Over the next few issues, we will be analyzing windsurf relationships. What it is really like to go out with a windsurfer, a kitesurfer or in the majority of cases, a non-windsurfer. What is the dream combination and how does it actually work? First up…
Some would say this is the dream combination; a loving couple with two kids who are both obsessed with windsurfing and are consequently rather good at it. Louise Emery went to meet Chris & Janine Guest……
The first sparks of love
Janine: I moved to Rhosneigr with an ex-boyfriend who was really into windsurfing. I did windsurf but not very well. Anyway, we split up but I stayed in Rhosneigr! I used to look out of my window and see Chris sailing around and thinking, ‘I wish I could do that’. I didn’t know who he was, but I liked his windsurfing!
Chris: And I liked Janine’s flat!
"I didn’t know who he was, but I liked his windsurfing…..and I liked her Rhosneigr flat!"
How much of an attraction was it that Chris was a windsurfer?
Janine: Probably huge! I’d gone out with a chap who wasn’t really into any watersports. He would want to go shopping instead of surfing – a complete role reversal – and I didn’t want to go out with someone like that again.
So did you scan the waters of Rhosneigr with your binoculars searching for a single, good looking windsurfer?
Janine: Well it sounds like that doesn’t it?! But there was really only Chris out in the week, and he would be out windsurfing and I would be paddling on my surfboard getting in his way. We were mates for quite a long time before the ‘spark’ happened. Chris is six years younger and I thought there is no way he’ll fancy an old crow like me!
So what was life like with a fellow windsurfer?
Janine: To be honest, I was more into surfing at the time I met Chris but he got me back into windsurfing.
Chris: Once we were an item, we were doing loads of outdoor stuff; mountain biking, climbing but windsurfing always took the priority. One time we were camping in the hills and it started to blow. As soon as it was sunrise, we packed up, ran down the hill and drove to the beach – we were totally hooked. We went to Fuerte a lot and went to Australia . We got married in 1996 – so we’re quite established! We have two boys aged 7 and 6. We wanted to get the kids thing out of the way so we could carry on windsurfing!
And then you went and had another – did that change things?
Chris: The big difference is when you have child No.2. The first child, you can just tow around with you anywhere. Two is hell!
Janine: We have now become this well oiled machine; we know exactly what needs to happen on arrival at the beach to get one of us on the water as soon as possible whilst looking after the kids. However, we did get to the stage when they were both toddlers when it’s more hassle than it’s worth to go windsurfing. You get there and you’re so knackered you don’t get out of it what you might.
Chris: However, they are now great and we’re so glad we’ve got two because they go body boarding or entertain themselves. It doesn’t matter how wet and how cold it is, they just put wet kit on and go.
Janine: Poor kids, they’ve been cold & wet from such a young age they’re used to it! We had two weeks in Tiree and it was wet ‘n’ windy the whole time, freezing cold and they didn’t moan once – they loved it.
What are the benefits of having a windsurfing wife/Husband?
Chris: It’s so much better. In the past, when I’ve been out with people that don’t windsurf, there is always the pressure not to go. The nature of windsurfing is that you don’t find out you’re going until the day before so you can’t plan anything. Unless you’re a windsurfer, you just don’t get it.
Janine: The main benefit for me is that Chris is really positive about my windsurfing and he always helps me out.
So, you’ve never lost your cool at him? Never blamed him for your mistakes?!
Janine: No! I learnt my lesson in my climbing days when if I fell off a route, I would blame my partner. You do see it, people having total hysteria about their sailing.
Chris: What are you two talking about? You’re saying that you come off the water and blame your partner for your poor sailing?
Janine & Louise: Yes!! (Louise) I remember calling my boyfriend to the shore to specifically tell him to ‘get lost’ because I was in a mood about my freestyle. (Janine) Oh yes, I remember saying…’why did you make me climb this crag – you knew I wouldn’t be able to reach that hole’.
Janine: No, it is really rare that we argue about windsurfing. Although I did give him some stick over the whole looping saga. Poor old Chris, I talked him to death about it on the way home, lying in bed....he would plead with me to go to sleep. It’s handy we both love it as much as we do. There is no way you’d be able to live with someone that obsessive!
"Unless you’re a windsurfer, you just don’t get it"
Have either of you ever stayed out beyond the agreed time?
Chris: Rarely, although Janine is worse than me.
Janine: I used to push my time. I used to go surfing for the whole day. We did have a real thing about that a few years ago but we got over it (through counselling).
Who goes out first?
Janine: It depends on the forecast. If it’s going to get really windy, being the smaller one, I go out first (for about an hour and a half). The wind does completely rule your day which can be quite annoying but we are really lucky; we have flexible jobs and we have people who will look after the kids when it is windy.
Chris: And getting DVD players in the van was a life saver!
Future windsurfing goals
Janine: Give competition a go definitely in 2007 and carry on looping and getting better in the waves.
Chris: I choose one move and I just do that and nothing else for years and years until I’ve nailed it. So now it’s the backloop.
Finally, why are men, on the whole, much better than windsurfing than women?
Janine: I think some of it is muscle, but I think it is mainly a different attitude. Women like to be in control of things, we always approach moves thinking we must stay in control whereas a lot of windsurfing moves require you to be out of control, looping is a classic for that. You’ve just got to thrown yourself into an unknown, and women aren’t very good at doing that.