In our second installment in the Hidden Talents series this week, Boards now catches up with top racer turned awesome freestyler, Ric Cleworth.
Name: Ric Cleworth
From: Sutton, Cheshire
Years Windsurfing: 12, maybe more!
Favourite Discipline: Freestyle
Local Spot: Where ever I’m working!
Occupation: Joiner/ Carpenter/ Windsurf Coach
Sponsors: Fanatic UK, Boardwise, Ion, Globalshots
How did you get into windsurfing?
When I was maybe 9 or 10, my parents put me on a multi-activity course in the summer holidays; to keep me out trouble at a guess!
It was at Astbury Sail Sports, I did all the usual water sports but I knew straight away windsurfing was for me! I owe a big thank you to Ali Yates the owner of this centre for making me watch lots of Jason Polakow videos to show me what and epic sport it was I was getting into; as well as being an inspiration herself of course.
What do your friends think of windsurfing?
Well most of them when they first hear about it think I probably nip backwards and forwards on a big white thing, hanging onto a triangle like thing. However, I think now thanks to the power of the internet and online media they are all pretty clued up on what windsurfing is and think it’s a really amazing sport! I would say most people are shocked and ask how can they get involved.
What is your experience of competitions so far? And your future aims for competition?
I came through the RYA racing scheme, so these were the first competitions I did. Starting out with Team 15 where I competed around the north west, I then went onto competing representing the north west in the zone squad and having won the Eric Twiname title with a lot of help from my parents and coaches at the time Ian Roberts and Ali Yates I was selected to represent Great Britain. I was in Team GBR for three years, training daily in the gym, on the water at the weekends and competing all over the world with great friends and coaches; it was a truly fantastic way to spend my teenage years.
Now competing in freestyle, I have competed in Greece, Egypt and the UK. My aim in 2012 was to finish in the top 4 of the Pro Fleet; I managed to finish 3rd overall, which was really great! My aim for 2013 is to attend all the freestyle events again and I would like a team Fanatic podium, Max, Oscar and I.
Have you always been into freestyle, if not when did you move across into this niche?
As a racer, I never got much time to short board as we spent as much time as possible on the race gear. There were times when it got simply too windy for the race gear and I got to a point where I could vulcan my Evo 74 for about three years but I didn’t get to focus on freestyle properly until I left Team GBR when I was 18 and went to Egypt with a good friend Scotty. Here, I met the guys from Club Vass who offered me a job and having worked with them for three years back to back I would say I’m well into freestyle!
What is your most memorable moment in windsurfing?
Arghh there’s too many! A couple of years ago in Vass it was about 2.00am and Wildwind, the sailing centre next door, were having their party night. We noticed it was getting windy, which is unusual for Vass once the sun has gone down; of course with some liquid persuasion and 4.2 weather it didn’t take much for us to get rigged up and out there, the moon provided just about enough light and we had a truck on the beach with its head lights on and the speakers pumping! With a good sized crowd on the beach cheering us on we did all the moves our slightly boozy minds would let us! It was a great atmosphere and all though a couple of us landed the moves on the beach and if I remember rightly Tommy ‘two pumps’ did sail into someone, we all had a very memorable windsurf!
What’s next in store for you on and off the water?
Obviously, like all of us I hope to sail whenever it’s windy here in the UK and I would like to maybe get to Jeri again at the end of this year, if not Cape Town in the new year!
As for off the water, I just this week qualified as a Joiner/Carpenter and I plan to work hard and save hard so I can get those trips to nice countries!