“Portland Harbour is one of the best spots in Europe for windsurfing, but because of its association with Olympic racing the perception is it’s an elitist venue, when nothing could be further from the truth,” Tris continues. “It’s an amazing spot to teach and learn because it’s so flat. The kids can get out even in breezy conditions and love it.”
Newcomers to OnBoard do their RYA Start Windsurfing or Stage 1 or 2 as part of the RYA Youth Scheme depending on their age, while the OTC runs an OnBoard club three evenings a week through the main season plus a Saturday morning session.The centre has also evolved the OnBoard model by introducing their ‘South Coast Crew’, providing kids with escorted off-site opportunities to explore local windsurfing hot spots including Ringstead Bay, Kimmeridge Bay and Overcombe.
Tris believes youngsters can achieve a sense of achievement feel very quickly from windsurfing which gets them hooked, and by the end of their first session they should have gained confidence in balance, wind awareness and how the mechanisms of a board works.
It is the aim to have every youngster sailing in a straight line by the end of that lesson, even if it’s a five-year-old primary school pupil on a 1.5 sail.
Tris says typically once youngsters have got the skills-set to have gained their Start or Stage 2 certificates, then most of their up skilling comes through the OnBoard clubs and the personal challenge of getting out in higher winds and giving it a go.