Fuerte Groms: Competition Week

When we heard that two young rising stars from the UK were shacked up with fellow UK windsurfer Adam Sims out in Fuerteventura, we had to hear from them about their plans and progress in the run up to their first ever PWA competition. So in this feature we will follow ‘reality TV show style’ these youngsters and their fellow crew in the lead up to PWA Fuerteventura and throughout.

Each day we will get some diary style updates from these up and coming professionals and during the competition we hope to have them on the Live Stream as and when we can. That’s right we did some digging today and heard that the Live Stream is confirmed for PWA Fuerteventura so you will be able to follow all the action over on our sister site

Here is a short Bio of the two below and read on to follow all the action.

Name: Nic Hibdige

Date of birth: 22/09/1995

Homespot: Mudeford Harbour

Favourite UK spot: West Witterings Trench or West Kirby

Favourite international spot: Lac Bay, Bonaire

Sponsors: Simmer, Mystic, Starboard, Choco Fins

Nic in action:

Name: Oscar Carmichael

Date of birth: 16/12/1995

Homespot: Portland Harbour, Weymouth

Favourite UK spot: West Witterings Trench or West Kirby

Favourite international spot: Dahab

Sponsors: Fanatic, North, K66, ION, YOLO

Oscar in action:

DAY 1: So Far

I’m having a sick time here on fuerteventura! I have never travelled to somewhere to windsurf apart from Bonaire so it’s pretty cool to sail a new location. I’m staying with team ‘Britland’ – Oscar Carmichael, Alex Mitchell, Adam Sims and his girlfriend Hanna Banana! We all seem to be getting on pretty well so everything is chilled and we often have Marco Lufen (German rider) visiting us most of the time as he knew Alex well from the JP/Neilpryde Young Guns camp a few years ago!

We have been windsurfing a few spots but mostly centre one at the moment preparing for the world cup. The conditions are pretty hard, choppy and gusty and super strong wind but it is still sick to be sailing with everyone from around the world and the level is just insanely high.

I have been sailing as much as my body lets me each day! Usually a morning session, then chill for a bit, then back on the water for an afternoon/evening session. I have mainly been trying to get my moves as consistent as possible in the competition area so I don’t crash too much in my heats and I have also been timing some heats.

Today we hit the water for a session at centre one to tie in with the tide times that will occur during the event. It was pretty frustrating at first but I really enjoyed it, conditions were of course challenging but I was on 4.4 full power in the gusts so it was pretty sick to launch into huge shakas and fine tune my konos and even a few burners.

The whole journey kicked off for us even before the real journey began. We literally arrived at the airport with one hour to go before the plane was about to take off and rushed to the departue lounge. Just getting to the airport is a long enough story in its own. However, in short, two weeks before we left our van broke down so we had to arrange another car, in the meantime when I was packing I discovered some damage to my board and needed to arrange something QUICK. A short phone call with Nik Baker and a new Fanatic Skate was awaiting for me, so long as I could meet him at a certain time at a certain service station. Easy.

So we left Weymouth in our ‘new’ car and about half an hour later the gearbox packed in… Some phone calls later, a three hour overnight sleep in a service station and a taxi ride later I eventually made it to Stanstead Airport with the new Skate. Meanwhile Alex Mitchell, part of our clan, got rear ended on his way up and also turned up around the same time as me. We hooked up with Nic, who had had a pleasant nights sleep at the airport hotel and ran to departures.

Finally on the plane we relaxed, and this is how the first two weeks have been since; relaxed, a lot of fun and plenty of windsurfing. We were just saying how we have packed so much in to the last two weeks it feels like a month. Having been here before it is nice to head back to the different spots, each year the sands move a bit so the lagoon is different, centre 2 has changed slightly and centre one also. That said the wind has been pretty different this year, the first week was on full power then we had some kind of Calima but still got over 40 knots each day, check out the video below from the Calima sessions, some decent kono and kabikuchi practice. Then the last few days have had this mysterious lunchtime lull but always loads of wind in the afternoon/evening.

It’s really nice to stay with the same people again; Alex Mitchell, Adam Sims, Hanna Poschinger and the new addition to the crew, Nic Hibdige. The apartment suits us well, a big terrace for all the gear and pretty open plan. We share a car between three, which just about works with all the kit and we mix up the cooking with eating out, so it is all pretty good fun.

The first week we were here we got pretty carried away, sailing at the most perfect spots just to train moves and build up the confidence again, then this last week we have been spending almost all our time in the competition area at centre one. Getting some experienced words from Adam has helped us train our heats a bit better, making sure we land moves rather than crash our hardest moves and at the same time we are windsurfing with some of the worlds finest stylers. It’s pretty awesome and the level of the guys has gone through the roof.

