BWA: More from the Riders, Organisers Round Up and Why YOU Pop Your Contest Cherry

Amy Carter Amy Carter

Boards catches up with some more competitors, plus the organisers, from the BWA events in Wales and Ireland to find out more about why they came to the events, how the competition went and how they coped with the long journey from Wales to Ireland and back again.

The loop off!
Forward loops were the jump of the day!

Geoff Hautman:

“The whole week was really good fun, and well organised. Deciding to compete has really upped my sailing. It’s injected a new sense of drive and motivation into my sailing, pushing me to learn new stunts and improve what I’ve already got. Everyone I met was really positive, being new to this I was asking a lot questions and got nothing but support and encouragement, especially from the Pro’s and Judges. I am now really looking forward the Tiree and Cornwall comps, and hope to get in some training over the summer, so I can trounce Whitey next time. I also hope to get some friends to compete, even though some of them could beat me with their harness on backward and their fins the wrong way round.

Travelling by Stena was smooth sailing, all the way from booking to disembarking. I was also very grateful for the discount! I took advantage of the Premium offer so I could get on the road asap, heading across Ireland. The free snacks in the Stena Plus lounge were also very welcome! Because of Stena’s support of the BWA I will be supporting them whenever possible, and urging others to do the same.”

Ross Williams:

“It was great fun and good to be back supporting the UK events, I am keen to help more and get more sailors to come along and join in the fun!

The Stena Line ferry was very nice, good cabins to get a few hours sleep in. Very smooth and pleasant crossing.”

Ross Williams
Ross Williams

Aleksy Gayda:

“I thought the event was great, even though the conditions weren’t epic it was still good fun and I always love going back to Ireland and seeing everyone there. I didn’t do too well in the competition, think I ended up coming 7th, but I will definitely be going Cornwall a d fingers crossed I will make it to Tiree too. I am back in Essex working again now and I hope to do some trips over the summer.

Lucy Robson:

“I thought the event was excellent.  It was extremely well organised and was evident that a lot of hard work had been put in by many people that were committed to seeing a professional and exciting competition.  I was really impressed by all the support and encouragement I saw!  I’m also really enthused about the experience because I got 1st place in the Ladies!

For my own part, I’m back in Fuerteventura now and about to start summer training!  I’m working on my fitness and in particular my jumping for the upcoming events.  I’m hoping to compete in the PWA event in Tenerife and am focussing on cross-on shore port tack wave riding and jumping.  I’ll look forward to seeing the BWA at Tiree and Cornwall.

I travelled with fellow BWA competitor Emma Ray on the Stena Line ferry and I can say that I genuinely enjoyed the experience!  The facilities on-board were great and I was able to relax and chill out with a newspaper and coffee before embarking on the second leg of the journey driving across Ireland from Dublin to Brandon Bay.  It’s just the break you need!  I would definitely advise others to travel by ferry.”

Lucy Robson takes the yellow jersey.
Lucy Robson takes the yellow jersey.

Jim Brooks-Dowsett:

“Despite only an average forecast we couldn’t have asked for more as event organisers!  The local hospitality from Spillanes family with Rob Jones and the support of Jamie Knox Watersports just made everybody feel so welcome and looked after for the week.  Brandon Bay is a stunning place, and we were greeted with some super fun conditions with sunshine and crystal clear water to run 2 full rounds of competition – in a word, STOKED!!

All fleets had an amazing atmosphere and standard of sailing, newcomers and youth had massive encouragement and help from the other riders, people loaning kit freely when needed…..and the pros just demolished the small fun waves in a way we can all admire!  This was an awesome trip form me and I take huge satisfaction in seeing so many people get together and enjoy our sport at that level……and the night life doesn’t get much better than Spillanes and The Green Room after a long day at the beach!

Ireland is a magical place that has given us such great characters like Mikey Clancy who I felt got fantastic tribute at this event – the legend lives on to inspire others!  You can see why the local community are so closely knit and proud of their home turf!  Can’t wait to get back next year.

Stena Line have been very supportive of the BWA and quite frankly we couldn’t do as good a job without them!  The fact that you can change your sailing time if it suits the comp of the ever changing forecast is of such great help to un on the wave tour.  Comfort and service is bang on, and the ferry travel is art of the adventure!  Their support helps to encourage the riders to join us, and the ferry routes make a back-to-back tournament possible!

