UKWA Wave Series Final West Wittering 26th – 28th October
The final event of the UKWA Series was hosted by West Wittering Windsurf Club over the weekend. With one day of high wind sandwiched between high pressures we were lucky to get some wind. Sunday morning saw force six and good waves hit West Wittering beach with one of the highest tides of the year. The event got off to a good start on Sunday morning with competitors from all over the country competing for the wave champion title in Junior, Youth, Amateurs, Women, Masters and Pro Men categories.
On Saturday Jem Hall Pro coach was on hand giving all the Amateur riders tips on event preparation how to compete for the first time, what to expect ,and gear selection .John Hibbard shared some of his knowledge with contestants on heats and mental approach.
The 47 competitors had to compete in shortened six minute heats, visibility for the judges was poor due to the persistent rain all day. Competitors were up against strong southerly winds with onshore wave conditions. Gear selection, sail visibility and the sailing zone selection area were critical as competitors were up to 300 metres from the shoreline. Judges Julian Du Val, Nayra Alonso and Trevor Funnel had the difficult task of running the heats and to complete the event in less than 4 hours.
Top pros, including Tristen Boxford managed to mis-time his heat and was nearly disqualified for sailing in the wrong heat. Event favourite, Andy King looked like he was going to dominate the event in his first heat and started off with an air flaka into his first wave ride. His forwards backies and push loops were exceptional. Jamie Hancock’s wave riding in these difficult conditions was very solid and seemed to be able to get some real smacks off the wave but was often under powered during the heats. As the heats progressed with the pros it came down to a final between John Hibbard, Chris Audsley, Paul Hunt and Skye boy. It was pretty clear that this was going to be a difficult heat as the waves began to disappear. The wind was bang onshore. It was pretty clear that one or two decent jumps and a descent wave ride would clinch the title. Skye boy pulled off a really decent pushy followed by a clean back loop that pushed him ahead of the other riders right as the heat ended.
The masters fleet had one of the biggest entries, a lot of local guys that sail at West Wittering the final event was run a close final mainly between Paul Metcalf and Ed Texier who struggled to find decent waves for riding and jumping. Ed Texier put himself in the right position and clearly won the heat. In the youth section it looked like a closely run thing between Richard Jones and Graham Woods but as the waves dropped Ryan Humphries pulled off some clean forwards and had some good wave riding that clinched the top position. Kyle Mcginn another local from West Wittering took the amateur title with really good wave selection and Dave Woods was first in the juniors.
At the prize giving after all the good prizes from Ezzy, RRD and Dakine were handed out the pros received their cash prizes from 2XS. Trevor Funnel awarded the most improved sailor of the season award to Paul Hunt and awarded the Animal K-24 Trophy to Guy Cribb, Matt Wemms and John Skye. He also awarded a trophy to Adam Humphreys who was winner of Andy Funnel Eurovan Trophy for 1st place at Hove and Eastbourne events earlier in the season.
Simon Bassett, Event Organiser and owner of 2xs and the windsurf club said “we were really pleased to see the event at West Wittering, some of the top world ranked windsurfers arrived at West Wittering There was a strong local entry particularly in the masters fleet where nearly all the entrants were from the windsurf club”. The Event was sponsored by www.2xs.co.uk, Ezzy, RRD, Dakine and supported by the hospitality of The Ship Inn at Itchenor for the evening entertainment and food. Thanks also to Boards, Windsurf and Boardseeker for their support of coverage online and in the mags.
1st John Skye
2nd John Hibbard
3rd Chris Audsley
4th Paul Hunt
1st Kyle Mcginn
2nd Oliver Long
3rd Chris Wooten
1st Ryan Humphries
2nd Graham Woods
3rd Richard Jones
1st Ed Texier
2nd Paul Metcalf
3rd Justin Goodwin
1st Dave Woods
2nd Sam Darkin
3rd Matt Leonard