The UK wavesailing competition scene in the last couple of years has seen a new lease of life through the confident guidance of the British Wavesailing Association (BWA).
As always, there is a strong contingent of pro sailors but what is becoming more and more evident is the increasing amateur and maters fleets. There is clearly now a core group of windsurfers – weekend warriors with normal jobs who follow the tour around the four nations of Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England to show their wares in some of the UK’s best wavesailing conditions.
For the last three years, the Four Nations tour has taken in Rhosneigr in Anglesea, North Wales, Brandon Bay in Ireland, Tiree in Scotland and Gwithian / Marazion in Cornwall, taking advantage of some of the most consistent and best conditions that the UK has to offer.
The amateur and master fleets have grown a lot in this time and in some cases there have been more amateur than pro entries! The more competitors, the more heats; the more heats means more competing and better prizes! If you aren’t quite sure if it for you, maybe this will convince you:
It’s not very expensive. The biggest expense involved with competitions is getting there and paying for accommodation once you are there. This gets so much cheaper if you can share the travel and living costs, so why not convince some mates to head over with you. No mates? Get on the Boardseeker Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/boardseekermag or the Boardseeker Forum http://www.boardseekermag.com/forum/ and get posting! You are bound to find someone to share with.
“Competing is the best thing in my life. It is the best way to get better and is so much fun - all the pros give u so much help and advice” – Aleksy Gayda – Current Amateur 1st Place
The standard isn’t as high as you might think. This is the single thing that puts the most people off. Let’s set this straight. In an amateur heat, it is not all about stalled forwards and aerials! If you can link together a few turns on a wave and manage anything from a floaty jump to a table-top or a back-splat forward on the way out, then you are well up to standard.
"Everyone should have a go at a UK comp! Amateur sailing is more about fun and gives you a chance to hang out with and learn from some of the best and most friendly sailors around... you'll learn more in a few days than you would over months at your local break. The buzz just gets you going and every sailor pushes themselves more than usual to pull more off, and you often realise you are better than you think!" – Jim Brooks – Pura Vida Boardriders and BWA Organiser.
It is a friendly crowd. Windsurfers are generally pretty friendly people and I can’t think of a single unfriendly person that is involved with the BWA! Seriously though, you may think that the pro sailors would be arrogant and unapproachable... not true – a genuinely friendly bunch.
“The best thing about competing? For me its getting to sail at the some of the best spots in the UK. We have it really good here you just need to get about a bit more. I’ve been wanting to sail Brandon, Tiree and Cornwall for years so the tour seemed like the perfect excuse.“ – Lewis Merrony – Pura Vida Boardriders – Current 2nd Place
It is, hands down, the best way to improve your sailing in the shortest time. Sorry Jem! The adrenaline of competition, sailing in great conditions and unlimited advice from some of the best sailors in the world all mean you are absolutely guaranteed to improve.
“I don’t enter competitions thinking about winning, it’s definitely about having fun and experiencing competition sailing... although Lewis and I have a little head to head rivalry going on, 2-1 to him now after Tiree!” – Alfie Hart- Boardseeker Video Guru and Current 3rd Place
You don’t need a massive quiver. Being realistic, a sailor of about 80Kg can get away with a 4.2, 4.7 and 5.3 and a smaller and bigger waveboard or freestyle wave to match.
So, when are the competitions? Well... it just so happens that there is an event this weekend in Gwithian (or Marazion), Cornwall. Gwithian is one of the best and most consistently down the line wave spots in England. Pura Vida Custom will also be awarding a custom board and teamrider deal to a budding amateur that will be chosen on merit by Jim and the Judges after the event.
For more information on this or any BWA competition, check out the BWA website: http://www.britishwavesailingassociation.com