“Do you still Windsurf?”
Over the last 18 months I’ve been spending more and more time Stand Up Paddle boarding, to the point where I have now invested in new boards dedicated to racing and surfing. Since doing that I’m constantly being asked, “Do you still windsurf?”
Before I answer that I’d like to share with you how I came to be a SUPer.
I first tried SUP about three years ago and initially wasn’t impressed. I could see the potential for use in waves, but why anyone would want to paddle around on flat water baffled me; I just felt the need for speed that I got from windsurfing and that need wasn’t fulfilled by propelling a board with a paddle. I tried it a couple more times and still wasn’t overly impressed. Then in September 2010 I visited the Windfest festival and entered the sprint races just to see what it was all about.
This event changed my view of flat water paddling! I borrowed a Fanatic Fly Race and did quite well. In the first race I got 4th place which got me into the semi’s. I would have done even better if I could have turned the board around at the marker!
In the semi’s there were a few more pointy boards and a more competitive attitude. I got a good start and was fourth at the marker. Again, if I could have turned quicker, I may have found myself in the final. I ended up paddling like mad racing a guy head to head towards the beach. I just got ahead of him and ran up the sand and through the flags. That race gave me a taste of the competitive nature of SUP and I really enjoyed it!
In April 2011 I bought myself a second hand 11’2” all round paddleboard. I paddled it in waves and on flat water during luscious summer’s evenings. I took the kids for rides and tandem surfs on it, I windsurfed on it and even won a few WindSUP races at NWF on it.
That was my introduction to SUP and brings us bang up to date. I now enjoy the satisfaction of competing in a race and beating the other competitors to the finish line, and the extra strength and fitness that comes with the training required to do well.
I get excited when the surf is pumping and crave the speed and power of SUPing in waves, that’s as exhilarating as launching off a ramp in 30 knt winds on a windsurf board.
So…..back to the original question “Do you still windsurf?”
Why wouldn’t I?!
I’ve spent 10 years honing my skills and I have only just scratched the surface, there’s loads more to learn. I’m now where I set out to be at the beginning of my windsurfing journey. I can sail in most conditions the UK can throw at us, I can gybe and tack a short board (well my gybing is more consistent than my tacking if I’m honest) I can jump well and am now trying to perfect the forward loop and the art of wave riding. I get excited on a windy forecast and feel the tingle of anticipation when laying in bed on a Friday night and listening to the wind whistling outside the bedroom window. I enjoy the power and speed gained by harnessing the power of the wind! Why would anyone want to give that up once they have felt it?!
No, I enjoy SUP and windsurfing. Both of them give me a thrill; the type of thrill may be different but a thrill is a thrill, what difference does it make how you get it?
When it’s windy, I windsurf, when it’s not, I SUP. Be it waves or flat water, rain or shine, you’ll find me out there on the water having a ball on the board most suited to the prevailing conditions.
See you on the water.