(Spot the joker…)
YOUTH WINDSURFING BOOT CAMP A GREAT SUCCESS
Seventeen talented young windsurfers from across the UK took to the waters off the Isle of Wight last week (20-24th August) in the first ever RYA (Royal Yachting Association) Team15 UKSA Youth Week, and it proved to be great fun for all involved, despite some challenging wind conditions!
The week-long camp held at the UKSA on the Isle of Wight, is a new initiative from the RYA’s Team 15, UKSA and White Air, providing up and coming young windsurfers with the opportunity to develop their skills and learn new techniques to improve their sailing.
The youngsters ranged between 12-15 years old, with differing degrees of skill and experience.
Mike Roberts, RYA Team 15 coach said: “It’s been a tremendous week, with all the youngsters gaining in skill and confidence. As many of them come from lake based venues this week has given them the opportunity to experience a completely new dimension to their sailing.
“No matter what ability they came with all of them went away with new skills to show to their friends back at their home clubs.”
Will Slatterly from UKSA said: “We’ve been really impressed with the talent this week, and it’s a great feeling that these kids may go on to become top professionals. They are all really lucky to have had this opportunity.”
Throughout the intensive week long training camp the youngsters took part in coaching sessions with RYA instructors, including the RYA National Junior Squad Coach Oli Woodcock, getting tips on tacking and gybing to dealing with stance, harness work and footstraps. Then when winds hit force 5 to 6 conditions there was much discussion around the problems they would encounter in dealing with the tide, waves and especially when launching.
Alongside the training elements there was plenty of opportunity for the kids to pit their new found skills against each other in a number of racing events. Everyone put in to practice their starting, mark rounding and pumping skills, with twelve year old Sam Jenkins from the Oxford Zoomers T15 club dominating the racing events, claiming 3 wins from 3.
When the wind did eventually drop there was also plenty of time to show-off their freestyle skills. A number of impressive tricks were performed, some of which could not be named by the judges! Tom Dickinson (15) from the Covenham Cyclones was named winner of the freestyle event thanks to some smooth and complex tricks, accompanied by a great dismount.
Robert Pearce (14) from the Isle of Wight UKSA Wild Kats club, who had only 3 hours of windsurfing experience behind him before attending the training week said: “I picked up loads this week, improving my skills and learning loads from the instructors. I’ve really loved it.”
Rob was named most improved sailor at the end of the week, having risen to the challenges put to him throughout the week and putting in to action what he had been taught. By the end of the week he was racing with the others, who had far more experience.
The Team 15 UKSA Youth Week is planned to run on an annual basis, to find out more information visit the Team15 website www.team15.org.uk
The Youth Week, organised by the RYA Team 15 and UKSA is sponsored by the Isle of Wight Economic Partnership and Wight Link Ferries