A Blast From The Past

The National Watersports Festival (NWF) is back again on 5th – 7th September 2014 at Hayling Island. The biggest multi-disciplinary watersports festival in the UK, NWF is known as a place where ordinary folk have the opportunity to rub shoulders with Olympians and multiple World Champions at the place where the worldwide phenomenon of windsurfing was invented.

Every NWF has something new and exciting planned – and 2014 is no exception. The ‘Blast from the Past’, sponsored by GA Sails and Tabou Boards, is an opportunity for NWF competitors to take part in fun race on Friday to win the chance to compete on Saturday against the speed and slalom professionals of today and yesteryear! NWF competitors are, for the most part, ordinary ‘weekend warrior’ recreational sailors. Now they will have the chance to pit their skills against racing legends. Among those confirmed so far are hotshots from the ‘80s and 90’s such as Peter Hart, Julian Anderson, Simon Dawkins, Julian Da Vall, Matt Wemms, Steve Thorpe and Jamie Hawkins. The current champs include Ross Williams, 2 x Formula World Champion, James Dinsmore, UK Slalom Champion and Kevin Greenslade, UK Speed Champion.

Ross Williams - 2004.
Ross Williams racing in 2004.

Just being on the start line alongside this amazing line-up will confer immediate bragging rights, but imagine crossing the finish line ahead of current British and World Champions or the likes of Peter Hart, the first Brit to join the 40 knot club or Jamie Hawkins, not only the holder of 3x production World Titles but claimant of an unforgettable heat win against the legendary Robby Naish. Imagine saying you gave the guy who beat Naish a run for his money!

It promises to be an amazing spectacle for crowd and competitors alike to have so much talent in one place, battling for supremacy. Will the old school still have what it takes? A spectator at a recent NWF said of Julian Anderson “He turned up at the NWF one year recently when it was breezy and blew everyone away. He’s still got it; phenomenally fast sailor… could have taken on Dunkerbeck & Bringdal in his day.” In a recent NWF interview Jamie Hawkins aka J-Dogg admitted “Even if it’s a fun race, I still want to try and win. However, you can’t just jump on and win…and I doubt I will have the kit and time to train. Given that time and kit, I could still kick some butt…!” Will Jamie find time to train? Make sure you come along and see for yourself whether J-Dogg has his day and whether experience will triumph over age or whether Amateurs can beat the Pros!

Everyone who enters the NWF as a competitor is eligible to take part in all the fun races, with winners going through to the Blast. Online entry is now open, with a free T shirt for all entries received before 1st August 2014 and an opportunity to purchase an NWF Hoody for the bargain price of £22 (RRP £30) for collection at the Festival. Don’t miss out on this amazing event. See www.nationalwatersportsfestival.com or the National Watersports Festival Facebook page for more information or to keep up with the latest NWF community news, blogs and articles.

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