The 2013 windsurfing season is set to yet again provide some exciting, well fought competition across many of the classes. From waves to freestyle, speed to slalom, and course racing too many of the UK’s top competitors will be fighting it out for top honours.
Alongside previous champions more fresh faces will be challenging for titles, Sam Latham is one of the top up and coming racers who’s also proving himself in the waves. Boards catches up with Sam as 2012 draws to a close and he looks forward to racing in 2013.
Name: Sam Latham
From: Reigate, Surrey
Years Windsurfing: 11
Favourite Discipline: Slalom of course! But if there were regular waves on South coast, it could change…
Local Spot: The one and only Shorekipa Beach Park!
Occupation: 3rd Year design student at Bournemouth.
Self-employed chicken coop workshop manager! (don’t hear that every day!) http://www.oakdene-coops.co.uk
How did you get into windsurfing?
A family friend sailed small boats on a local lake near my home and asked me to join him on a beginner windsurfing course. I got off to a bad start and joined him sailing for a year. One weekend out on the lake I saw someone planing along whilst windsurfing and decided I had to give it another go. I haven’t stopped since that day; that person I saw is now one of my best friends and I sail with him regularly.
What do your friends think of windsurfing?
At school growing up I was definitely the weird one for not playing football, but windsurfing was like a second life for me. I think as we all grew up my friends realised how important windsurfing is to me, it’s always good to have a hobby you’re really motivated with. They know I make the most of socialising when I can so it’s not like I’m never around!
How long have you been competing and how did you get into racing?
I got myself into the RYA pathway and competing internationally at a very young age; after Team 15 I went onto the new junior Techno (at the time) claiming 3rd in under 17 category in Europe. Then I moved onto the youth RS:X class, claiming 3rd at the French Nationals.
When and why did you progress across to slalom?
Whilst being part of Team GBR I got myself a basic slalom board and started competing along side, then I realised how I enjoyed slalom much more than course racing. Seeing Dan Ellis fly round the course at White Air was a real decision maker for me. Slalom racing is just so much more intense due to the high speeds and narrow course. There’s nothing like flying down the first reach with 100kg men fully stacked, some catapulting and then having to dive into that first mark.
Do you just race? Or do you take part in other disciplines too? Any other sports?
I wave sail regularly, Shoreham can have some amazing days; sailing with Nik and Ant (Baker) has really improved my confidence going for tricks. I usually make trips to Kimmeridge with my old coach Oli Woodcock when at Uni. I do want to go to a wave event now I have more confidence but it’s just money holding me back at the moment, being a poor student and all.
I have got into surfing a lot more at uni as well, went to a student event in Newquay, Cornwall with the Bournemouth University Surf club but wasn’t at all competitive. Party after was good though!
Whats is your most memorable moment in windsurfing so far?
Landing my first back loop at Sea Lane Cafe in Worthing last year was very un-expected, but can’t really say have landed any since.
Scoring my first proper down the line session at the Bluff about five years ago has to also be up there. At the moment I won’t be truly happy until I’m on the podium for overall men’s slalom in the UK.
What are your aims for the future on and off water?
Off the water, I want to grow this chicken coop business to make enough money to live a good windsurfing lifestyle and hopefully design a product that funds this too!
On the water I really want to get to my first PWA event under my belt, just to live the experience rather than watching it on the computer. But may spend this money on having a proper holiday training for a month or so, maybe go out to Ocean Source and meet old UKWA legend Dan Simpson!