To begin this diary/feature on a proper note we spent most of today at centre one, the wind was strong and built all afternoon. I sailed with my 4.7 and was pretty stoked with some of my bigger moves although it is hard to get over how frustrating it is to have to sail and compete in this area when just 300m downwind there is one of the best freestyle spots in the world.

Until tomorrow then…


DAY 2: Full Power Fuerte


Nic fires round a burner in front of Van Broeckhoven, Soltysiak and Aukes

Today was pretty crazy, the forecast was stupid so we decided to sail Matas Blancas. The conditions were super flat but gusty. I was super over powered on 4.4 and I kind of wished that I had taken my 3.9. To be honest it wasnt the best session for me. i have been having problems with my foot and this session made it worse, I landed a burner really upright which caused it to hurt quite a bit more. Anyway it wasn’t the most productive session, more frustrating, I spent most of the time crashing and in the water but was still fun to sail some flat water with friends.

At the end of the session we went home and took the afternoon off because we were all so tired, then in the evening went out to the pizza place. Again! I think I’m eating a little too much pizza here..

With the world cup just 3 days away I’m starting to get a little apprehensive as I have no idea what to expect and performing in front of a large crowd on the beach and the live stream against some of the worlds best will be quite daunting. I will try to block it out and just go for the moves I know I can do.


Oscar tuning his style ready for the competition

Today was the strongest forecast we had seen during the first two weeks we have been here. The wind kicked in early at 10 or so and we were on the water by 11 already. Having checked out Centre 1, we decided to go to the ‘out of town’ spot called Matas Blancas where it is glassy flat and a bit like a speed strip. Normally this is a place to go when it is just too windy everywhere else but even here it was 50 knots or more…

With the plan to take a ‘rest day’ today we decided to just do a two hour session and not hit the water later in the afternoon. So sailing at Matas Blancas was nice to begin with, but it is a place that can get real busy real quick and before we knew it we were joined by half the PWA tour, it was cool to see the level as the likes of Jacopo Testa and Adi Beholz fired around huge air skopus and and air kabikuchis off flat water! I felt pretty inspired and tried a few of my own but the gusts, the super strong wind, the people, everything started to get frustrating. I was happy with my sailing but the rest day was needed, I can already feel my motivation rising for tomorrow. The forecast is a little less but this is Fuerte so we can expect another 40 knot day most likely. Thanks to the Adam for taking photos and videos, gutted he can’t join us on the water yet but he gets better each day and is walking a little more already.

Also in our crew, Nic was landing some nice burners and Alex Mitchell had some pretty hardcore attempts but getting real close. It is cool to see. Later we heard that Hanna (Adam’s girlfriend) got round her first spock of the trip and there is some photo evidence of it too somewhere. Talking of girls, we have been windsurfing with Oda Johanne and Arianne Aukes a lot, the two of them are ripping, Oda is super close to skopus whilst Arianne sails with a lot of speed now and looks real confident in all her moves. It will be interesting to see how the girls podium will look this year…


Day 3: Everyone in town


Had a pretty good day today. It was super windy again and I started on 3.9 but then changed to 4.4 for and afternoon session. At first I was not having a good sail at all, crashing pretty much every duck and every move. I got a bit frustrated so gave up for a bit and went in to chill. I then rigged my 4.4 with  (Norwegian windsurfing chick) Oda Johanne and we went sailing again. The wind had picked up but was a bit less gusty. Oda and Oscar were sending it so I became even more motivated and within a few runs I came into the beach pretty stoked as I managed to land my first few skopus!! I was also working on my burners even more and these are getting a lot more consistent but I’m still struggling to get my air funnels fully dialled, something for tomorrow then.

After sailing Oscar and I spent about an hour watching Balz Muller absolutely send it! This guys is crazy, waiting on the beach for a set to come through then sprint starting and launching off the section of the waves sending the most tweaked pushloops I have ever seen! He was also smashing out huge lazy susans and got really close to double burners! We are now just chilling at the apartment eating and watching clips from today and other stupid videos to take our mind away from windsurfing a bit.


Today was crazy. Again! I was sailing full power all day on my 4.2! We sailed at centre one to get used to the conditions as best as possible. I had a sick session and am getting used to the chop now and had some of my best kono’s on the way out. After sailing hard all day Nic and I sat on the beach to watch Max, Bubble, Gollito and Balz, the latter of which was for sure the most entertaining guy on the water. He was doing the most tweaked pushloops I have ever seen! He somehow tweaks the board to an unbelievable angle then flips back for a perfect landing, all in about 2 feet of water… He is crazy!!! Tomorrow I am looking forward to sailing with the other UK guys who managed to sail briefly yesterday evening and were looking good.


Day 4: Moving In


Today we moved all our kit into the competitors tent, It was so cool to be surrounded by all the windsurfers I had idolised growing up and crazy knowing that I would be going toe to toe with them in just two days! The wind has decided to sort itself out recently and with the tide also playing ball the competition is sure to be an impressive display of crazy power moves.

