Real World Windsurfers


The surname Bainbridge may not ring many bells at the moment (unless you know a bell ringer called Bainbridge, in fact if you know any bell ringers you could be on the wrong website) but it will do in the future. John Bainbridge is the father of young talents Connor and Kai, both super keen and pretty damn good for their age. The team they have formed has got the interesting name of Red Nemisis Dog. But back to John, who was himself behind the European operations of the massively successful, but is now happily retired….sort of!

What is work and what does it involve?  

I worked as European Head of Operations for until December last year and I am starting a degree course in Marine Science in September. Currently, however, I am catching up on the last 10 years of lost domestic time, working on the house mainly. Yeah!

How did you get into that?

I lived in France for 6 years after University and when I came back to the UK I fell into recruitment consultancy. I was headhunted into TMP Worldwide (who owned Monster) in their Search & Selection division 10 years ago and as Monster grew in Europe I transferred to my COO role with that division.  

Did windsurfing lifestyle influence your employment and where you live?  

Definitely no to both, but it would do if we move house again.

How did you get into windsurfing?

A long time ago in France I spent a couple of years windsurfing on an old Dufour (it was a new Dufour back then!) Then I came back to the UK and got on with my career and growing the family (4 kids) and about 6/7 years ago decided I needed an interest outside of work so took an RYA course at Galloway Sailing Centre and then the kids got into it and so it became a big part of our lives.


Son Connor with coach guru Jem Hall




Where do you live and where is your local windsurfing spot?

Halifax. Local spot is 400 metres above sea level and 15 minutes from home (but we didn’t windsurf when we moved here so that was super lucky). Great wind and you feel like you’re sailing on top of the world, which of course it is, especially as it’s in Yorkshire!

How much time can you get on the water?

Not very much recently as most weekends involve taking Connor and/or Kai to windsurf training or events all over the country. Once the evenings are longer I will be out most days when the kids get back from school. It’s all part of the plan… 

What sort of kit do you sail?

Big kit. I am a lazy sailor and I am at my most comfortable in winds that are best for big boards and sails, either Formula or my RRD z-ride. As long as I am planing I am happy. This has led to being rather overpowered on quite a few occasions which has then given me a bit of a reputation as a kit killer, from board noses and booms to the spreader bar on my harness snapping.

Do you get a chance to travel much – abroad and in the UK ?

Last year Connor and myself went to Tobago  for two weeks with the Boards test team and we did one week in Prasonisi with Jem Hall in September. We are off to Ireland with Jem in May. In the UK we travel every weekend, all year round to windsurf with very few exceptions. In the last 18 months we have sailed in places from Argyll to Devon and many venues in between. Connor’s favourite spot is Rhosneigr so we spend most spare weekends over there. For work I was averaging 2/3 countries a week, but thank goodness that is behind me now.

What advice do you have to get on the water as much as possible and get kids into windsurfing?

As far as the kids go it’s really easy – get them into the local Team15 club and they will have a fantastic time and constantly learn new skills. Then there are the regional UKWA events and then the national UKWA events to go to as they progress. Windsurfing is fantastic for families, not only because it’s very healthy, but because windsurfers leave their worries at home when they go sailing so everyone is really helpful and easy to get along with. There is also some great kit around that will work in most conditions you’re likely to go out in, so make the investment in a board and some decent sails that make it easy for you on the water. In the early days of deciding what works for you beware the latest fad or fashion and get a proven board that is well suited for the spot you’re going to sail the most. That way 100% of your time on the water will be pure joy. Try before you buy!

As John is the main photographer, most pictures are of Connor!

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