The winning Axbridge Animals team

Axbridge Animals win wild windsurfing event at Cheddar Reservoir

The first regional event of the Team 15 junior windsurfing season took
place at a very windy Cheddar reservoir on Saturday.  In fact, it was so
windy that the conditions drew a large crowd from right across the
windsurfing community, with up to fifty people hurtling across the
reservoir in addition to the twenty children competing in the event itself.

As it was the first ever event for several of the competitors and given
the hectic conditions, Race Organiser Geoff Pook started the day
with a race that combined paddling and cruising downwind with rigging
sticks to a finish on the shore.  Two complete rounds of heats and
finals on this short but surprisingly tough course saw the home team,
the Axbridge Animals sponsored by BiC Sport, ahead by a small lead over
the visitors, the Durleigh Devils, sponsored by Gul, from Bridgwater.

Hoping for a slight easing of the wind, the competitors rushed hungrily
to the barbecue for an early lunch while two of them, Laurie and Calum
Finch, transformed in into guitarists and entertained a large crowd with
the rest of their six-piece band, Metamorphis.  Meanwhile, several of
the competitors queued up excitedly for an interview with Radio Bristol,
who had sent their radio car down to cover the event.

With rock music blaring out of the club house, three former local Team
15 members, who now participate in the UKWA Freewave events, were
putting on a show of wild moves (and awesome crashes) for the spectators
and the local media.  These three; George Shillito, Graham Woods and
Adam Lewis formed their own training group called Team AirBorn last year
and have quickly achieved a high profile in the sport with the help of
their enthusiastic sponsors, Windsurfers World of Bristol.

The wind didn’t ease in the afternoon, so a simple slalom course was
devised that would test the more experienced windsurfers.  Extra safety
boats were manned, ready for action, but after an exciting and
action-packed ten minutes that saw some spectacular wipe-outs the race
was abandoned. Bella Jezard (aged 14) was awarded an unofficial victory
for completing the course, having handled the conditions with skill and

With no afternoon result to count, the pre-lunch score stood and the
Axbridge Animals were awarded the team trophy.  Pippa Hambling and Lucy
Owen were selected for special prizes.  Pippa, for having the courage to
enter an event after just one evening’s windsurfing instruction! Geoff
thanked the Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club’s Commodore, Paul Hipwell, for
the excellent hospitality.


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