WHERE WERE YOU WINDSURFING THIS SUMMER?
There is a great new windsurfing “hot spot” that not many have heard about. The Witterings, Hayling Island, the Gower? No it’s Docklands in East London.
Throughout the summer the RYA (Royal Yachting Association) joined forces with the Windsurfing Trade (Naish UK / Tushingham / Totaloption and Ultrasport) to launch a new pilot scheme to reintroduce windsurfing back to London Docklands.
Sailing took place down at Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre, in the heart of London which has easy access to the water, one hell of a view, and around 7 million potential new converts to the sport!
As part of RYA OnBoard scheme, the aim of the project was not only to reintroduce windsurfing back to London Docklands but also to demonstrate to other inner city locations and centres around the UK that windsurfing once again can be used as a positive and fun activity to attract young people, schools and adult groups to their centres and a whole new generation to our sport.
Marc Dobkin (13) from Isle of Dogs, who took part in the pilot said: “It`s brilliant, there`s lots to learn and think about, that`s why it’s fun.”
Charlie Baxter, Water Operations Manager at Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre (DSWC), who ran the project as part of their summer activities programme and youth activities club said: “It has been fantastic working with the RYA to run this pilot scheme, it has been the most popular activity in our youth program, and we are now in the process of buying new windsurfing equipment, and hoping to run courses this autumn.”
The impact has been immediate with two centres in the heart of the city, DSWC and Surrey Docks Watersports Centre buying equipment and offering windsurfing for 2008.
Femi Omotosho (Chief Instructor of Surrey Docks Watersports Centre) said: “We have been thinking about restarting windsurfing at our centre for the past three years and hearing about this project finally convinced us we needed to do it”.
Guy Malpas, RYA Regional Development Officer (RDO) for London and Thames Valley said: “We have been absolutely delighted with the response to the pilot, not only from the people coming down and having a go and their great enthusiasm, but also the support from local centres and the trade.
“I strongly believe that we will be seeing a lot more Windsurfing taking place in London in the coming months and years.”
As for the future, Richard Marsh, Naish Sails (UK) said: “With London hosting the 2012 Olympic Games who knows, a future Windsurfing Gold Medalist might be about to take their first steps to becoming champion, right here in London.”
For more information about the Pilot Scheme or windsurfing in London contact Guy Malpas (RDO) at firstname.lastname@example.org or Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre at email@example.com