The most recent BSA (British Slalom Association) event took place at Tenby, and was a massive success, Jim Brooks-Dowsett reports, with images and video from Pete Davis:
Gallery and full results.
This summer has been one of the best on record, but that’s meant we haven’t had the wind we all would have liked to train and even at some of the other slalom events before…….so heading to Tenby faced with another ‘lovely weekend’ everybody was wondering if it would be a lot of waiting around and not much racing for the entrants!
Some good local knowledge suggested that the sea breeze effect could work once the sun was out and with enough east in the wind it could come through cross shore at Tenby South Beach, and fortunately it was only a few hours into the morning when the course boat was showing 12 to 15 knots of wind and it was all systems go!!
The UKWA Race team quickly set a great course a mile or so offshore in the strongest and cleanest wind and the Pro fleet Joined the Am fleet for two exciting downwind races to warm up – all riders at once! This was great fun and the wind had already picked up so it was a quick break for many to change down in winds now gusting up to 20knots on the course! Being so far out to sea, once the riders were there racing was without break, so a bit of fitness came in very handy (or was slightly missing in my case….)
Pretty much back to back the Pro and Am fleets ran 8 rounds of straight finals in good downwind slalom conditions. The wind was solid throughout, starts were great to watch in both fleets and there was some good swell and chop running to make the conditions quite challenging for the riders…….without doubt some of the best slalom we’ve seen this year!
The top 3 pros were constantly in a close battle for first place, but the rest of the fleet were never far behind in some very close racing throughout……gaps were tight and gybing proved to be critical to hold on to valuable places! In the end James Dinsmore (Starboard/Severne) proved most consistent to clinch the top spot but only two points behind were Kevin Greenslade (Puravida/Gaastra/Tabou) and Simon Cofield (Puravida/North/Fanatic) all fighting for that top spot on the podium! Lighter sailors Sam Latham (North/Fanatic) and Tom Wells sailed very well to take 4th & 5th chased down by seasoned competitor Simon Pettifer (Puravida/Simmer/Tabou) in a very close battle!
The Amateur fleet was hotly contended with places changing race by race and the riders really making the most of the conditions! Youth stars to watch Nicky Welsh (Puravida/Simmer) and Jasper Geddes were well trained and untouchable for the top spots, but it was Nicky with 4 bullets that took the podium, Jasper just behind and Tim Gibson (North Sails) that put in a solid performance for Third place. The rest of the fleet was very close and made for some great racing! Simon Langley secured 4th with myself (Puravida/Simmer/Fanatic) in 5th and the flying Frenchman Yan Vasseur (Gaastra Sails) just behind in 6th.
The amateur fleet was full of seasoned racers in some challenging conditions, and champion speed sailor Zara Davies sailed hard to sit 10th overall and 1st Lady giving her a great 1st year so far trying the slalom. Zara said – “Tenby is a fantastic venue and I loved sailing there with such a great crowd, I really hope more women do see what fun it is and come to join me!”
The biggest fleet with the most races run and maybe the most fun of all progressing with their skills was the master blaster, and straight of the beach this relaxed format was really popular and they ran no less than 14 races in total……top effort! Rob Duggan was the master of the smoother inshore conditions chased hard by Charlie Milner for 2nd place and Jo Edwards in 3rd. The rest of the fleet were very close and great to see some newcomers on Welsh sand. Regardless of age or ability the Master Blaster has something for everyone to have a go and is a great way to improve your windsurfing skills – why not try the next one or bring a friend?
Puravida Boardriders were stoked to host this event in Tenby with the support of the local windsurfing & lifesaving club at south beach, and we’re already looking forward to running it again next year! The saturday night BBQ on the beach was great and most of all we have to thank the UKWA race team for getting so many well run races in an offshore course run in one day!
To find out more about joining in some of the fun racing or coming to the next event in Weymouth on October 25th at the Sailing Academy please check out https://ukwindsurfing.com/events/
Event Host, Jim Brooks-Dowsett – Puravida Boardriders