Friday, 18 December 2009

4 new fins ruled Woolacombe and Porthcawl magic

Porthcawl SWA PuraVida event
photos: Wayne Thomas

I am very happy to announce that i have recently moved to Starboard/Tushingham my new sponsors

I've enjoyed a couple of good sessions this winter in strong wind and wave conditions in Devon and Wales on the Rock sails and my new Quad 81 which i'm having a lot of fun with. It's had great feedback all over the world and it's been interesting feeling it out for myself, especially as a surfer. It feels great; so little effort to fly around the place, such a nicely balanced shape to cruise out through the break however rippy or gusty, and get fast quickly to jump higher with ease! Taking a few beatings at logo high Woolacombe a few weeks ago i seemed to cheat the weather, floating into position to take my pick of the waves. While it didnt take long to get comfy and just sail, it is different; so drivy and it can really flow or power through turns like a surfboard. I found i was generating more speed than i expected wherever i was on the wave and just started going for more stuff, sailing better without thinking about it! I know already now during 2010 it will help improve my level.
The 'Rock's felt nice providing smooth power and going so neutral instantly on demand. I'm looking forward to getting hold of the new sail designs in 2010 which is very exciting. Also the Aeron booms are stunning. If you're in the Bristol area get in touch with Rich and Nick at Windsurfer's World to have a chat about all the gear.

Friday, 13 November 2009

autumn catch up and Windsurfer International article: 'fit to sail'

Finally! A few minutes to post some news.
Hope everyone scores decent wind this weekend around UK. I put off having an awkward wisdom tooth out twice to go away sailing, so am now forced into a weekend just chilling for a change, bagga!

here's what i've been upto:

Look out for upcoming Windsurf International magazine. Dan Cossins, of Body Development in Bath, and I are running a strength series. I've been training hard when i can and it's been great working with someone at the top of their field to make it as effective as possible.

here it is!

Marazion stunt fest last weekend!
Always nice to get down at the weekend on a big forecast and sail with the boys! (Even if it did mean lesson planning fri and sat night! Fully knackering every day of every week!) Some sun sunday made up for truly horrible weather and light all saturday, scuppering some would-be-excellent action shots from Splashography.

Strong side/side-on with no where to hide from mast+half to 2x mast high N coast was a stunning sight, but frustratingly a no go. Would have been 10seconds adrenaline for an hour of punishment, or worse...

Cornwall Classic. Handily for me slotting into half term week many of us got some good freesailing and stunning clean head high surf in the days leading upto the event. Giwthian and particularly Godrevy provided the goods for a more-than-worthy contest which finished off the 4 nations year. The tour had seen the best conditions ever and the top guys battled it out all the way to the finish...

photo: JC /boardseeker as ever covering them all with great photo and vid work.

For me I sailed better on day 2 flowing more, forcing less, and got more speed and better turns.

I finish the year 12th Overall, which i'm happy with considering the company above me.

By the way, dont know if i should be keeping it on the down-low! but the latest Gul Windsurf suit in development is seriously good, building on superb current and recent windsurf and surf suits, and should be fully pimp too! Gold bling.

I'll have some big news on kit soon, stay tuned.


Tiree Wave Classic 09. Mangaed to organise the week to do it around full time Uni/school committments. Sam Neil and i missed our heats! Long story... But at least we arrived on the island in time for one day at least of great wind and waves. We sessioned it hard! Following on everyone had a couple of fun days surfing. What can you say its all about the craic.

Coll Challenge triathlon was a great day. With 3rd in run, 7th on bike (didn't go well!) I had to settle for 4th place finish. I was happy with a 3rd in the SUP final with some experienced SUP-ers!

photos: JC/Tiree Waveclassic


National windsurfing festival. A great success, so many people on one beach! (That wasn't your average day at Hayling was it?!) We lucked in with planing condtions all day on big kit and i qualified for the night race. I managed not to come last. At least if you were so underpowered you could sneak off downwind in pitch black on your return. The Boat crews did a great job we got to fly around the place with glow sticks attached to ourselves. Fun in the dark!

I was on the judging team for national windsurf freestyle champs. No planing wind but great lightwind competing from the youths and a few older youths! Brighton rocked!

