Last weekend hoards of freestyles descended upon a very, very windy Weymouth for the final event in the UKWA freestyle tour. A close fought battle in many of the fleets, or was all down to this contest and who could survive the 50 knot winds!
Check out the from Lucas Meldrum video too…
Ollie Acton reports…
Weymouth was the last destination in what has been a windy UKWA freestyle series. Yet again the forecast did not disappoint with over 45 knots of wind on the Saturday and 30 knots on the Sunday!
The wind filled in very early on Saturday so the competition started as soon as possible. First sailors out testing the conditions were on 4.8 freestyle sails but by the time the competition got underway almost everyone was 4.4 or smaller. The sequence for the weekend saw the under 15’s compete in the first round, followed by the pros then the amateurs, which had the largest fleet of seven sailors.
The under 15’s fleet showed Lucas Meldrum battle against current tour leader Ike Bradley-Baker for the top spot. With all other sailors huddled in the warmth of the OTC, all eyes were on these two youngsters who put on a great show, managing to Vulcan, Spock and Flaka in very windy freestyle conditions. However, it was Ike Bradley-Baker showing his control in the testing conditions and pushing himself to try switch stance moves gained him the top spot for the weekend.
The pro fleet included the UKWA regulars of Jamie Drummond, Oscar Carmichael, John Palmer, Phil Richards and the much improved Jamie Howard, who has stepped up to pro level from the U17’s fleet. Using 4.4 or 4.0’s and their smallest freestyle boards the pro sailors delivered some top class action in what proved to be a very close competition. All the new school power freestyle moves were sent in the 40- 50 knot gusts including one handed burners, konos and skopus. The judges struggled to find a clear winner between all the sailors and therefore handed Carmichael and Drummond joint first, with Palmer coming in 3rd.
In a hotly contested amateur fleet almost any of the sailors on their day could have won. The level of the amateurs has really progressed over the past year where you are likely to see sailors landing moves such as double flakas, funnels, shakas and switch chachoos in the majority of rounds. James Randall, Ollie Acton and Kieren Roan all won a least one round of competition over weekend, showing it really was anyone’s game. However, it was Kieren Roan’s consistency that won him the contest, closely followed by Ollie Acton then Alex Mitchell.
Lizzy Smith, the only entry in the ladies category competed against the mens amateurs all weekend and proved her level was right up there trying funnels and punetas in every round!
UKWA Weymouth Results
1st – Ike Bradley-Baker
2nd – Lucas Meldrum
1st – Kieren Roan (Witchcraft, Hot Sails)
2nd – Ollie Acton (Patrik, Sailloft)
3rd – Alex Mitchell (Fanatic, North)
= 1st – Oscar Carmichael (Fanatic, North)
= 1st – Jamie Drummond (Starboard, Severne)
3rd – John Palmer (Starboard, Severne)
Weymouth also drew a close to the 2013 UKWA freestyle calendar, a successful year on the tour with many windy events showing freestyle windsurfing at its finest in various destinations around the UK. Congratulations to the UKWA 2013 freestyle series winners!
Pro – Oscar Carmichael
Amateur – Kieren Roan
Under 20’s – Jamie Howard
Under 15’s – Ike Bradley-Baker
The sailing level within the tour has increased in all fleets and we really hope the 2014 UKWA freestyle series will grow in popularity to push freestyle windsurfing with in the UK. From the words of UKWA Freestyle Amateur winner Kieren Roan:
I’m looking forward to a growing fleet size for next year and finding out which one of you young guys is going to beat me! The season as a whole has been blessed with good wind at nearly all the events and I’d urge anyone to get involved as it’s a great way to improve your own sailing standard and have a good time while you’re at it.
Thanks to David Bradley-Baker, Julian Da Vall, The OTC and Boardwise for providing the series prizes.
Photos from James Randall and Andy Copleston.
For updates on UK Freestyle competitions and impromptu sessions please like www.facebook.com/ukwafreestyle.
Ollie Acton is sponsored by Patrik and Sail Loft.