Another spectacular weekend of conditions; both terrifically gusty and then for the clouds to deliver a calm brake with a patch of warmth and rest.
The world of SUP delivered a terrific competitive event at host site Bray Lake Watersports, Berks. Where the fittest and finest gathered to dine on a spectacle of stand up events for the hardy. On personal home turf we witnessed a further spectacle at the UKWA Worthing freestyle and slalom windsurfing event in what was reported as incredible conditions at 35-40 knots.
In my own bubble I chose to chase the lust of family water fun, observing myself with little judgement and living by my mantra of setting no challenge cup. Just the pure escapism and for the wave of thrill. Delivering yet another weekend that I just did not wish to end; smiles, laughter, meeting great mentors, friendships and new company within the water world.
By seeking my local Watersports centre I have accessed so many new experiences and skills, by sharing in the adventurists ethic of ‘have a go’. At the start of 2013 I had and would have never envisaged myself testing starters windsurf kit, wakeboard faceplants, kayak and SUP sea quests to Brighton pier and back on the odd unexpectant gnarly evening.
This is all credit to great ambassadors within the water world whom ooze enthusiasm and the three magical words of ‘have a go’. Yet more embracing is that this world has utterly consumed and captivated my three young boys, whom now rush home and think nothing more of haphazardly squeezing into a wetsuit and getting back out there and setting their own personal goals and challenges surrounded solely by water. Their hours are now filled with trailing the Internet on how tos around their favoured water lust and ever growing kit wish list. This all descending from those magical words of ‘have a go’.
NWF is a ‘have a go’ packed and rammed arena; in every discipline you will find these great ambassadors at the waters edge, in the trade tents or just in personal company shoulder to shoulder. People share their skills, their love and put that smile on your face. It’s non competitive, it’s about helping others to enjoy, to fill their spare time with that adrenalin I and my boys are striving for in every spare daylight hour we own, come gnarly, sunshine or rain. We have and continue to grow water wings, a blessing to those three words and karma of ‘have a go’ … Pass this Chinese whisper on or smash out a new discipline yourself, it’s all for the taking at NWF 2013. Observe no judgement on yourself other than; are you having a go at a new discipline that presents itself at this years NWF? Kitesurf, windsurf, SUP or kayak?
Sometimes you need to dip your toe in the water with the right people and the right environment and all your fears melt away. Alice Stratford a first timer to NWF in 2012 shares her personal experience. Demonstrating with zeal just how NWF promoted her courage to have a go at SUP, a water sport she had never tested before.
I entered the world of windsurfing nearly a year ago as a 36 year old female who’d only ever dabbled in water sports on a very basic level in the past.
Through a very good friend of mine I had a go at windsurfing, he has been doing it for years & regularly emphasised how much fun it was & how he had meet so many fantastic people though it. All I can say is that he wasn’t wrong at all & I very quickly got hooked!!!
I hadn’t been learning very long (only a couple of months) before I went to last years NWF. I was completely blown away by the event, it was truly awesome from the minute I arrived.
Although there wasn’t much wind, I was able to get out on the water, having some fantastic tuition from the legends Peter Hart & Ant Baker.
It was an invaluable few hours on the water, I learnt so much from these guys who’s passion for the sport shines through in their willingness to help others no matter what gender or level of ability.
I was also introduced to Stand Up Paddle boarding that weekend, something that I took to quite well & again loved from the minute I got going!! I even participated in a race!!!! Despite the dominance of male participants, the encouragement we got was overwhelming & it was so much fun.
One thing I have noticed since taking up these fantastic sports is the lack of female participants, sadly a very obvious fact & one I don’t fully understand. I live in Lincolnshire & quickly became aware of the lack of females windsurfing, & although the guys have always been more than supportive, some female company out there on the water would always be nice.
It was also very apparent when I did some of the competitions at the NWF, there was only a handful of women, although we did give them guys a run for there money!!! Its not about the winning, its about getting out there on the water, whether it takes us 5 minutes or 50 minutes, does it really matter if were having fun?
The NWF is such a fantastic event for all levels of ability, ages & gender. It is time us girlie’s got out there & played!!!! Whether you want to indulge in some easy, fun water time (and I promise you it really isn’t as hard as it looks!!!) or improve & have a go at a competition or two, it really doesn’t matter, time on the water is all about having a giggle, achieving even the smallest thing out there is so rewarding & the like minded people you meet will change your world, it has mine!! .. Alice Stratford