Regional to National UKWA Junior racing


Connor Bainbridge, who was the North East WindSurfers Youth & Junior race champion last year had his highest hopes rewarded with a place in the RYA North Zone Squad and has begun racing in the National UKWA events in earnest. The Zone squads have been training since February and Ian Roberts has been pushing the North and West Zone squads hard, which was rewarded by the excellent result in the Eric Twiname Championship in early May with the North Zone winning the windsurfing.


Racing in the UKWA National events is much the same as participating in UKWA Regional windsurfing. Everyone is very supportive of the sailors, the safety cover is excellent and the atmosphere at events is always good, however, there is one major difference. The quality and competitive ability of the fleets is very, high and goes some way to explaining why the funding has been increased to produce International windsurfing race champions for Great Britain.


So, you would think that Connor, who is sponsored by Seasprite, Ezzy, RRD and Surfstore, and who has gone from always leading the fleet in 2005, to chasing the more experienced sailors in 2006, would be losing motivation and questioning his windsurfing choice of events. But, here is the strength of the UKWA events – the culture of support and positive energy towards the Juniors, no matter where they finish in the fleet, is very noticeable when they come off the water or when they are waiting for the next race. Of course all parents want their child to come first, but they all support the racers as a group and as individuals.


Going to your first National event can appear very daunting, not only are millions of pounds of equipment filling the place, from camper vans and trailers to sails and boards, but there are also a lot of people milling about, and then there’s the start line…


It would be easy to turn around and go home, but ask anyone a question and they’ll immediately help, just ask, nothings too much trouble. So, if you want to get more out of your racing and learn faster then the UKWA National events are the place to be and don’t worry about not being first – you’ll get lot’s of support for just getting out there and giving it your best.


For more information on UKWA events, visit www.ukwindsurfing.comand to learn more about being a junior windsurfer in race and freewave, visit


John Bainbridge


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