A full report from all the Junior and Youth coaching and competition at the Tiree Wave Classic, from Sam Ross:
This time last week was the end of the 29th Tiree Wave Classic, and it was also the end of the 3rd annual RYAScotland T15 Tiree Wave Camp as well.
RYA Scotland have been working alongside the Wave Classic and Tiree for over twelve years and this year thanks to help from Wild Diamond Tiree, and the BWA in partnership with the Mailing Room, the RYAScotland T15 Tiree Wave Camp was to be fully integrated as part of the Classic.
This meant that entered into the Classic this year there were 24 Scottish Junior Sailors as well as Two other Youth sailors from the rest of the UK. A pretty sizeable fleet by any standards.
The camp, over the last few years has offered a fantastic opportunity for many young windsurfers. With a broad ability spectrum, for many it has not just been their first dable on the sea but also a chance to learn a host of new skills, from beachstarts and basic harness technique all the way up to competition wave sailing.
After registration on the first Sunday of the classic and a chance to meet the team and each other the Juniors were to meet back at Gott bay on the Monday morning. Meanwhile the Youth contingent would be shadowing the main event site waiting for the go from the main BWA judges.
Gott Bay offered flat water and some nice breeze on the first morning, a chance for everyone to get out on the water and conquer new skills rather than environments. The Juniors were treated to a series of short sessions through the morning and into the afternoon.
That evening the Pro sailors joined the Juniors in the Church for a great Q&A session. From their favourite moves to best places to sail and tips from Ben Profitt on looking out for the little waves ‘ as they’re the ones to worry about’. The Pros gave the Juniors a great evening and insight into possible pathways through windsurfing and options they may well have in the future.
Event organiser and owner of Wild Diamond Tiree, Willy, also handed out event hoodies and sail stickers which the Juniors quickly got signed.
The light wind of day two didn’t cause many issues on Tiree as we hit Balevullin where we had glassy surf. It was a great opportunity for the group to get out on surf boards and SUPs and build knowledge and understanding in the waves. It was also great to see some of the sailors could already tear it up in the surf which might be key as we go into competition.
From Balevullin we hit Crossapol beach in the afternoon. The wind had started to build and we were getting waves. This was to be our location for the next day or so and also our competition venue.
Everyone got well stuck in a Crossapol, this was the first time many had taken on waves with their kit and despite one broken mast everyone made great efforts to punch out over white water, get out back and even catch a few rides on the way in.
Wednesday brought the two things everyone on the island had been waiting for, wind and waves. The Pros, Ams, Masters and our Two Youth Sailors Jack and Jenna Petit headed off to the Maze to make their bid on the single elimination against the Am and Ladies fleets.
Meanwhile we had one more morning of training before we would go into our very own Wave Comp.
The Tiree Junior Wave Classic
9 Sailors stepped up for the chance to be crowned Tiree Junior Wave Classic Champion.
The angle and strength of the wind were always going to make jumping difficult so a format of two scores to count was introduced. Sailors could jump and wave ride but only two of their scores would count to their total.
We expected to mostly see waves scoring but jumps may well clinch it down the sharp end of the contest.
The first heats got underway and there were some close decisions, by only half a point saw us set up for the A and B finals. The closeness of the heats already gave us the nod that there may well be some movement in the double eliminations.
There were two stand out sailors in the heats, Andy Budge went through top in his heat with a good combination of both riding and jumping. Quickly filling his score card and positioning himself really well throughout. Luca Dominguez also sailed a great heat with the highest scoring wave of the contest so far. Islay Watson also sailed through her heat against the boys to be the only girl to make the A final in the single elimination.
It was great to see the juniors actively seeking feedback in the heat break. Understanding where they had to be and how things were scored. This really paid off in the finals. Andy Brown had nudged through his heat against some tight competition but mostly due to skirting on the edge of the area for most of the heat.
He wasn’t going to make the same mistake in the final, putting a solid jump in right on the opening buzzer and then coming in to get a great backside air right in front of the judges, Andy continued to rack up the scores and took the win by a point. Luca Dominguez despite being a little underpowered looked great on the wave, getting in more turns and showing a real understanding of where to be to take second in the single, whilst Andy Budge showed the same heat competence and consistency that put him through in the initial heats to take third in the single. Finn and Islay took 4th and 5th and would now have to wait to see who would be coming up to challenge them in the double elimination.
We were down to three in the B final with Sam, Matt and Jude all going head to head. The wind had dropped a little and some larger sets were starting to squeeze through. Matt skimming over a couple of big mounds of white water to get out the back.
We re ran the B final as part of the Double with Jude Nicol coming out on top and effectively lining up a Ladies final between her and Islay.
