After a week of “disappointingly gorgeous” weather, the top windsurfers competing in the Skykon Tiree Wave Classic 2010 finally saw some action on the water on Friday when the long-awaited wind and waves materialised.
Number one seed, Ben Proffitt, secured first place in challenging, technical conditions at Balephuil Bay on the south westerly tip of the isolated Hebridean island. With a win under his belt from the round at Brandon Bay, Ireland in May, Proffitt’s latest victory places him in a commanding position to become the British Wavesailing Association’s 2010 Champion later this month. “It feels great to have finally got out on the water after a week of waiting and to have secured first place in the Skykon Tiree Wave Classic 2010. It puts me in a strong position going into the final event of the season,” Proffitt said.
Freestyler Andy ‘Bubble’ Chambers, who finished in an unexpected second place ahead of John Skye, said he was “very happy” with his result. He also won the Expression Session with a ‘goiter’, an inverted 360 off the lip of the wave. “I’m a freestyler rather than a wave sailor so I’m definitely happy with my result today,” he said, noting that it had proved tough to pick the right wave in the conditions. “But after a week of waiting for the surf to arrive we were all itching to get out,” he added.
John Skye, who took the third podium spot, said he was also relieved to have finally got the conditions to compete on the final day of the Skykon Tiree Wave Classic 2010. “I prefer bigger waves but Ben and Bubble were really ripping today, and they both deserve their results,” Skye said.
The moderate to fresh north westerly breeze produced “small and clean” conditions, according to Head Judge Duncan Coombs. “It was pretty challenging for the guys out there today but everyone was relieved to get out after waiting for the best part of a week,” he said. “The conditions were average but it was enough to show the true winner,” he added
In the amateur category, Scotland’s Scotty McDowell finished in first position ahead of Adam Sims and Jim Brooks-Dowsett. Russ Jenkins took first in the masters category, followed by Craig Hamilton in second and Mark Lloyd in third.
Last Saturday, on the first day of the Tiree Wave Classic 2010, newcomer Debbie Kennedy from Hayle in Cornwall took the women’s title for the event, with fellow Cornish entrant Jodie Ward finishing in second place. Helen Bainbridge finished in third in a light onshore breeze.
The isolated Hebridean island has experienced an unseasonal stint of balmy weather during this year’s Skykon Tiree Wave Classic and the wave sailors had to wait it out until the last day of the contest for the chance to compete. Much of the week has been occupied with beach volleyball, five-a-side football and rounders in the blazing sun organised by volunteers from Telford College in Edinburgh in the absence of the all-important wind and waves.
With the final event of the season coming up in Cornwall from 28 to 31 October, British Wavesailing Association Chairman, Nigel Treacy, said: “Several big names took the decision to not attend the Skykon Tiree Wave Classic this year due to the forecast. It takes a brave sailor to gamble on a windless seven days on the UK’s windiest isle and those that made the trip were rewarded for their efforts. The result has shaken up the BWA Championship table considerably leaving the field very open, especially for the top five places. As a result, we could see some new names on 2010 Championship trophies.”
Glasgow-based band, The Fortunate Sons, played for the competitors and locals at the Skykon Tiree Wave Classic 2010 prize giving ceremony on Friday night at the packed An’ Talla community hall. On Monday, up and coming singer Carrie Mac flew in to perform an intimate acoustic set for the frustrated windsurfers at the Tiree Lodge Hotel.
Skykon Wave Classic 2010 results
1. Ben Proffitt (Simmer)
2. Andy ‘Bubble’ Chambers (Neil Pryde, JP)
3. John Skye (RRD)
1. Scotty McDowell
2. Adam Sims
3. Jim Brooks-Dowsett
1. Russ Jenkins
2. Craig Hamilton
3. Mark Lloyd
1. Debbie Kennedy
2. Jodie Ward
3. Helen Bainbridge
Photo: John Carter