Carlsberg don’t do windsurfing, but if they did, Rhosneigr would probably feature in their advertising.
It may have been a long time coming but everything comes to those who wait, and what a coming together this weekend was. Not only did it produce the best wave and slalom the UK has seen for years - possibly ever - but both ran side by side on one of the windiest days of the year.
I was kept seriously busy with my camera – I didn’t know where to point the lens next there was so much going on. But no matter how much you spend of photography equipment to get the best pictures, nothing could beat standing there on the beach.
Slalom was set to kick off the day, but each time a sailor touched the water to test out his set-up the wind picked up another notch and send them scurrying up the beach for something smaller.
By the time of the first gun most had already run out of race gear and only the hardiest of racers were left with cambers in their sails. Watching from the beach it looked more like a packed wave heat as they headed out towards the outer mark with little more than their top battens poking above the waves.
Last year’s Slalom was a one horse race with Jamie Hawkins walking his way to victory. In these extreme conditions more of the same was expected, but 2009 looks set to be the best for events in years.
Top honours this weekend went to a dominant Mat Pearch, but with a new buzz in slalom he’s not the only one out there wanting to make Jamie work to retain his crown.
It’s been a while since I’ve watched a wave event and the last time I was in Rhosneigr the forward hadn’t even been conceived. The standard of British wavesailing is truly world-class. Sure we’ve all seen doubles in the Pozo videos, but to see them being pulled off in our own waters with such predictability was stunning.
Timo Mullen set the bar in the opening round with not just one double, but two; from then on everyone was on the game. Not happy with just matching Mullet’s two double’s, John Skye looked set to do it in every round.
The competition was so fierce half a point could make the difference between being cast aside or progressing towards the final. Boosted by his win in Ireland last week Jamie Hancock pushed through to the final to meet local legend Ben Proffitt.
Hancock’s solid wave riding saw him edging in front on the riding, but he couldn’t reply to Proffitt’s aerial display, if you had to pull it down to one move, it had to be Ben’s tweaked push loop that stole the crown.
While credit is undoubtedly due to our stars, the real stars of the day were all those in the ladies’, youth and challenge fleets who headed out along side our pros in conditions where they’d been forgiven for stepping away.
If you weren’t able to make it to Rhosneigr then you really missed out, but with this being just the start of the season there’s time to sign up for the next stop on the UK tour, or just get to the beach to see it for yourself.
Be sure to check out the full report in the magazine...
Juniors: 1st Alex Gayda, 2nd Alex Mitchell
Ladies: 1st Louise Emery, 2nd Sarah Cotton, 3rd Sarah Finney
1st Dave Horrocks 2nd Alex Tritten 3rd Steve King 4th Clyde Waite Joint 5th Alex Gayda, Chris Cunningham, Darren Thurston, Alex Mitchell, Sam Darkin
1st Nigel Treacy 2nd Mark Lloyd 3rd Gerry Wilcox 4th Damian De Backer Joint 5th Phil Arderne & Chris Wilcox
1. Ben Proffitt (Simmer Sails/Quatro/O'Shea/Gul/Funsport) 2. Jamie Hancock (Gun Sails/Quatro/BigSalty) 3. Phil Horrocks (JP/NeilPryde/Plasma/Funsport) 4. John Skye (Naish Sails/RRD/Animal) Joint 5th James Cox (Ezzy/Quatro) Andy King (Goya) Timo Mullen (Severne/Starboard/Fiat) Oisin Van Gelderen (NeilPryde/JP/Surfdock/RedBull/Mercedes-Benz) Joint 9th Graham Woods (North Sails/Fanatic) Mark Bell (Goya) Nick Moffat (Goya/Gul) Chris Murray (Goya) Murray Saunders (Goya/Quatro) Sam Neal (NeilPryde/JP/Animal) Jamie Hawkins (NeilPryde/Exocet/Animal)
Slalom Top 4
1. Matt Pearch (North Sails/Fanatic) 2. Jamie Hawkins (NeilPryde/Exocet) 3. Alan Jackson (Tushingham/Starboard) 4. Oisin Van Gelderen (NeilPryde/JP)