This heat for first girl and the right to challenge for higher overall spots couldn’t have been closer with both sailors leading at points during the round. With dropping winds and bigger waves, it was all about wave rides and also trying to sail your heat without getting wiped out by white water.
Jude edged through in the end, with a few slightly more critical turns on the waves which lined her up for a 4th place battle against Finn.
This again was a close heat, with only waves to count. Finn put his surfing skills to good effect and crept through to now take on Andy for the third place spot. This was to be the start of Finn’s run as again he managed to put together a well structured heat and stay out of trouble getting good waves to score.
Andy who had sailed a couple of great rounds got caught up in some white water and was unable to recover and get enough waves to count. Finn then went on to face Luca who had sailed so well in the earlier final.
Again Finn kept it solid, getting out well and picking good waves. A sail change for Luca didn’t pay off as he ended up in a similar situation to Andy, and was unable to claw things back as the clock ticked down.
Finn had now sailed three back to back heats heading into the final against Andy Brown. With his hands looking worse for wear and pretty tired he was unable to go all the way to the top spot after a fantastic run through the double elimination.
Andy put on a great final ensuring he wouldn’t have to go through to a super final. Again with a repertoire of jumping and riding he won the double in similar style to how he won the single and became the Tiree Wave Classic Junior Champion.
Meanwhile at The Maze
Jenna and Jack Petit were representing the Youth contingent going head to head with the main Ams and Ladies fleets. Jack had a great run in the single making it to the final where he then came 4th. He then got to challenge Ben Page in the Double who eventually pushed it all the way to a super final. Jack words:
Jack also scored the highest wave score of any of the ams in the entire competition.
The Ladies sailed a series of straight finals with Jenna getting better and better each round placing 5th, 4th, 4th and finally 3rd in the heats she sailed. This placed Jenna 4th overall in the Ladies fleet and top youth.
The lighter winds of the last day gave the pros a chance to come over and watch the Junior action. We were able to have all the Youth and Junior Sailors in one place and get the BWA judging team with guest pro judges to run a series of expression sessions.
By the afternoon we had light winds and small waves, which whilst not making for the most epic action gave all the junior sailors a chance to express them selves and also see how far they had come over the week.
We had three cups in the Expression session, The JP Pryde Session, The Tushingham Session and the Severne Session.
There were some great battles in all the fleets and a lot within families. Lori Provan won the Tushingham Session outright making the most of the small waves in Gott Bay, just staying ahead of Matt and Leonard.
In the Severne Cup it was more of a family affair with Katya and Arianna Johnson taking top spots with Brett Campbell in third.
Whilst the JP Pryde cup ended being heats into a final ,where we saw a Petit yet again on the top spot but this time it was Jenna Petit overhauling her older brother Jack into second with the winner of the junior Classic Andy Brown in Third.
RYA Scotland do a fantastic job of running this camp under the leader ship of Robin Nicol. They pull in some great coaches Callum, Torin and Ali and thank to the support of The Mailing Room I was able to join them this year getting the kids well stuck into the waves.
Within a couple of days young sailors were taking their current and newly acquired skills into a new environment and at times on un familiar kit and not only having a go at competition but highly capably.
The involvement from the BWA and pro fleets was really the icing on the cake and I’m sure with this support and the keenness and attitude of young sailors many of these names could be winning the sword in years to come.
Some thoughts from one of the sailors Jude:
How has wave sailing improved your windsurfing?
A last word from Robin Nicol of RYA Scotland:
Big thanks to all those that made it a great week, sailors, parents, coaches, Wild Diamond, The Tiree Wave Classic, The BWA team and Judges. A massive thanks to RYA Scotland as well as the BWA, along with The Mailing Room for their support.
Tiree Wave Classic Youth Men’s
- Jack Petit ( placed 4th Amateur overall)
Tiree Wave Classic Youth Women’s
- Jenna Petit ( placed 4th Lady overall)
Tiree Wave Classic Junior
- Andrew Brown ( Winning a Simmer Style sponsorship Deal)
- Finn Macdonald
- Luca Dominguez
- Andrew Budge
- Jude Nicol ( 1st Girl winning a wetsuit and harness from O’Neill and Simmer)
- Islay Watson (2nd Girl)
- Mathew Blythe
- Sam Brown
JP Pryde Expression Session
- Jenna Petit
- Jack Petit
- Andrew Brown
Tushingham Expression Session
- Lori Provan
- Leonard Staber
- Mathew Blythe
Severne Expression Session
- Katya Johnson
- Arianna Johnson
- Bret Campbell
If you’d like to get involved in windsurfing as a Junior why not check out your local centre of T15 club. If you fancy getting involved with Wave sailing and BWA events then the BWA will be continuing to support junior and Youth involvement at events throughout the year.
Sam Ross will be on hand at the next BWA event in Cornwall to help all Juniors and Youths competing.