In a time of flying everywhere perhaps we forget how easy and relaxing ferry travel is!  It’s all we used to do when I was a kid travelling with my family, and for me to get all my kit on the van and cruise across to Ireland and back in comfort beats the limitations, stress and expense of flying any day!

Ireland is as good a place as anywhere to take a trip and hit the surf, especially if you have your family with you!”

 

Judge and competitor, Ian Ross.
Judge and competitor, Ian Ross.

Ian Ross:

“What a week! Epic drive to Funsport which unfortunately had no wind but a great atmosphere. The party was gangbusters! Everyone made the most of what we had so there was plenty to do and talk about. Bucky was a great host and the new cafe was brilliant!

On to Ireland and I’d forgotten how great that place is. I could easily lose myself there, especially with the Guiness that was being drunk. Rob Jones gave an inspirational speech in memory of Mikey Clancy, which set the tone for a fun and friendly competition and I can’t remember a better atmosphere anywhere else I’ve been! Everyone was smiling, helping each other, lending kit and generally loving their windsurfing friends. I think Mikey would’ve been stoked and for me this was the most important thing about the whole event.

The standard of sailing was great, but what’s most interesting is seeing the improvement in people over the last year. Those at the bottom are rising up and really learning. I think this is something that people don’t realise about the competition scene; sure we all want to win, but unless you sail with other people then you can’t get better and with the pros there to talk about what to improve and how to do new moves it’s a great opportunity. There is so much more to it than winning.

Anyway, I could talk for hours about all the shenanigans that went on, but to be honest, if you weren’t there you missed out and they are ours!

Thanks to everyone involved and thanks to Stena Line for setting us up with perfect service and a great ferry crossing.”

Mark Hosegood:

“It’s great to be back at the UK comps again and even better heading back to Ireland after a 10 year absence! Rhossy is like a second home, it’s always an entertaining place to hangout with Bucky and his gang. The new cafe is awesome!

Sometimes I think that the best things happen at events when there’s no wind! We got to go swimming with Fungi the dolphin, SUPing on the Conor Pass, board tossing and generally do things we wouldn’t normally do.

My highlights of the contest were Geoff and Whitey having a loop off in the masters…big fella’s going for it!

Great to see Niall coming back through the double with the same stylish sailing and attitude  that I remember from when I was competing with him in the ams. Mike Wand-Tetley back on the scene…he probably had the biggest adventure of anyone with his haphazard trip across Ireland and watching him and the other guys battling in the ams was great; the Pro guys had best keep an eye on them coming through next year! It was really good to see Sam Latham sailing so well, he’s better known as a slalom sailor, but looks to be following in a certain pro’s footsteps and is pretty handy in the waves too!

IMP_0013
The Muzza cheeseroll crash!

I think the girls fleet is going from strength to strength and what I like is that I can really see the improvement in sailing even from last year. There is still fierce competition; however, like with all the fleets in the BWA, they’re all open, encouraging and help each other out. For me, Emma’s sailing in the single was an absolute standout as she was just carrying so much speed through everything she did, from long and high floaty jumps to her wave riding…it really did blow all the judges away! Katie had an absolute blinder through the double and I was amazed she managed to keep on sailing so well as she must have been exhausted! Lucy also showed her move out to Fuerte is paying off as she was looking really strong and comfortable in the tricky conditions we had.

I’d like to take my hat off to the Pro fleet in general as they really had so much quality on and off the water. There was super stylish waveriding from some of the younger guys like Leky Gayda and Sam Neal up to the PWA riders and where did the freestyle maestro Bubble get such a smooth wave riding stye from?! Best and biggest wipeout went to Muzza with what was either a double cheeseroll attempt of a super stalled cheeseroll into one handed tabletop! It is great to see Ross Williams back in to the fray also, his very stylish surf orientated waveriding and consistency showed why he was the top place Brit on the PWA last year and his general laid back, approachable and humble demeanor on land means he’s a great roll model for all aspiring windsurfers.”

Next week Boards takes a closer look at the equipment that took the top pros onto the podium. 

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