Gower, S Wales, day trip one weekend turned out good, 4.4 in chunky waves. Gonna try and get there more often!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

A Westerly kick in the balls! : Cornwall chaos

I had a feeling somehow the evening before that the day could turn into a shocker, sat at Marazion watching great stunt ramps roll through-which i expected would disappear overnight-but with no wind on the inside in SW'ly at that time. Sunny and strong wind for most of the day, sounds great no?! But the day conspired against us and I don't think anyone scored much! -aside from a gusty but superb flat water day at Maza. Anyone chasing waves was stuffed! It goes to show things don't always go to plan, and not to always believe what you hear about conditions you missed, or be too miffed when you think you might be missing a good day when actually not much is happening!

Andy and I scoured beach after beach for 4 hours, including one south coast reef that i'm gagging to sail at some point when i'm around and its working!...the excitement of a potential epic session fading into frustration! The decent swell on its way to the Cornwall north coast was made quickly unsailable and unsurfable by the W winds, with logo high sets of white-water coming through at Hayle turning very onshore and light through the rippy impact zone! We would have been up at Daymer Bay getting whatever wind and waves came through if it wasn't for the A30 grinding to a standstill. Stuffed by the tides, wind and swell directions and now also the monumental bank holiday weekend traffic including a caravan accident! (What would Jeremy Clarkson say if he was a windsurfer...haha)

Dejected and 'over-it' I pulled into the M&S car park to get a coffee. It nearly tipped me over the edge as there was more road rage building in there doing laps and snatching the spaces! The radio reported the M5 was not doing well and as I approached Exeter i heard the A303 was getting stuck, so going south coast near southampton was my move of the day! My last day of 2 weeks holidaying it in cornwall and time to get organised for my move to Bath and imminent PGCE. I felt for those queued up 20 miles on the M5 for upto 6 hours! My journey was smooth and quick other than one near miss where some nutter driving his family home flew past up the inside lane just as the guy in front of me finally decided to pull in...

I cleared my head and thought back to a soulful session a week previous where i had Gwithian on my own for the last hour of light in perfect side-off with some of the cleanest waves i've ridden. On 5.0 and 85, head high and walling up so long and well. And that came from no-where as for the hour previous we were out it was closing and too light, so you just never know when it's gonna go off really do you!

Bring on next weekend's national windsurfing festival; it'll be epic whatever the weather but hopefully with some strong wind day and night too please!

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Sotogrande to Sagres

Within 24 hrs of booking the flights, hire car, Gatwick parking…it seemed UK summer was over and there was proper swell forecast…and wind! Of course I was hoping those down in Cornwall where I would have been otherwise were gonna score it –they could thank me!- but I was relieved to have not missed anything classic. So I put surf out of my mind and focussed on 38 deg C and wall to wall sunshine!
10 days based down in Sotogrande didn’t seem a bad way of doing probably my only warm trip for this year. Tarifa is only 45 ish mins west...
Taking just 5.7 4.7 3.7 and 85 One I was sure whatever I found I would be ready to ride!

This trip in Photo Gallery:

the trip vid below or:


Arrived late avo, getting -and then getting to!- the hire car in Malaga airport was a mission! All the hassle soon evaporated with the sea air once I got on the main road west to Sotogrande.
Tried to Sail at a nearby beach at the harbour and catch the gusts in the super-flat water, avoiding the occasional luxurious boat coming in!


Over to Tarifa
5.7 was just enough in the gusts, side-on from the right; Poniente

Scouring the forecasts every am and pm I decided now was the best time for the 3-day Portugal mission. The second part of the 500km journey was stunning, with such a marked change when you cross the border. I couldn’t help get a little excited that I may actually score some waves on what was really a freestyle trip/holiday! We got to Sagres late afternoon and checked a couple of the nearest main beaches. The wind was pumping out of Martinhal bay on S coast while barely a breath on the north coast!
Stacked 4.7.
Camped in Sagres, close to the Fortaleza, nice site, very chilled around the area in general.

Day 4
Checked most of the beaches north from Sagres about 100km up before settling on best place to surf, bearing in mind competing with many hungry and talented locals in a decent summer swell!

Got 30 mins sailing on north coast but the side-on wind soon died into the late morning. Another fun surf. As attractive as Lisbon and Guincho was, around 200km further north, it was time to head back to Spain and Sotogrande. I can’t wait to go back to Portugal to surf in autumn or spring…
Visited Vejer, a beautiful old town high on a hill overlooking the huge valley.
(No shots-camera battery ran out!)

