One other way student windsurfers reach out to the wider windsurf world is through the number that spend their university holidays instructing in more exotic location. Egypt, Greece, Spain and France are just a few examples. If you’ve ever been on a windsurf summer holiday and been taught by someone in their late teens early twenties there is every chance that at some point they’ve been involved with the SWA. Many students join university having never windsurfed at all and after a year or two are qualified instructors. That opens them up to the opportunity to spend the summer abroad windsurfing everyday and every evening chatting up the locals in their best attempt at the language. As well as having an awesome summer it means your windsurf level shoots up and you have the joy of starting Uni in September ridiculously tanned and blonde, and to everyone who’s experienced that, you know how good it is.
Parties, the student way
If there is one thing students know how to do better than windsurf, its party! I think for a lot of students there club socials are a highlight of Uni life. Definitely is for me and I’m for ever hearing stories and laughing at photos on Facebook from carnage nights out in Bristol or madness in Exeter and then of course there are the legendary Cardiff punch parties. But nothing can come close to the SWA event parties. Everyone has a story from an SWA night out. You can’t even say Aussie Kiss to a lot of people without a mischievous grin spreading across their face. I definitely don’t think anyone could stereotype SWA students as lazy if you just look at how much time and effort they have clearly put into their fancy dress outfits.
Pretty excited to see what 2012 has in store for student windsurfing. With the next wave event hosted by Cardiff, to be held at the beach with the best forecast from Porthcawl, all of the Gower and Pembrokeshire coastline. Then a similar thing two weeks later in Portsmouth. Following that there is Liverpool and the climax of the year at Nationals. DID SOMEONE SAY BOAT PARTY!
The question really is what next for student windsurfing? How can the SWA improve? Despite all the above windsurfing is still a fairly unknown sport. The SWA only reaches a minute percentage of the nearly 2 million students in the UK. If on a Monday I go into a lecture and someone asks me what I was up to over the weekend and I mention that I went to a windsurfing event they will probably look stunned and tell me they didn’t know such a thing existed. It’s very likely that they’ll probably have no idea that it is possible to have windsurfing competitions, and to be completely honest, although they will essentially know what windsurfing is, their image of it is probably ridiculous retro orange and blue cloth sails, boards that weigh as much as cars and bright pink wetsuits that they saw one time walking past a local lake. Amongst the extreme sports available at Uni I don’t think windsurfing has quite grabbed the cool factor that some others sports achieve and that we all know it should; skiing for example, maybe mountain biking and, dare I say it, kite surfing. But this is easy enough to change, just get out there and show the student world how awesome windsurfing is. Next time you do a club trip to the beach make sure you take a camera and then send those photos to your Uni newspaper along with a few words on what a sick day you had. They’ll lap it up and when people see those pics they might just want to come along to one of your club trips and experience it for themselves. And that shouldn’t be restricted to just students; just anyone going to the beach I would encourage to spread the word amongst your friends by filling you preferred social media profile with photos.
So what I would really like to see the SWA achieve is showing the rest of the student world what an amazing sport windsurfing is and giving it the recognition it deserves. Then I hope we can continue doing what we do so well. I hope we continue to see the level of windsurfing rise amongst students at the rate it has been and we see students showing off that level at both SWA events and national events, maybe even international events. Rest assure though as I am fully aware that the SWA parties will continue to rip the roof off wherever they go, this is one area I struggle to see how the student windsurf community could possibly improve! – Will Jones, SWA Media Guru