As the UK's finest wavesailors continue to arrive on Tiree for the Wave Classic, Jim Brooks-Dowsett has sent us this preview report...
We landed on Tiree yesterday after an easy drive through the night and straight on to the morning Ferry with Dave White. It was a rocky journey with waves crashing over the bow of the ship, but fair play to Calmac as they coped with ease and the crew said it can handle much more - good news for competitors travelling Friday and Saturday!
The conditions here have been great already, and we've managed to bag a session at Crossapol yesterday with cross-off head-high waves, nice easy long rides and the sun came out for the afternoon! By the time I got on the water there were about 30 guys out, and I'm pleased to say that stacks of them are here ready for the 25th Anniversary Tiree wave Classic. Wild Diamont have been very busy with the recent wind and were out in force.
Andy King and Sam Neal were both out, not only showing us how it's done but testing their new Goya kit and giving welcome tips to the amateurs on the beach.
Andy: "The conditions have been great to get my new kit sussed out and really like the new Goya Quads! it was touch and go with work but luckily i got the time off and head up as soon as I could for a warm up, really looking forward to the comp as it looks like the conditions are on from day one"
Sam Neal has been coaching a group from the RAF and a few of them have been getting dialled in ready for the Amateur comp
Sam: "The guys have all been ripping, more than one of them may have worn through their hands we've had so much wind! i can't wait to help the guys next week and have been loving my new set up with Goya, conditions are looking so good for the comp which would be awesome for the anniversary year!"
The women's fleet has been steadily building and last year's winner Debbie Kennedy said that she'd love to see more make the effort. The youths, masters and amateurs already have good numbers and anyone who is making last minute decisions to come based on the forecast should hit the road now! Calmac have a few spaces left on the Friday and it's often worth turning up and seeing if there are spaces left on the day, or getting the next day's crossing. For anyone looking to do one day watching the event there is a special return ticket for foot passengers on Thursday for only £5 child / £10 adult.
If you are still looking for accommodation the Millhouse Hostel is a lovely place to stay with full self catering facilities, a wetsuit drying room and close to all the beaches! Contact Judith on firstname.lastname@example.org, or 01879 220 435 / 07501476048
The trophies for this year are something to be proud of (under wraps though) and with £2000 prize money for the top pros coupled with an epic forecast we are looking at the best line-up in British Wavesailing at one place for a long time! Not only will it be great to sail here next week, but the action should be something special to watch.
Nik Baker is one of our past legends that has kindly offered his services and demo equipment from Fanatic and North to any of the budding amateurs including tips and coaching throughout the event. Nik - "My first Tiree Classic was as a youth breaking into waves and getting sponsorship deals, then British tours and PWA. After 20 years plus competing I'm back home promoting Fanatic, North and Ion. It's great to be involved and support this years event, not to mention the chance to hang out with past legends and sail with some of the latest."
The Amateur prizes have been provided by Oxbow and Pura Vida from top end wetsuits, to the latest Clothing and the coveted prize for this year could go to any amateur judged to deserve it the most - a hand made board tailored to suit the winner from the newly launched 'Pura Vida Custom'
The week's entertainment is looking good with several nights of live music, a whiskey tasting, Carter's famous quiz and a film showing of classic clips across the past 25 years with our special guest legends!
A massive thanks has to go out to EventScotland and the Argyll & Bute Council for funding the main event this year and making it possible to get this great event shown on Sky TV in the coming months, not to mention many other stations that will show the half hour feature produced by 1080 Media. Also keep an eye on www.boardseeker.com for news updates, video clips and the upcoming podcast feature presented by Ben Proffitt.
Tiree Wave Classic is hosted by Pura Vida Boardriders and the BWA with support this year from Wild Diamond, Oxbow, Caledonian MacBrayne, Springbank Whisky, Tiree Music Festival, Firefly Natural Energy, The Chocolate Brownie Company and Beachbum Beanbags.
More at www.tireewaveclassic.co.uk