Last weekend saw Birmingham play host to one hundred students for their debut event, Up The Brum. This event was the first in the annual core windsurf series, and was eagerly anticipated in the wake of Aussie Kiss kicking off the event tour back in November.
Saturday saw the arrival of the gale force winds the forecast had promised. The advanced guys took to the water to enjoy the conditions on some of the demo kit kindly brought by Boardwise and Patrik Sailoft. After refuelling on a selection of hot food, the windsurfers headed back out for the freestyle competition. With the competition being the second event in the freestyle series, competitors were keen to impress and gain vital points for their rankings. The high winds meant some big moves were attempted by the series favourites, as the beginners looked on in awe from the warmth of the club house. After finishing 2nd at Aussie Kiss, Charlie Wilson of Southampton was victorious. Also impressing the judges were Alex Mitchell of Cardiff and Leo Calnan of Southampton, who rounded out the podium.
Celebrating the days’ activities, the windsurfers headed out onto Broad Street in an array of fancy dress, ranging from ‘the chicken and the egg’ to ‘dinosaurs’ and ‘the big bang’.
Sunday saw an early start for a big day of competition. Eager to get out on the water, the beginners got some practice under the supervision of a team of volunteer instructors, working on their tacks and gybes before the racing later in the afternoon.
With the wind forecast to drop, competition kicked off early in the day with the team racing. With all podium teams from Aussie Kiss in attendance, it was expected to be a tightly contested event, and didn’t disappoint. Heat one saw Cardiff and Birmingham ease to victory over Liverpool and Birmingham 2; and in heat two Cardiff showed why they were defending champions, easing through their heat, accompanied by Bristol. Imperial weren’t able to show the prowess demonstrated at Aussie Kiss and unfortunately missed out on a place in the final. In the end, Cardiff continued their dominance and were victorious with superior gybes and changeovers, with Bristol not far behind. The battle for the final podium position fell subject to a nasty shift in the wind, with Birmingham coming out on top after an upwind fight to the buoy.
1st – Cardiff
3rd – Birmingham
Coming straight from the team racing, many competitors went straight into the advanced racing. Split into three heats, sixteen guys and girls fought their way round the course. In the end, it was the top three from the freestyle competition who were victorious, showing skill across a range of disciplines. Charlie Wilson narrowly edged out fellow Southampton team mate Leo Calnan, and Alex Parker from Cardiff completed the podium.
Next up was the intermediate sailors. With the wind slightly calmer than the preceding storm, it was the perfect opportunity for them to show what they could do. After a fantastic gybe round the buoy, Lizzy Delva of Birmingham was victorious, closely followed by James Metcalfe of Imperial and Pablo Tarodo of Bristol.
Wanting to put into practice the skills they’d practiced earlier, the beginners rounded off the day’s competition. Managing to avoid the worst of the collision chaos, Lucy Gosling from Birmingham was victorious after much vocal encouragement from her home club. Coming in just behind her was Alice Gwyn-Jones from Keele and Adrian Castro Gavira of Imperial.
The event wrapped up with prize giving, with some fantastic prizes for the competition winners kindly donated by Boardwise. Cardiff were also rewarded for their team race success with a demo day provided by Patrik and Sailoft. The event was a great success, with Birmingham having surprised everyone as a windsurfing location, thanks to the accommodating Chasewater Sailing Club. The next event, BrUWE in February is now eagerly anticipated by all.
Photos by Louise Harvey