Day 6
Tarifa in Levante
Powered-up 4.7. Quite gusty at the more side-off spots even a few hundred metres out to sea.

Days7 &8
Tarifa, windier!
Completely overpowered at times on 3.7
Hell-chop but fun! Chatting to a local who works at one of the centres and it seemed it wasn’t the nicest Levante they get, Good to hear I wasn’t the only one finding the conditions tricky! Especially after almost a year of no freestyle, having a few good crashes and mostly just pulling forwards!

Day 9&10
Trip clock since I picked the car up read 2200km. The call was a few drinks out in the evenings and chill by the pool by day! My shoulders were ruined and ankle just about hanging on (again). I didn’t even look at the forecast!
Checked out Gibraltar's rock for a great view and met some monkeys.
Flew home out of Gibraltar the next day in the evening tired and happy!
Gibraltar was great as it’s so small and some hire cars can be returned there even if rented out from a different location, and the car park is close.

Get a good hire car, mine loved the hill roads and there are lots of them! Watch out for crazy /bad drivers. You’ll notice most cars are dinged up.

If you’re keen to kite check out and get lessons with a legendary sailor Ben Harrison (of the clubvass oldschool!) who’s made Tarifa his home.
It was pretty much 30-37 degC each day, a couple of cloudy days. Depending where you are the water is still a bit cool to swim for long but nice!
A shorty wetsuit was perfect for the windy days, boardies otherwise. I could have done with my summer steamer for surfing in the Atlantic/Portugal.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

UKWA round 2 Rhosneigr goes ballistic!


A day of carnage on the water trying to get comfortable on a lit 3.7. It was nuts to basically have the whole bay to yourself during your 10 minute heat, in saturday's nuking wind and waves! I drew Oisin and put together 2 good waverides that beat both his scores but was easily beaten on jumps with his 3 different landed ones vs my one stalled forward. Practise practise... Back and push loops got much better on monday in solid 4.7 wind, later getting blown off the water. Well worth the extra night stay given i could, conking out in nearby B&B after enjoying sunday's little waves that were breaking way out...yep on an SUP...Jem loved it. So did I!
Everything ached driving home... More great craic at another british event with a fantastic turn out for wave, racing and spectating. We really lucked in with the weather and the top boys put on the show to match!

Thursday, 14 May 2009

UKWA ‘09, Round 1, Ireland!

What an event… I’m still buzzing from it days later, I really did need a trip away! I’m sure anyone reading this has read about the event via the several boardseeker news clips;

The top boys threw some big moves down in good conditions…Jamie Hancock won, followed by John Skye, Ben Proffitt, Andy King, Phil Horrocks and Rob Jones

How it went for me:

A 13th place (=13th with one other if i've got it correct) out of 26 pros with everyone there wasnt bad for me, and it took a good performance to get that! I went straight out in the single elimination still just finding my feet again in the tricky conditions with mega-overpowering gusts. With another hour on the water getting dialled in, I got comfortable with my new board -the 85One- only the third day riding it.
The single final was action-packed in the logo high side-side off 4.1-4.7 weather. P1-4: Jamie, John, Andy, Ben.
The call came soon after that we’d be starting the double elimination…
I sailed well to win my first round heat, not doing anything that radical but just putting together good turns and hits on two set waves with no mistakes. I made sure I’d re-tuned my sail perfectly to the current wind, feeling ideally powered up. The One allows you to make speed on the wave and float out and upwind easily. I was glad I’d got the mental part of my game sussed this time; no dramatics or kit trashings like last year at Garry William!
I got a debrief from A. King and gleamed some top tips. Just working on the basics and doing those well is paramount and I got more speed, the best waves I could find and made more of them, missing the top12 fight by one place coming 3rd in my 2nd round heat.

The action the following day gave an intense top 6 battle in high winds and mast high+ conditions, creating quite a spectacle.
There was a great team vibe through the event for us at Zerogravity; Goya/Quatro. Everyone pushed each other on sharing good craic on and off the water.

After the contest (and a couple of big nights!) a few of us surfed Garry William point, I say a few, the session turned out to be packed! It was nice to get a couple of good waves from the peak, and to take a couple of beatings over the falls and escape unscathed! Garry William, me 1 all!
The surf sessions with the boys in Fuerte had stood me in good stead…would love to surf it when it’s really pumping…

March/April roundup... getting the stoke back!

