The Bank Holiday weekend saw windsurfers from as far as Aberdeen and Yorkshire descend on Northumberland for a new amateur wavesailing event organised by Northumbrian Windsurf Club committee member and owner of Newcastle’s favourite Paddleboard and Windsurfing School Boardskillz, Joe Thwaites.
The event was originally planned to take place in April but with marginal wind forecasts and very little swell the organisers decided to postpone it until windsurfing nirvana presented itself.
Joe said “The whole concept of the Slam was to establish a credible local wavesailing competition run around a near perfect forecast which last weekend certainly delivered.”
Saturday brought 4-6ft waves and a steady F5-6 cross offshore wind at Mouth of Budle Bay which was ideal for jumping on the way out and near perfect down the line riding on the way in. The judges decided that an expression session was the best format for the day which worked really well from a spectator perspective, as all competitors’ risked injury and kit damage to impress the judges with huge back loop attempts and last minute top turns on some fairly unforgiving waves.
Day 1 ended with John Critchley from Harrogate and Toby Edmunds from Aberdeen taking the silverware closely followed by Steve Carragher and Richie Cessford, both Northumbrian Windsurfing Club members.
The wind stayed for Sunday so the faithful ignored their aching limbs and regrouped at Mouth of Budle for round 2 of the Slam. Steve Carragher was taking no prisoners and was first up wind and making the most of the dropping swell closely followed by Richie. The waves were getting a bit messy and the wind went nuclear just after lunchtime so it was decided we should seek shelter in Budle Bay for some flat water drag racing and some freestyle. Ultimate speed prize for the day went to Steve Boyd but the judges felt local vet Steve Carragher’s wave exploits and general style made him the overall winner with Navy boy Richie Cessford from Newcastle getting overall runner up, courtesy of some impressive freestyle and some large aerial moves on Day 1.
The organisers would like to thank Pryde Group and Zero Gravity Distribution for their generous donations to the prize fund, local photographer Gavin Duthie for taking some first rate photos on the Saturday and all those who came along to support the event.
Joe went on to say, ‘Looking forward to next year we hope that more people will travel to what is probably some of the prettiest coastline in the UK to compete in a competition that aims to stand for guaranteed wind and waves, great prizes (not just for winners), good banter and a party to rival any.
For more information on next year’s Northumberland Wave Slam or to find out more about learning to windsurf please visit www.boardskillz.co.uk, the boardskillz facebook page or call Joe on 07779 127230.