The Exeter Ladies

Amy Carter Amy Carter

Freshers is around the corner, Aussie Kiss is a mere month away, it’s an exciting time to be a student windsurfer that’s for sure. Last year a certain group of ladies made a bring impression on the SWA tour, dominating the rankings across racing and freestyle; will the Exeter ladies be unstoppable this year too? 

Boards caught up with the active club to find out a little more about it’s members and what makes the club so special…

Exeter WIndsurf Club
Exeter WIndsurf Club, just checking the conditions....

Exeter University windsurf club has about 100 members and is run by a dedicated committee of nine. Overall the club is split fairly equally between guys and girls, however in the last few years there has been domination by girls both socially and on the water.

Any student can sign up at the Freshers Squash. Last year we had 100 people sign up and roughly 50 active members (keen beans who come to everything).  There is a committee of nine massively enthusiastic people who a responsible for running the club. We have weekly socials varying from chilled pub sessions to mental Dawlish Dozen Trips (everyone piles on a train to Dawlish and do the 12ish pubs all dressed up as pirates then get back on the last train and go out in Exeter when we get back!)

If it’s windy…we all pile in cars at crazy early o’clock and head wherever’s looking best. Exeter has a great location as it’s close to loads of good windsurfing spots. Whether you want waves or Dahab style flat water there’s plenty of places to go for all abilities.

Exeter has had another year successfully dominating the Student Windsurf Association series especially in the female categories.  Exeter University Windsurf club won a prize in every SWA series category except for the wave series. In the British Universities Colleges Sports (BUCS) Championship women’s Beginner racing Holly Stevens was 1st and Gemma Astbury 3rd both from Exeter. In the women’s Intermediate individual racing Jenny Manby was 3rd representing Exeter and in the women’s Advanced racing Kirsty O’Callaghan was 1st, Jo Wright 2nd and Alex Powell was 3rd ALL from Exeter. BOOM!

Exeter Windsurf Club
The Exeter Ladies on the podium at Aussie Kiss

So who’s involved?

Name: Rachael Ince

DOB: 17/09/1990

Years windsurfing: 6 years

Windsurfing level: Advanced

Why you windsurf: Windsurfing is awesome, it’s a great way to meet new people, go to some amazing places, whilst having ridiculous amounts of fun. There is always something new to learn and it provides a continuous challenge.

It’s great that EUWC has such a huge girl presents, for me personally I think it’s one of the main reasons I got so involved, having never really had a group of girls to windsurf with before. As for the reasons there are so many of us, personally I think it’s partially luck that so many of us started at the same time. And because there are so many girls we all got so much more involved and it snowballed from there. With the great Exeter location it appeals to windsurfers, particularly advanced ones, which definitely is one of the reasons that we have such an active club.

Exeter Windsurf Club
Hitting the water

Being an instructor I’m pretty passionate about getting people into windsurfing. In general women tend to be less active than men. Windsurfing is a great way to get active, get outside and have a great time. Aside from this you meet the best people, it’s safe to say I’ve definitely met some of my best friends through windsurfing. Aside from the fact windsurfing with others is the safe thing to do, having a group of girls to windsurf with is amazing, we push each other enough so that we are always progressing but everyone is super chilled and we help each other out loads.

Name: Alex Powell

DOB: 02/06/91

Years windsurfing: 7

Windsurfing level: Advanced

Exeter Windsurf Club
Exeter Windsurf Club at the Student Nationals

Why you windsurf: For that amazing buzz which only windsurfers can understand! It’s a great way to meet lots of cool and friendly people and travel around the world. There is no age limit and I hope to be one of those grannies ripping at 70; and you can always get better and better!

I think the thought/hope of hot and tanned windsurf boys may be a small part as to why so many girls are part of the windsurf club…nahh not really (maybe a bit). The windsurf club at Exeter really is like a big family. No matter what your ability, age or hair colour everyone is accepted for who they are and welcomed with arms wide open! This friendly reputation the club is known for has been the main reason why the club has been so successful and grown so much in the past few years. Everyone is really keen to help others improve their windsurfing and this laid back attitude makes competitions seem less daunting and it encourages everyone to give it a go.

I can’t help but relate back to my previous article “When it all goes Pete Tong”  when I think about windsurfing friends.  Windsurfing with friends is great fun but at the same time essential when something goes wrong.  Windsurfers are known for looking out for each other on the water, but this can only be done when you are not alone on the water! It’s fair to say that windsurfing friends are friends for life, and the likelihood of bumping into a windsurfing friend on a windy beach the other side of the world is ridiculous. It really is a small world, especially the windsurf world.