So there was a move back to Oxfordshire; freezing Scottish waves; finding the stoke again and training; real training, in a boat!

N Scotalnd trip!
Thurso was called by Thorpy, with Potter and a 3rd seat still unfilled in his van I was drafted in very last minute for the long weekend mission.See more shots and read the story on his site:
2 shots of thorpy here, one ripping; the other, well, doing detailed reconnaisance of the reef!

To my relief I got a few good shots of the boys. We got some decent conditions and we all want to go back for more!As well as some proper windsurf reef-break action in nuking ;) winds, for me the highlight was surfing Thurso on a clean barrelling day.

Struggling to find work I reluctantly left Cornwall to move back ‘home’ to Abingdon, Oxfordshire. I did two swimming instructor/coaching courses and got part time pool lifeguard work, have been volunteering with a swim team and mentally preparing for September’s PGCE start(!) with some science lesson observations. Dealing with the frustration of not windsurfing or coaching somewhere consistent I put my efforts back into pure training for the meantime, in the knowledge that this would all pay off when the time came!
An old school mate suggested I get involved with City of Oxford rowing club where they’ve been preparing for the summer racing season, just in time for their Easter training camp at home on the Isis. Around 150km later, much of which was side by side 2km raced pieces at 80-90% again and again, I was feeling new levels of soreness but had got through it, tougher and faster, and more disciplined to stretching! But a second week on with a strained rotator cuff and minor deltoid tear; not part of the plan! An old injury from Egypt had come back to haunt me…
One of our coaches is our in-house physio and after some treatment made sure I did the correct rest and rehab training.
The next two weeks were frustrating not being in a boat, though at least I still wasn’t missing any UK windsurfing. I found new ways to train while resting the shoulder, running and cycling of course, but also some great circuits, and legs only pool sessions with fins, exhaling slowly underwater pushed the lungs!
Getting ready for the first 09 UKWA event in Ireland though I hadn’t been able to windsurf as much as others at least I knew-given the shoulder would heal in time?-I’d be fighting fit again.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

wavejam 5 report

My report from our epic Mexico's session is up online on the Wavejam site today: There's also several galleries to check out all the shots from several photographers...

above and below by Marouska Fili

left by John Parker

This month's Boards and Windsurf mags have covered it nicely and i'll see when i manage to scan the articles and upload to my Picasa gallery site linked on here.

below: skunked with light wind the following day at daymer bay

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

inches of snow in cornwall...!

The last week of january saw a couple of great sessions at Godrevy in SSE with bowly logo high waves. Now we're into weather from Russia and varying strengths and directions not to mention freezing so not much happening at the moment!

While 8 inches of the stuff had london grinding to a halt we even had several inches in parts of cornwall!

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Big Wednesday! It’s story time…

anyone would be a bit scared wouldn't they!?

Yesterday Gwithian was hit by the biggest waves Ian Black thinks he’s ever seen there, not a statement taken lightly! As the 1 o’clock high tide dropped, by 3pm mast and a half high sets were walling up and breaking at the outside rock. I was glad of the camaraderie as we got prepared with a nervous excitement that doesn’t happen often, on a day where you’d want to think twice about going in alone. The butterflies were there, and didn’t stop! This was definitely the most memorable session I’ve had in a long while.

As I was about to launch I could just about see Blackie clearing a mast high set, and then the bigger one after it…The wind was pretty good, SSW’ly, powered up enough on 4.7/5.0. Timing and patience was everything. There were some situations I definitely didn’t want to find myself in today in the cold sea and air. But prepared and up for it this challenge was to be met. The good thing about the size was the period really was high, and although on the inside you would just be drifting much of the time there was plenty of room for a chicken gybe when you saw a 15ft face wall up ahead about to close out along the bay. Gwithian lets you out. The sets were regular enough and you could find 30-40 seconds of eerie calm around the impact zone, just some peeling at logo high to deal with, and hopefully catch a gust and tear well out the back.
I took a lot more time than usual lining up, watching Blackie take two waves, finding an exit to kick off and get back out unscathed. Planing in at one stage I watched mast and a half high sets throw just down the beach from where I was, I gybed, wondering if I really was out the back enough! The one wave I took walled up nice and smoothly. Over my shoulder I couldn’t see anything bigger; I wanted to take it all the way in anyway. There was so much more time positioning as the face gradually grew and I accelerated. Racing down into the bottom turn, it threw top to bottom just behind me. Carrying speed up into a big long face I made sure I held the carve around the top of the wall and flew back down and out of harms way as 100m of it closed out. Boom! From near silence to such a thundering noise. During the next attempts out I got caught awkwardly in a lull and let a head high throwing lip try to put the tail of my board through the top of my leg! Pretty stunned I managed to get back in, Blackie helping with my gear. I couldn’t even lift my leg! Gutted! Carrying myself up the cliff badly bruised I sat in the car watching the two of them; Steve Colesby had joined in. The rain was still relentless and the wind chilled the hands. There were no major swims and Blackie found one that connected all the way in, laying down warp speed turns one after the next. Very smooth and impressive.
They came in just before dark. Barely another soul in sight, no cameras or video, just the three of us, a memorable afternoon!

