No-one is surprised when a strapping 6’6” bloke says that his hobby is windsurfing. But people do seem surprised when they turn to me, the wee wifey, and ask “And do you do it too?” “What – really?!”
Who says that we Ladies can’t Launch?! We are blessed with nothing less than a current female Olympic medallist in our sport – Bryony Shaw took bronze in Beijing – and there are many spectacular female champions across the non-Olympic disciplines; speedsters; wave riders; freestylers; and then there’s always Karin Jaggi, who is just Queen of Frikkin’ Everything – and has been For Ever!
There are also many unsung female heroes. I would not be windsurfing were it not for my Aunt, Anne. She is not only a huge inspiration to me – she is a windsurfing instructor who spends every weekend encouraging less privileged youngsters onto the water. Anne has been collecting her pension for a couple of years now, so age is clearly not an obstacle. Anne was taught to windsurf by a lady so crippled with arthritis that she needed to crawl on to her board. Not that she was about to let that limit her! Anne told me “I knew that if she could windsurf, I had no excuse!”
But you need muscles like Sly Stallone to windsurf, right? My Mum was a compact four-foot-eleven-and-three-quarters; Dad, a stately six foot two. Dad was not a believer when Mum told him that she had learned some judo. I still remember the look on his face as he lay on the lounge floor, a mere fraction of a second after he expressed a slight lack of faith in my miniscule Mum’s ability to perform a hip throw!
It just goes to show that size and strength isn’t everything – with the correct technique, even the smallest person can move mountains. Sure, windsurfing is a physical sport, but the secret is all about technique – and that involves getting the wind to do the work!
I know a few reformed windsurfing widows who have decided that if they can’t beat them, they may as well join them. THEN they go on to beat them… You have heard the term ‘Fast and light’ – there is something to be said for having a smaller physique for getting going early, especially in light winds!
“I’d love to give it a go…” If I had £1 for every time I’d heard that – especially from mums whose kids sail, or those windsurfing widows on the beach, I’d have nearly enough to buy a Prada bag – or possibly even scrape together a deposit for a ghd hairdryer. (My hairdresser has a sign in the window saying “No cash or ghd left on the premises overnight” How much can a hairdryer cost? And what on earth does a hairdryer that requires a mortgage do?!)
If you’d love to give windsurfing a go, why not just get out there and DO IT? I guarantee that it will be WAY more fun than a limited-edition hairdryer (unless the Indoor Windsurfing is now powered by ghd!)
FLOW (For Ladies of Watersports) will be at N.W.F and there will be taster sessions* and technique clinics throughout the weekend.
There really is no better time to try out windsurfing if you have always longed to. If you are already initiated, you can come along and tickle up your technique at the free guru clinics or maybe have a go at some racing in the N.W.F’s simple, non-intimidating ‘out-to-a-buoy-and-back’ format.
C’mon girls. Give N.W.F a go! (And boys – encourage your Ladies to Launch!) You don’t know what you’re missing. If you are not convinced, did you know that windsurfing can burn up to 900 calories an hour? That is the single most exciting thing that I have heard since I learnt that carrot cake provides one of your 5 a day. 900 calories gives you a LOT of leeway with a box of Thornton’s or whatever else is your guilty pleasure. And if you don’t burn off all that Thornton’s, no matter – it will help you to hold down a bigger sail.
And that is what is known in the business as a win : win situation!
*Places on taster sessions are limited and are available on a first come first served basis booked through Havant Borough Council
There is something for everyone at N.W.F; catering for all genders and ability levels. Online entry is now open – so don’t miss out and bag your limited edition rash vest -the must-have fashion item of the season!