Exeter Windsurf Club
Alex on the water

Name: Jo Wright

DOB: 29/09/91

Years windsurfing: 9

Windsurfing level: advanced

Why you windsurf: There is no other feeling quite like it, I love the continuous challenge and all the opportunities I have had as a result of windsurfing have been awesome: seasons, travelling, competing, the people, lifestyle etc

This summer I went away to Dahab to work on my freestyle, and then to Tenerife with Rach and Alex for a summer of wavesailing, which was awesome. I got rotating round forwards and really progressed my wavesailing, plus had a laugh with the girls (and Josh of course!).

Jo Wright
Jo Wright at Aussie Kiss

Now I want to just carry on enjoying the sport, buy a van and windsurf as many spots on Cornwall and Devon as possible during my last two years at uni. Also, through my roles on both the Exeter windsurf and SWA committees next year, open up windsurfing to more students across the UK, help increase competitor numbers (especially in girls fleets) and hopefully help organise some great events.

Exams got in the way of the first two BWA events, the plan is to make the final one in Gwithian and all SWA events next year. Contemplating about getting back into the slalom and having another dable at the PWA next year too but we’ll see.

Name: Megan Davies 

DOB: 4/11/1992

Years windsurfing: 2 years on and off

Windsurfing level: beginner

Why you windsurf: Being able to travel the country, see amazing places and meet amazing people! Also uni windsurf events are awesome!

Exeter Windsurf Club
At the FLOW girls chat at Aussie Kiss

Name: Phoebe Jordan 

DOB: 06/11/1990

Years windsurfing: 5 years

Windsurfing level: intermediate

Why you windsurf: It’s demanding, exhilarating and addictive! The uni club pushes people to get on the water all year round, which is brilliant to help people progress, I used to just go in the summer and it was back to square one each time! There’s a very welcoming community, windsurfer’s are generally easy going and up for a laugh!

Name: Ali Leonard

DOB: 27/04/93

Windsurfing level: Beginner

Years windsurfing: very sporadically since year 10, so every now and again for five years.

Why you windsurf: because I love the sea and the speed is exhilarating..especially when you don’t really know what you’re doing! Plus an awesome bunch of people do the sport so you’ll always have a good time!

Exeter Windsurf Club
Intermediate session for the Exeter ladies (and guys!)

Name: Jenny Manby

DOB: 26/02/1990

Years windsurfing: 4 years on and off

Windsurfing level: Intermediate

Why you windsurf: Everything about the sport is just so much fun. It’s a great way to spend some time outdoors, come rain or shine it’s such great fun. Windsurfers are a brill bunch of people who, whether a beginner or all-time pro, are up for a laugh, wanna help you out to improve your windsurfing and are all around good eggs. An awesome way to get fit all year round, every session is different with so many different types of windsurfing to do it’s such a diverse activity for all ages and abilities

Name: Rebecca lyons

DOB: 30th November 1990

Years windsurfing: 1 and a half

Windsurfing level: Beginner

Why you windsurf: Because I was at the Exeter society fair didn’t have the foggiest clue what to do, was grabbed by the wonderful windsurfing society and signed up on the spot! It’s possibly the most frustrating yet rewarding sport ever! And it sounds quite cool to say you’re a windsurfer (probably because windsurfers are generally pretty cool people themselves!)

Name: Kirsty O’Callaghan

DOB: 26/03/92

Years windsurfing: Since I was about 4 years old!

Windsurfing level: Advanced

Why you windsurf: I love the buzz when I’m planing, windsurfing with my mates just having fun, and attempting some tricks! It is awesome no matter what level you are and there are always people happy to help. You meet some really cool people, go to some amazing places and have such a laugh.

Exeter Windsurf Club
At the Exeter Sports Awards

Name: Sarah Calascione

DOB: 17/12/1990

Years windsurfing: 3

Windsurfing level: Intermediate

Why you windsurf: The people – it is so great meeting people who have the same mindset as you, to just go out on the water, be active and have fun. Windsurfers are the friendliest, most easy-going group of people I know, and as a sport it is the most rewarding and addictive, and is fun for any ability

Name: Amy Foreman

DOB: 17/06/1992

Years Windsurfing: 7

Level: Advanced

Why you windsurf: there is always something new to learn and always someone there to teach you. Everyone is super relaxed and really approachable. Windsurfing is just generally great!

Keep up to date with the Exeter girls (and guys!) through their facebook group here.

FLOW – For Ladies Of Watersports is a group focussed on encouraging more women in watersports, check out their website here www.flowatersports.com

For more about the SWA and the upcoming Aussie Kiss event head to their website here.

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Light winds at Hayling

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