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

wavejam 5 went off last saturday!

wavejam -event 5 It went off!

Saturday 17th: We really did luck in with powerful mast high waves and strong side off wind giving rocking riding in St Ives bay.
Expect photos and articles in the next mags...

Thursday, 15 January 2009

more gwithian action

just got back and its still raining, solidly since i got up! Pretty bleak stuff but similarly to last sunday gwithian saw solid sets in 10-12ft range, today more true southerly. All the usual suspects were there and as soon as the tide dropped enough out we were. Even out the back we literally had 15-35 knts, and everything in between! Good timing allowed getting out with everyone again having a few good swims at some point, notably Ian Ross throwing up after swimming from out the back all the way to beach and kit. Hood and boots essential, hands a bit of a chill on! I timed it nicely setting up and bottom turning in front of one wall but didn't quite land the aerial back onto the wave, lots of stuff to work on as ever...

This is the most sustained period of large swell and high wind forecast i can remember. It should be a good weekend and apart from the tides being wrong Marazion could be rocking sunday. If it feels punishing here i wonder what they feel like in Ireland!
Right, back to the job hunt.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

gwithian today

got that tired and satisfied feeling going know the one you only get after a big day out going for it in solid conditons. It was great to catch up with many people i hadnt seen in a few months, everyone on the water enjoying it, 'tropical' compared to a week previous was the joke. Previous to today the forecast of 10degrees, 12ft SW swell with 30knt southerly wind was music to my ears during some harsh re-acclimatising in recent subzero UK! And though today was by no means classic it was still so good just to be out in a powerful sea...
I think everyone had a good swim or two at some point. PC Andy King in training, who'd got straight out in the morning after a night shift, made some big hits and outrageous aerial attempts, going into a pushloop off the lip, admittedly unintentionally, and some goiters landed out the back. I hit the water with Thorpy late morning who went for it with no fear, and due to the hectic condtions not making any of the first several aerials, coming down with big sections in big bailouts, followed by big swims! laying down some good turns later. It took me until the afternoon to get anything together making a few half-decent turns amongst the fray. Blackie pretty much owned it with smooth turns and precise aerials floating down with the sections, somehow seeming always to be in the right place at the right time. Timo, Hunt, Wemms and co sailed upwind towards Mexicos and scored more ordered cleaner riding. Jan seems to drive as much as anyone and be able to sail all day without tire, and picked off the occaisional decent long wall. There were many others out getting some nice waves that i havent mentioned here.
Was a nice and dry day too...tomorrow supposed to p**s it down!
Thorpy has put up a few nice shots on his site:

Saturday, 3 January 2009

happy new year's snowboarding!

Happy new year from Sainte-Foy, France! It's been great catching up with family and friends in the snow this christmas and new year, which was quite a change!

These two shots by Will Nick Moffatt Snowboarding

Some snowfall made for a fun couple of days, otherwise the snow has been good but not epic, with mostly clear blue skies! Val d'isere car park hit a chilly -13 deg C by 4pm, its a fun day trip with a huge area to ride. The current park crew in town-mostly french but a few brits- were busting out big smooth spins in the park, with style being shown on skis and board.

Nick Moffatt Teaching in Fuerteventura -And one from Fuerte coaching late November last

Current 2008 Goya kit still remaining for sale:
this 5.7 wave3d in excellent condtion, similarly 4.4 and 3.7, and 81 custom wave.
I'll be back in england 7th jan and able to post anywhere.

Get it while its hot! give me a shout
Cheers, all the best for 09, and may everyone get lots of windsurfing in!
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