Frustrating conditions prevail at Tiree Wave Classic
Dozens of the top wave sailors gathered on Tiree for the world-renowned Skykon Tiree Wave Classic faced frustration on the first two days of the competition when the recent winds that have thrashed the island failed to return. On Sunday, competitors played beach volleyball and football on the beach in the absence of the necessary wind and waves.
After a long wait for the breeze to fill in at Balephuil Bay on the south west tip of the island on Saturday, the females finally took to the water for their first round in the late afternoon. In just 10-15 knots of breeze from the east, the female entrants started at 5.45pm in what the judging panel described as ‘tough conditions’ due to the light winds.
The British Wavesailing Association’s Head Judge, Duncan Coombs, said: “The standard of the women is stronger than we’ve seen in previous years and the Cornish girls did really well today on the back of their wave riding experience.”
Debbie Kennedy from Hayle in Cornwall won the first heat, with fellow Cornish entrant Jodie Ward finishing in second place. Helen Bainbridge finished in third.
“It was a challenging round in a light, onshore breeze. But it was great to win the heat as it’s my first time at the Tiree Wave Classic and I only started wave windsurfing in May,” Kennedy said.
Although a relative newcomer to wavesailing, Kennedy is no stranger to wave sports. She is a keen surfer and has also been kitesurfing for six years and recently returned from the British Kitesurfing Associations’ Wavemasters Championships 2010 in Brandon Bay, Ireland where she finished in second place. Despite being her first time at the Tiree Wave Classic, Kennedy has got off to a great start and is looking forward to the rest of the event.
“I’m glad we got a round in today despite the light conditions and all the girls are looking forward to getting a few more rounds in over the week,” she said.
Coombs said that the judges are closely monitoring the weather conditions and all the entrants are on standby to compete. At a briefing on Saturday evening competitors were warned to prepare for dawn starts or late starts, to take advantage of conditions as they arise.
“The weather here on Tiree can be very unpredictable but the many beaches around the island allow the competition to take place regardless of which direction the wind is coming from,” Coombs said, stressing that the competition can go ahead without too much wind as long as there is sufficient swell.
The 24th Tiree Wave Classic is supported by Argyll and Bute Council, EventScotland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise and attracts hundreds of international competitors, visitors and media to the island. Skykon, the supplier of towers, composites and offshore solutions for the wind turbine industry, is supporting the carbon neutral event for the second consecutive year. Due to the challenging location of the Tiree Wave Classic, the event organisers Dialogue Sports Marketing and the British Wavesailing Association rely on the support of these committed sponsors for the continued success of the event.
The Tiree Wave Classic runs until Friday 15 October.
Tiree Wave Classic – Day 1 results:
Women: round one
1. Debbie Kennedy
2. Jodie Ward
3. Helen Bainbridge
No other rounds took place.
Photo: John Carter