tour of Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011.

He continued: "Competitive bodyboarding is scored on the tricks you do coming off a wave, with points available for execution, the technical difficulty and aggression of what you do. It was a really tough competition because the sea conditions were very changeable, and I was lucky with the waves.

"I’m very proud to have won, but also surprised. While Colchester is close to the sea there aren’t the right waves, so I can’t get on the water much and a lot of the other competitors train a lot more than I do."