We have just got back from the Fat Face Night Windsurfing Festival and have to say that it was another amazing event. In stark contrast to last years driving rain and 30knots, this year was ablazened with sunshine and absolutely no wind. It picked up, just.
But, that did not matter. It was all about fun and participation, compete in whatever conditions there are. That is exactly what the hundreds of people who had entered did.
The event was all about participation, fun and providing a great festival for windsurfing, participants and their families. Everyone got in the spirit, pumped like olympians on whatever kit they could get their hands on.
Short board, longboards, paddle boards, RS:X, original windsurfers, div II board, freestyle boards, tandems, Kona\'s, beginner boards - there was no exception. Just Whatever you could get your hands on to get you round the master blaster course and too the beach.
With £2000 prize money at stake for the Night Windsurf, which became a kind of light wind course racing, super x pursuit race, all competitors were desperately trying to get their hands on something long and with a dagger.
It was the Starboard Serenity that stole the show in the pro\'s, and a standard raceboard with a demon sail under the helm of Gavin Baylis in the the freeride fleet!
By the time we got to the final race at about 10.30 pm, the only way to get into the prize money was to have a race board. The course was short, two buoys off the beach right in front of the crowds.
Believe it or not, in these light winds, this gave for an exciting pursuit race that was easy to follow.
The course was a reach to the first buoy, on this leg the competitors had to do a board sail downwind 360. Next a duck gybe, then upwind 360. Duck tack round the next mark, reach to the last buoy, gybe and tack back to the finish for a sprint up the beach.
Despite John Hibbard\'s excellent performance on a Paddle Board with 8.0 metre sail, The final was all about the fight between Ben Proffit on a Simmer Freestyle sail of only 6.8m2 in size on a Raceboard, and Xavier Ferlet on a Starboard Serenity with an 8.3. Xavier\'s speed was far greater and Ben really did work hard to keep up. It was a pumpathon, no one even wore a harness. Ben gained during the moves, but Xavier Ferlet worked hard, even managing a duck tack on such enormous kit.
The racing was really exciting to watch and the crowd were really getting into it. The night was clear, so the action was easy to see if not very surreal. It did look as if Proffit could have got the race, but he was no match for Ferlet on the final upwind leg, he finished close and a bigger sail for Proffit might have told a differenent story. Alan Jackson came in at third, having also won most of the master blasters through the day on various Starboard Longboards.
Xavier Ferlet was the man of the day, and longboards were the windsurfing weapon of choice - the ultimate allrounders? Shortboard did have a respite. Earlier in the day Xavier Ferlet recorded 19.0 knots, in a very small gust!
The Fat Face festival prooved to encompass all. With so much fun, from the fancy dress fleet, to the pre 80\'s racing. The event included it all.
For a full video feature,and results stay tuned to this weeks issue of Boardseeker Magazine where we will have the best of the video highlights...
Photo Credit: Clyde Waite