Brogborough Lake is positioned firmly in the centre of the country. A minimum of two and half hours drive to the coast breeds a certain sort of windsurfer. We laugh in the face of gusts, we gybe in tight spaces and we talk to each other. Saturday morning the lake is overtaken by the Brogborough youth, which is based around the RYA’s “Onboard” and “Team 15”. Stuff happens at Brog. But once a year there is an event so good, that cars are packed, vans are loaded and 50% of the active club members head to the seaside. The annual pilgrimage to the NWF.
Well, it’s now May, and with it shortly the opening of entries to the NWF… This year will be bigger and better than ever. We’ve been told that each year to date and it’s been accurate so far. It was only 4 years ago that the Broggies started an organised invasion of Hayling. Several members had been regular attendees at the early year’s events and they came back telling others that they should get off their arses and make the journey. They were right. Now, it’s firmly an annual event for us and everyone is looking forward to seeing how it develops further in 2014.
It’s now the real start of the windsurfing season… frosts are past, steamers are getting thinner, birds are singing and the youth members are reappearing at the weekends. It’s time to start spreading the word. So let’s talk a little about what the NWF offers.
The community. We all go to work, college, the shops, wherever… and we’re all just a little bit weird because we are windsurfers. Watching the football on a Saturday afternoon offers no joy to us… it’s a waste of life. So, imagine spending days in a community where come wind or no wind, everyone there is a windsurfer, everyone understands and no-one cares what Kerry Katona is wearing… or who she is. It’s a truly immersive experience to find yourself no longer the odd ones out.
The “racing” Note the inverted commas. This is racing like no other. Compare the London Marathon to the Parents race at a school sports day enables a good analogy. The “racing” is a key part of the event, and is truly suitable to those of all abilities. It is done with humour (check out the fancy dress worn by some) and with such a high number of competitors, that it’s a bit of a lottery where anyone might get a good start and gain a placing. It’s very simple… out from the beach, round a buoy and back to the beach, with an energy soaking run up the shingle to finish. And it’s the racing that really brings the club membership together…. because for everyone who wants to race, there is at least one who doesn’t. In all other sports this would leave those people uninvolved, but at the NWF the non-sailing members are essential. They are employed (and appreciated) for their help carrying kit, standing waist deep in the water holding and salvaging abandoned boards as competitors run up the beach and giving much needed vocal encouragement… “Broggy! Broggy! Broggy!” etc… This event works best with a crowd.
Youth elements. Much is organised for the younger participants, and it’s not patronising rubbish. As well as categories in the racing, an evenings entertainment is arranged for those under 16. Whilst us old folk are rubbing aching muscles and supping the first beer (Yes, there is much supping to be done) the younger members are pairing up with world class pros for a night race. Racing in the dark? Must be crazy… Not so, multiple glow-sticks are gaffer-taped to each youngster and they pair up for a light humoured race with a pro. Last year Brog kids got to race paired with Bubble Chambers, Gollito, John Skye (a former Broggie youth himself) and others. The pro’s that attend the NWF earn the sponsorship money here… So, the kids go off and we stand and cheer. After the race we are entertained by the freestyle pros performing ariel ballet from a tow in jet ski… yes, Gollito performing tricks, 10 yards away under floodlight…. unreal.
It does take a little planning to get so many people together thinking (mostly) as one, but it’s worthwhile. To someone visiting the NWF, Brog is the only visible club there, mainly due to the sea of orange tee shirts, (no, we are not Dutch!) and we’d really like to see some other clubs and create a little healthy rivalry, so here’s a diary of whatís involved.
Start talking spread the word. Enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm T-shirts! Chose a distinctive colour (not orange!) design a shirt and Alan will hook you up with the NWF artwork that can be tinkered with to make an individual design that makes your members feel part of a clan, and this is what it is about Everything you do now should be done with the clan mentality in mind. Bomb your club Facebook page with pictures of mocked up shirts, tell the other members that you’re going show that Brog bunch how to sail get that camaraderie going. Did I mention T-Shirts ? It is really important. T Shirts can be printed in any quantity , Quick and easy one via companies like Vistaprint or better screen printed shirts through companies like Majosa. Spartan wetsuits and others will custom print rashvests. Whatever you choose, start now.
Registration time and As in previous years, registration is important. Registering helps you because once your team have each registered, they are committed. Additionally, it means the NWF organisers have a better idea on numbers and can plan facilities and catering etc accordingly, so it’s good for all.
The full registration covers camping, the parties and the racing. It is the cheapest entertainment you will have this year. Non racers can buy just party and or camping and non-windsurfers can select one of the taster sessions tickets and try another sport. Think I might try Kite surfing this year where else can I give it a go for free ?
Get those registrations in asap. How are the Tshirts coming on ? At Brog, we tot up the costs so that the Adults pay a little extra for theirs and the kids get theirs free..
July starts and there are just 8 weeks to the big event. Iíll be back with an update then.
Anyone who wants to talk plans over, help with shirts etc, drop me a line. firstname.lastname@example.org