Like the other kids at Weymouth’s Budmouth Technology College about to tackle Start Windsurfing at the OTC at WPNSA, Finley Heys is relishing the chance to do a sport he had been intrigued by growing up in the seaside town.
The fact the teenager, who turns 15 this summer, was born without the forearm and hand on his left arm made no difference to him, nor the instructors at the OTC.
Now Finley knows what he wants for his birthday.
“Maybe some windsurfing kit would be good!” he says. “Windsurfing is the most fun sport for me and so different to the other sports you get to try at school. I always want to try sports that are challenging to me.
“I’ve always seen the windsurfers at Weymouth and Portland and wanted to give it a go. Now I can see it becoming a hobby and something I can do with my mates.”
Over the years Finley has adapted using his elbow for grip, and when it came to windsurfing his approach was no different. He started on a 2.5 sail but progressed to a 4.5 before the end of his initial six-week course.
He says although his elbow can’t provide the same strength in holding the boom as a hand, “it does the job enough,” and the more time he spends on the water, the more he finds ways to adapt his windsurfing to improve further.
“Because my left arm isn’t as strong, to start with if the wind suddenly got stronger I couldn’t hold on and I fell off. Now, if I start to feel the wind picking up I hook my arm around even more to give me better stability and control.”