Poole Slalom kicks off the 2009 season with a high level of windsurfing and attendance!

Nearly 30 windsurfers showed up for the first event of 2009 which promised to be a kick ass event with a five buoy downwind slalom course and plenty of wind forecast. Cribby was running a specialist slalom training clinic during the afternoon, with high def video and tv for instant playback on the beach, which was rocking with his INtuition guests overpowered on 7m race sails. However, by mid afternoon the wind swung round to straight onshore and dropped to almost nothing- just as PWA riders Ant Baker and Matt Pearch showed up with their new North Warp race sails and Fanatic Falcon slalom boards. Ant rigged a 9.8m and Pearchy a 9m sail and they were still going strong so some of Cribby's guests took the toys for a spin, but the wind continued to drop just as most of the Poole Slalomers arrived. Traveling from all over, virtually all the slalom sailors who arrived before 4.30pm, took one long look at the grey onshore conditions and left.

However, Paul and Dino (the original but infamous Poole Slalomers formally known as the 'Gybe Turkeys") who arrived just before 5pm saw a few gusts and rigged big. Before we knew it they were both flying and a scramble in Sandbanks car park saw 14 slalom sailors rig 8-9m sails and get on with the first slalom racing in the UK this year.

The light, dead onshore wind made it impossible both for a downwind course or beach starts, so on water gate starts were held with Cribby blasting towards the fleet and everyone starting by crossing his wake. Cribby would then tack and bring up the rear.

Blasting some 500m along Sandbanks we'd gybe at Shore Road and return to the top car park, completing 8 or 9 races in total with Roger Clark, Paul (dino's brother) and Steve from FC all winning races, and Cribby cleaning up the rest. But with sterling performances from everybody out there in very tough conditions, that involved a lot of pumping and finesse!

Message from Cribby, Roger, DD, Chris (Da Hub), Spinny, Simon, Paul (Gybe), Dino (Turkey), Tim (Animal), Steve (FC), Glen, Julian (fire hazard), Tim, and Kevin- "Everyone who left early, you shouldn't have! We had a wicked time making the most out of our Thursday windsurf session, then all piled down to the Hub in Ashley Cross (thanks Chris) and tucked into a great feast and some bevies. A totally cool night - windsurfing, beers on the beach then a really good social - just how we like it. Rock on Poole Slalom!"

Many thanks to North Sails, Fanatic, JP and Neil Pryde for providing demo kit and especially to the Watersports Academy for laying the course (and collecting the buoys the next morning.) Awesome. FYI North Sails, Fanatic, Mistral, JP and Neil Pryde all intend to provide some demo kit at the Poole Slalom events whenever it's windy in 2009.

Some great photos of the evening event are online (follow link below) - huge thanks to Paul Beames for staying on the beach with his sharp shooting.

This week's forecast is not looking too pretty for Thursday, but pretty good for Saturday - over to Fred to call the shots there. I'm out of here to Morocco for two weeks running wave sailing clinics, but hope to see you all in May.

Big up, Guy