The British folk are well known to strike up a conversation about the weather at just about any opportunity, so here is Will Rogers’ take on it and why we windsurfers are the most fortunate people in the country…
Picture the scene, Thursday night summer time…the 10 o’clock news has just finished and a well dressed weather presenter appears on screen in front of a huge great UK map full of tightly packed swirling isobars, he starts his meteorological download for the forthcoming weekend with on annoyingly positive slant before dropping the reality to his audience –
“Generally a wet and extremely blustery weekend for the most of us…. Unusual for the UK at this time of year, looks like it’s a weekend of board games or decorating the bedroom….” – These are the words of the weatherman.
Across the country there are groans and moans as the population discusses emigrating to Australia for a ‘decent’ summer of shine-shine, depressed that yet another weekend is going to be rubbish for BBQ’s, sunbathing and football in the park. In the office the next day there is a deflated atmosphere, colleagues grumbled about the terrible weather and sound quintessentially British.
Windsurfers on the other hand are gripped to the weather sites, seeing how the brewing storm is unfolding, deciding on which beach you will take on the elements…. Instead of writing next months financial targets you’re refreshing windguru every 5 minutes and studying tricktionary, smugly looking forward to the crappy weekend weather.
One of my favorite things about being a windsurfer in the UK is that when the weather is forecast to be ‘rubbish’, we have a good reason to be bouncing off the walls with excitement as it means we get the windsurfing fix. In fact when the weather is ‘nice’, many windsurfers will actually be praying for it to be windy again. When the majority of the population just wants to get inside and wrap up with a nice cup of tea, the windsurfing population will be fully mobilized, out in the elements, enjoying the driving rain and wind. What’s more, the beaches are empty, the best spots in the car park are available and you are about to go and have an incredible adrenaline rush out in the elements! It’s the polar opposite to a good swell hitting Cornwall on a beautifully sunny summers day where an empty wave is as likely as me living on Jupiter this weekend. When the good old British weather hits, everyone disappears and lets us have these beautiful places to ourselves. A wash out weekend for 99% of people turns into an action packed one for the average windsurfer – few other sports offer the same unique advantage
Unfortunately on the flip side, this great feature of windsurfing could be argued to be one of its downfalls. You could say that the fact that all this windsurfing happens when non windsurfers are tucked away out of the elements is a bad thing. It makes the sport invisible to people who are not involved in it and consequently when you meet someone new at a party and they ask you what you do and say ‘windsurf’ they immediately picture you moving at half a knot on a huge board, retro sail on a mill pond at center parcs! It’s an image that doesn’t put windsurfing into that ‘cool’ sport category straight away….BUT, one of the sports greatest heros Robby Naish once quoted some wise words:
“Windsurfing’s cool because it’s uncool and if it became ‘cool’ it would be uncool”
Robby is spot on, yes our sport is pretty uncool we run around happy in the wet and the cold, and learning can be a bit of a pain, it’s got a real ‘underground’ following but that’s what makes it so great. If it was as easy as jumping on a mountain bike and rolling down a hill, it certainly wouldn’t have the same appeal or the same incredible passionate following and diversity that makes it ‘cool’.
Freeride, freestyle, waves, speed, slalom or racing provide a huge variety of discipline to choose from; the calm and relaxing side that
brings newcomers into the sport to the extreme triple loops flavor that is at the top level of any extreme sport. It has got something for everyone. Even more amazing is that the UK can be perfect for all these disciplines, world class freestyle, waves, speed and slalom spots as well as perfect weather conditions for a newcomers first steps into the sport. We’ve got it all on our door step and best of all we have the unique selling point that it makes a rainy day a fun filled day….
Back in the office this week after Easter, most people were grumbling about how the wet and windy weather had ruined it, all I could do was look down at my hands to see 3 great big blood blisters and feel my aching body following 5 hours of intense freestyle. I’d had the best Bank holiday Monday EVER! Rubbish weather never ruins a windsurfers weekend. Let’s hope for a wet and windy summer!