A new series that will kick off our pro-active approach to highlight what is one of the largest windsurfing organisations in the world. The Student Windsurfing Association. With a no holds barred on the content they provide, we are hoping we get to see a real in depth look into the student community, with all the gossip from events and some banter thrown in, let’s see what they can come up with. Over to our SWA Media Rep, Will Jones…
Who Is Will Jones
Age : 22
Occupation: Student, studying Mechanical Engineering at Cardiff Uni and Head of Media for the SWA.
Number of years windsurfing: Had my first taste of windsurfing when I was on holiday with my family aged 7ish. Then maybe a week or two most summers until about 5 years ago when I got my own kit and started sailing as often as I can.
Favourite discipline: Wave.
Favourite spot: Newgale, West Wales.
Sailing ability: Got forwards pretty good trying lots of backloops and pushloops, water starting out of lots but sailing cleanly out of very few at the moment, would love to have them consistently.
Involvement with the SWA: I got involved with the SWA through the Cardiff Uni windsurf club. Went to my first SWA event which was Aussie Kiss 8 and been hooked on SWA events ever since. At the beginning of this year I got involved with the SWA committee helping organising events and handling the media side.
The SWA Monthly
What an awesome opportunity! Boards have only gone and given me my own monthly feature with the brief to write about anything I like, as long as it links vaguely into the world of student. So what am I going to write about? Well, I want to get under the skin of the student windsurf community and show the world just what we’re really about. I want to shout about all those undiscovered talents that deserve to be shouted about and send the student gossip global, after all rumours are meant to be spread. For my first entry let’s just get some perspective with a look back at the first half of the academic year and a look forward to what the remainder has instore.
There is no doubt that first half of the SWA 2011/2012 season has been sick! What has struck me the most about this year is that the level of windsurfing amongst the students has really stepped up a notch. Just a few years ago if you pulled a Vulcan at an SWA event you were almost guaranteed to get some that night. To stand out from the crowd and attract the opposite sex you now have to have something really special tucked up your sleeve (and I’m are not talking about the wizard’s kind). At Aussie Kiss this year we saw konos, ponches and burners being pulled in the freestyle event. This year so far in the race series I don’t think anyone in the top 10 has dropped a gybe. Let’s just pray for some wind in the wave series, how long will it be before we see students doing double forwards?
There is no official chart to back this up but I think it’s safe to say that the SWA is now the biggest active windsurf community in the UK if not the world. Other than the PWA I can’t think of anywhere else where there is such a dedicated regular following to a calendar of events throughout the year. Around 700 people attended Aussie Kiss X making it possibly the biggest windsurf event in the UK during 2011, and putting it on the worlds windsurfing calendar as a highlight of the year. Just in case you have forgoton how awesome Aussie Kiss 10 was here is a reminder filmed, edited and produce by Matt Farrant, Josh Gajewski and Carl Davis:
It’s been great to see the student influence on the wider windsurfing world. Over the summer there was a big student presence at National Windsurf Festival and Pool Windfest. A particular mention should go to Ollie Acton, one of the top SWA freestylers, for winning the amateurs fleet at Pool. At the BWA Cornwall event earlier this year there was a huge posse of students (and ex-students) from Universities far and wide. Bangor, Bristol, Bath, Cardiff, Southampton and Exeter all represented teams of over 25 in total.
Students push into the UKWA/BWA scene
The SWA ladies were particularly successful here with Jo Wright from Exeter Uni taking third place and Sarah Bibby formerly Southampton Uni taking second and the overall series title. Hopefully in 2012 we can get a big group of students up to North Wales and across to Ireland for the BWA events (if only they didn’t fall slap bang in the middle of the exam period), and even the long trip up to Tiree (Scottish Students be prepared to have some guests crashing on your floor for a night).