Lizzie Smith hasn’t even been windsurfing for three years and she is already landing more freestyle moves than most of us will manage in thirty. Changing her life, upping sticks and moving to Dahab and now looking to compete, Lizzie’s windsurf journey has been a busy one so far, with a lot more to come!
Name: Lizzie Smith
From: Bexleyheath, Kent
Years Windsurfing: almost 3 years
Favourite Discipline: Freestyle, but also love waves when I’m not in Dahab.
Local Spot: Dahab (having never sailed in the UK… yet!)
Occupation: Windsurf Instructor at Club Dahab
Sponsors: Club Vass… currently in the market for others? 😉
How did you get into windsurfing?
My Dad has always windsurfed and although his attempts in the rain in Ireland when I was 10 didn’t get me hooked, he took me somewhere slightly more tropical years later and I fell in love with the sport and the lifestyle that the instructors had!
So a short 8 years later I made my decision to pack in Mortgage Advising and give it a shot; I did my Start Instructor course with Flying Fish in Vassiliki where I refreshed my windsurfing memory and learnt alot in 4 weeks.
After my instructor course I decided to spend winter in Dahab to try to improve my skills (learn to waterstart and plane without ending up with a giant cataplut somewhere downwind!) After 3 months in Dahab and a very lucky break I got the dream job with Club Vass in Dahab, working along side some awesome instructors in perfect conditions. It took some perserverance but I feel very lucky that I have had the opportunities and support to make improving over the last 2 and half years easier, from planing in control to learning all the ridiculous names of the freestyle moves (and believing they were all unattainable), to landing them!
What do your friends think of windsurfing? They all see photos and say ‘that’s cool’, and are excited for me when I tell them about it, but honestly I don’t think most of my life long friends really know what it is!
What is your experience of competitions so far? And your future aims for competition?
So far I am yet to compete; working in Dahab means I am not in the UK or Europe during the summer and I also I hadn’t felt my level was good enough until this summer. I am leaving Dahab for a holiday at the end of August and hoping to compete at NWF, the PWA event in Brouwersdam in Holland, the Cornwall Wave Classic and then the last freestyle event in the UK at Weymouth.
Have you always been into freestyle, if not when did you move across into this niche?
As I learnt most of my windsurfing in Dahab, freestyle was what I was exposed to from the offset, I learnt to vulcan at the same time as I learnt to carve gybe on the other tack and then just carried on from there! Since then I have also got into to wave sailing on trips to Australia and Cape Town and am really looking forward to experiencing some of the UK and European spots this Autumn.
What is your most memorable moment in windsurfing?
Such a hard question to answer as there are so many; I guess first vulcan is up there, it was a war of attrition; I went through alot of crashes in 30+ knots, that some people couldn’t bare to watch, and people telling me I wasn’t ready, so I will never forget when I finally made it!
What’s next in store for you on and off the water? On the water; more of the same – still trying to improve, working on some power moves and competing this year. I am just in the process of organising a Club Vass Diva week out here in Dahab in Novmber this year and March next year, exact dates to be announced shortly. Off the water; enjoying the parties!