Pic: Simon Crowther

Sixteen year-old Sam Slaughters Albeau and Swift!

Simon Crowther reports from last weekend’s Animal Windfest

This weekend saw the 3rd round of the UKWA & Pryde UK Slalom series descend on the Animal Windfest. Guest appearances from World Champion Antoine Albeau and our own Robby Swift were set to make this event an exciting one. The forecast showed early promise, but weakened as the event drew close, leaving everyone with fingers crossed there might be enough wind to compete.

The Race Crew struggled to lay a course with the shifting, gusty winds and racing tide, and competition conditions became a game of cat and mouse.

In the end the Race Officer Iain Jackson decided an out-and-back Master Blaster race was the only option. Open to all fleets, clearly many on the beach were excited at the prospect of pitting themselves against the likes of Antoine and Robby.

This race was set to be lottery; the on-off planing conditions saw everyone non-planing at various points in the race. As the fleet rounded the mark and headed to the beach, it seemed clear Albeau had this one in the bag, but as he coasted in towards the shore a number of shouts and cheers erupted from onlookers. Sam Sills, the recent Techno Youths World Champion had gained ground and was now pumping past the Slalom world champion in the shallows of the shoreline. (Rude not to, really...)

I'm not sure if Albeau knew it was a beach finish, or perhaps he cared more about his fin in the shallows, but Sam was clearly elated as he stealthily pumped past Albeau. Upon finishing, Sam said "That felt much better than winning the Youth Worlds!"

OK, so it was only an informal Master Blaster race, but Sam, at only 16 years-old, is clearly set to become a force to be reckoned with, so keep your eyes out for him in the future. He's one of our rising British talents!