Thursday, 20 June 2013

Home delivers some wind, hello Scotland

I was great to get back on a windsurfing board after my exams by competing at the 3rd event of the UKWA Inlands at Farmoor, even better to win it! However, something was missing: wave riding and jumping! Luckily for me, the week following Farmoor was windy, and I scored some great sessions at Wonwell, Bigbury, The Bluff, Marazion, and Siblyback. I feel like I've finally cracked the forward loop on Port tack, consistency needs to be worked on, and although my Starboard tack jumping is pretty atrocious, I'm at least trying on my bad side. It sounds simple, but the key thing that made the difference for me was making sure my feet were really deep in the footstraps so that I didn't loose the board, and getting the front hand back as well as the backhand. Need to try some more backlooops now, and see if I can get flat water spin loops.

Two sessions really stand out for me. One was when I headed west to sail The Bluff and Marazion. The waves were small, but it was really windy, making it simply a really fun jumping and riding session: bright sunshine and 4.2 all day! The other was just 5 minutes down the road at Siblyback lake. The wind was southerly, pretty clean, and was a great opportunity to do some much needed high wind raceboard training. I'm pretty impressed with the Lightning 8.5, it is actually really powerful and great upwind, downwind, it lacks power compared to the XR 9.5, but in 18 knots+, it's the ideal raceboard sail for me. 
8.5 Tushingham Lightning + Starboard Phantom 377: ulimate high -wind racing combo! Pic by Paul Wright

The wind then picked up, full power 5.0, and I put the Kode 86 through it's paces, I just couldn't bring myself off the water! It really bought back to me back to just loving windsurfing without having and waves, whitewater, startlines etc. just blasting, chop hopping, and cranking around gybes and downwind 360's! I was pretty stacked on my 5.0 in the gusts, 4.2 would have been fine, but decided to head out on my 8.5 and Starboard Phantom again! I haven't sailed a longboard in this much wind for a very long time, but it was fine, fun, and I felt nicely in control with the 8.5 lightning and a 46cm fin.
Starboard Kode 86: carving machine! Pic by Paul Wright
Testing. Pic by Jacob Henning
It was also great to catch up with the Siblyback Waterwarriors Team 15 club at the weekend as well. They competed in the second even of the season, and finished 3rd team in a close battle with arch rivals from Roseland. Aside from the home made tropies, the new feature this year is the total domination of the Polkerris Pirates, who absolutely smashed the last two events! It was a nice force 4 wind for them, my brother Ross finished 2nd in the 6.8's on tied points with first, luckily for him it was windy, because he hasn't sailed in non planing conditions for a very very long time! I also managed to get out on the water to test an interesting prototype race sail.

I've also just moved house to St Andrews for a 12 month work placement, so once I come back from touring (ok, holiday) Croatia with the Bristol University Big Bands, I've got some exploring to find the best windsurfing spots on the east coast of Scotland, as well as two month to get fit and fast for the Raceboard world championships in the Czech Republic in September.
Fully loaded: there was just about room for me inside.

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