But, maybe the real reason my windsurfing has just not been progressing the way I would hope, is that I have just not been pushing myself enough. If, every time I went out I sailed like I had done in those eight minute heats at nationals I am sure I would quickly start to see myself progress again.
I do quite a bit of running. I always try to find some sort of event to sign up for to give me a goal to train for over the coming months; 10km’s, half marathons or last year I did my first marathon in Snowdonia. I find it really hard to motivate myself to get out and train without an impending race. I’m signed up already to the Cardiff Half Marathon in October, to give me the motivation I need to get out and run over the summer.
So, perhaps this same principle can be applied to windsurfing. Pick a competition coming up and get on the water and train for it. There are plenty coming up with the SWA at Beach Break, the National Windsurf Festival and Windfest just around the corner. Not long after that Aussie Kiss will be on us followed by BWA Gwithian for the wave sailors.
From now on I’m going to follow a new philosophy on windsurfing. Every time I go on the water I’m going to sail like I’m in an eight minute heat and in the future I’m going to enter as many competitions as I can make it to. Perhaps that will help take my windsurfing out of the rut I’m stuck in and on to the next level.
I think a lot of people are slightly nervous to go out and push themselves all the time. If you’re out sailing with just a few of you and there’s not much around in terms of safety I suppose I can understand this. Then there is the risk of injury, which is something always on my mind. But realistically windsurfing is a fairly forgiving sport. Bruises and scrapes are common and maybe the occasional sprained ankle but in my experience more serious injuries are quite rare. The water is quite a forgiving medium. If it’s injury you are scared of and you want to progress, it is something you are probably going to have to get over.
I’m not saying you should go out and start trying stupid things, I mean push yourself and get some good sliding moves under your belt before you start going for konos. You can push yourself in a sensible way and keep the risk of injury to a minimum. But at the same time, perhaps when your next tucking into a hearty breakfast about to head to the beach you should look to the back of your fridge to see if there is a can of ‘man up’ lurking there to wash it down with. To quote Travis Rice ‘You’re gonna take beatings. You go down, you get up. That simple!’
I also think a lot of people are scared of competitions, even if they’re perfectly capable of entering and putting in a good performance. This is something I’ve noticed particularly at SWA events. What are people scared of? Well, it’s probably down to not wanting to embarrass themselves.
No one wants to look stupid in front of their friends. No one wants to have people laughing at them. But if we are honest, this is probably down to vanity. What is there really to be embarrassed about and who is going to laugh at you?
Definitely not the other competitors, who will be feeling the same pressure and if you’re worried about the people sat on the beach, who are too scared and embarrassed to enter themselves laughing at you, I think you need to have a good hard look at yourself in the mirror.
There is nothing to be scared of or embarrassed about. If you want to enter a competition be it to show off your windsurfing or to challenge yourself you should go ahead and do it.
All that said. I guess we must be going in the right direction. The numbers at SWA events continue to grow, as does the number of competitors.
However, if you think there is a way that we could encourage more of those who are already turning up to events to compete I would love to hear your views.
Similarly I think UK events are growing. National Windsurf Festival and Windfest get bigger every year and I think UKWA and BWA are growing in numbers. I am sure we can expect to see a lot of students at all those events this year. Particularly, I know the BWA event at Gwithian this year will be extremely well attended by students.
In all the events I’ve competed at in the past, SWA and UK, I’ve always had a great time no matter what the end result. You are challenged to windsurf at your best and you get to meet some cool people doing it.
It’s no mystery that the windsurf industry is struggling slightly. Just in the same way every other industry is struggling considering the current economic climate. The industry needs your support.
So, if you’re interested in taking part in your first competition or if you are one of those people who has considered entering a competition before but have been too nervous or self-conscious, now is the time to get over your fears and put your name down for your first event. With your support we can boost windsurfing back to the dizzying height it was at in the glory days of the late 80’s. Furthermore; you’ll probably regret it a lot more if you don’t enter, than if you do.
By Will Jones