I went out for an evening session on my 4.7 as my 4.2 was being repaired, BIG mistake, I’ve never been so overpowered in my life everyone else was fully stacked 4.0’s but I still had fun sending the biggest shakas of my life off the waves and continuing to train my konos and kabikuchis.


Day 5: Getting Serious


Had a pretty chilled out day today. Last night everyone went down to Fuerte Action Bar for a ‘few’ beers. We ended up coming home quite late but tried to avoid drinking too much so I could sail full power today. In the end we had a small (3 hour) session. On the outside I was sailing a lot better and landing some good moves even whacking out the cheese rolls…

Still on the inside I am really struggling to stick my moves because it is so choppy and gusty. I think tomorrow I will train harder on the inside to be ready for competition, which kicks off on Sunday. The top sailors are definitely standing out on the water even though the level is so high from everyone else; Steven, Kiri, Gollito, etc are all sending it! We are now off to Marco Lufens place to relax a bit with some German pancakes he says he is making for us! Full power tomorrow after registration!! Can’t wait!


Day 6: Registration Day


Today was registration day, it was sick, we had to get on stage in front of loads of people and speak, I was really nervous though. I also got my new North Idol sails which I wasn’t sure I was going to use during the competition but I went out on the 4.4 today and it was incredible, I’ve never gone higher on my moves! We also found out who we are drawn against, for the first elimination, I’m against Curacao ripper Rafa De Windt, it will be a tough heat but I’m really excited. I’ve just got to relax and not let the pressure get to me. Tonight we had a bit of a pasta/pizza party at the apartment and now time for an early night in preparation for the big day…


Went down to the beach for 1pm registration today and there was a pretty sick atmosphere with loads of spectators! Pretty stoked to be at my first PWA event when I first started windsurfing it was my dream so would be sick to win a heat or two. I was going to go for a short session today but I wasn’t happy with my sailing and I wouldn’t come in untill I was, so I ended up staying out a little longer than planned – it took 3 hours. I guess I’m not used to all the people watching and taking pictures it made me feel like I had to try to harder than normal, which made me crash alot.

Right now I’m feeling pretty nervous for competition tomorrow, I got drawn against Testa in the single. This guy is absolutely shredding at the moment so not feeling too confident. But hopefully I can still stick some good moves and hope for a good draw in the double. Attempting to get an early night isn’t really working, can’t sleep because of the apprehension! 10am skippers tomorrow…


Day 7: Competition Begins


Had to get up super early today to get to skippers meeting for 10am. Ended up being woken up at 9:40 by Adam, so we were in a bit of a rush but got down to the beach just in time. The first heat was postponed for about 30 minutes and then we went into transition. I was sailing in heat two against Jacopo Testa. I had an okay heat, landed all the moves I attempted but still needed one more move on the inside. As I was underpowered I couldn’t send the regular kono I wanted to. I got a shaka flaka and loop on the way out then funnel and eslider on the way in, not the best heat in terms of power moves but the wind was very light and gusty so wasn’t ideal. Still had a pretty sick day at the world cup watching all the other heats, especially the winners and losers final. Up early again tomorrow for skippers meeting at 10am lets see how the double goes!


Today I was probably the most nervous I have ever been about a heat, but still it was such a fun day. Before the heats started Adam was giving me advice on how to sail the heat, keeping it simple, filling up your score sheet, etc but as soon as that green flag goes up and you hear the horn in your ear all you can think is go big, try your hardest move hahhaa. It’s really hard to ignore your instincts. In the end, in my heat, the judges had me and Rafa on joint points so they judged on crashes and Rafa won so it’s all to play for in the double tomorrow. Actually I’ve never heard of this rule before but it was the closest heat of the day in terms of points and made it to the official PWA press report.


Day 8: The DOuble Elimination


Didnt sail any heats today but went practising. I was sailing much better on the inside and was happy how it was going, until I broke my board. A regular duck went really wrong and hit the already broken bit so it is now a massive hole and a 20cm crack which is not good! Pretty messed up so lets hope it holds out for the rest of the competition. After the comp I’m going to get it repaired properly and take a few days off.


After going out in my first heat I was fully motivated to smash the double but my first opponent was Edvan de Souza, this was fully intimidating as I’d seen him ripping at his local spot of Jeri, Brazil this winter. I started the heat full power with Kono’s, Buners and ponches and managed to take it!! I was SO excited to win my first PWA heat. Next up was Dutch ripper Nick van Ingen I sailed a similar heat and managed to pass him as well which left me in 17th place. Next I had to go up against Canadian Phil Soltysiak this should have been a fun heat but unfortunately I slipped out the straps on a Ponch straddled my board in the air then dropped 4ft onto the rail of my board to a very “sensitive area” and had to abandon the heat. I ended the day pissing blood but so happy to finish 17th place and PWA sailor of the day.

Oscar Carmichael, sailor of the day!
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