Professional Freestyle windsurfer

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

1st place UK freestyle championships, Poole

Managed my first ever event win this weekend at the Poole windfest. It was great to finally have wind at the event as the name has plagued it for the last several years! We got in three full rounds of competition in 20-25 knot winds. I took the win in the first round and then 2nd in the following two rounds which was enough to take the event. I was neck and neck with Bubble before the third round as we both had a 1st and a 2nd, fair play to Sims who was sailing well and beat me on a split decision to get the win in that round.
I think the week of wind before definitely helped me get into the groove of the UK conditions. The first day I was sailing on my 5.0 & 5.4 ID's on the skate 99 which was a great set up even in the gusty choppy conditions. On the second day it was a bit windier with some more swell about. Nik Baker was out in the morning doing some wave 360's!!!! I was using the Skate 89 and my 4.7 ID all day which has to be my favourite set up at the moment.

Unfortunately I couldnt make it to all the events this year which meant I finished in 3rd in the overalls. Well Done to Sims for taking 1st and Bubble in 2nd. Hopefully next year I will be able to get to a few more!
The wind has still been relentless in England and I've been out the last few days full powered on 4.2. Ive started getting into the starboard tack jumping a bit more now so thats been fun. Also I had the best freestyle session ever at West Wittering the other day in the trench with loads of guys there that stayed down after the competition. I think the only spot that rivals how good it was is Camocim in Brazil and that's only cause you dont need a wetsuit!!!!! Lots of it is on Camera as well so hopefully the video will be coming soon.
Thanks to
Josh Wilmott
Gary Mercer
Bethany Mercer
Trevor & Carole Hibdige

For the pictures!

Check out Josh Wilmotts Video of the weekend!

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Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Windy England!

Last weekend was the National Windsurfing Festival on Hayling Island (NWF) It was the first time I've been to the event and it definitely wont be the last! It was amazing to see so many sails out on the water, there were over 400 people registered for the event and the majority were freeriders. For more info! I managed to win the night tow in session and come 2nd in the freestyle event which I was pretty pleased with!

Since the event finished the wind has been non stop! Check the videos at the bottom to see what I've been up to in more detail. After spotting the ridiculous forecast I consulted with Chris "Muzza" Murray and it was decided that I would stay with him on the south coast and not bother going back to Essex. On Monday we headed to Shoreham so I could collect a wave board and also make the most of the wind! Since Muzza was busy at home finishing of the video for the NWF we got to Shoreham a little bit late and the shorebreak was in full swing! Muzza paid the price for that one (Check the Pic!) Whilst packing up we were wondering it it would be possible to sail in the Widewater lagoon! I did a few runs but it was pretty shallow and the lagoon stunk once I stirred the mud up a bit. Check another Vid at the bottom of the page! I was pretty happy to stick a Skopu with only a 5 second run up!!!!

With the forecast looking even better for the Tuesday we decided a freestyle session would be in order, we gathered a big crew and headed off to West Wittering. It was absolutely howling and once we arrived it was hard enough to open the van doors let alone walk down to the water with our kit! It was gusting up to 50 knots and was easily one of the windier days I've attempted to freestyle in. Given the conditions we all landed some good moves but the crashes that went along with it were far more entertaining which is probably why the video got over 3,000 views in under 24 hours of being uploaded.
After the epic freestyle session I knew it was time to keep Muzza entertained and head on to a wave spot for the following day. Hayling Island was the most obvious option as when the tide drops a nice sand bar pops which the waves wrap round creating some nice straight on jumping. Now starboard tack jumping is most definitely not one of my strong points but one of my main aims for the year is to improve it. With Bubble and Muzza going for it I joined in; consequently my left but cheek is savagely bruised!!!! To make matters worse in the hunt for a flat spot I managed to sail over a sand bar that I hadnt spotted! I tried to resist the catapult which is always a massive error when your fins already in the sand and then went round the front so hard I snapped the head on my boom oooops! SO I had a lovely sail back with my boom wobbling around at the bottom of the cut out lashed on with my uphaul ( so glad I put that uphaul on for the tow in!! )
Not content we headed on to Witterings for another freestlye session! It was good but we were all feeling it a little bit. It looks windy again for tomorrow so check back for some more pics and videos!

Cheers to Dave White for the night tow in Pic & James Underwood for the Shaka at NWF pic.

Muzzas NWF video!

Muzza gets eaten at Shoreham!!!

Skopu at Widewater lagoon!!

Wipeouts at West Wittering!

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Thursday, 1 September 2011

Advanced plus with Flying fish.

I've just arrived back in England after spending the last month out in Vassiliki. Sorry I haven't been very active on here but if you check out I've been doing some blogging on their site about what I've been up to.

The last week I was out in Vass I passed my RYA advanced plus course which brings me on to how I got in to this whole teaching thing..

How I got into this whole world of instructing which brought me on to competing was through a company called Flying Fish. After going on holiday with Club Vass when I was 17 I was certain that I was going to do one of their courses the previous year. Flying Fish run intensive instructor training courses in Vass, some of them take beginner windsurfers to start instructors in 6 weeks. I did a fast track course of 4 weeks when I was 18 out in Vass and it definitely helped me get a foot in the door and meet all the guys working there. It was also then that I got my first taste for freestyle windsurfing, I learnt to Vulcan that summer and have been hooked on it ever since.
After a brief stint working for Mark Warner in Kos I went to Dahab, Egypt for the first time to complete my Intermediate course. I knew it was going to be hard to get a job working for Club Vass without this qualification and lucky for me and a few close friends I had met in Vass we had the perfect opportunity to do it. The guys heading the operation up in Vass Andy Barnes and Becky Ellis were running the course and we all had an awesome week. So with my Intermediate planing course under my belt I approached Club Vass pretty much begging for a job.

Its been five years nearly since I passed my RYA Intermediate planing course and for the last 3 years I've been trying to fit in completing my Advanced plus course. Its been difficult as they normally only run one course a year and it always seemed to clash with an event. This year everything fell into place after a bit of help from Ollie and Barnsey. Its no secret that I've been teaching Advanced windsurfers on a few occasions before the course but I still felt it was completely necessary to get it done and after not doing a course for five years I was keen to see how much I could learn from it. It was a great opportunity to brainstorm with Barnsey and other experienced instructors about anything from kit to teaching techniques. Barnsey gets his nickname "The Oracle" for a reason as he really does know almost everything about anything. I had an amazing week! Learnt a lot and also thoroughly enjoyed myself. After the course I was pretty disappointed to be leaving as I was keen to inject my new found knowledge into some unassuming advanced group.

I wanted to write this update as a bit of a thank you to Barnsey and Becky as they have hooked me up over the years and they really do an amazing job. Make sure you check out for info on all the courses they run. You will have the time of your life!!!

For me now its off to Hayling Island for the National Windsurfing Festival. Also stopping over in Hove this evening for a tow in session at the Ion cable park with Brawzinho, Bubble and Simmsy!!!
Big thanks to Jay Haysey from for the pictures.

Also Laura Slater for the final picture.