Tony Tiffen says farewell to Brogborough... - Boards Windsurfing

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Tony Tiffen says farewell to Brogborough…

Tony Tiffen has decided that a quarter of a century of windsurfing is enough for anyone, and sent us this story announcing the sale of Brogborough Lake and Tiffen Endless Summer Ltd…

Tony Tiffen

I left school not really knowing what I wanted to do. I sort of drifted into farming as I enjoyed the outdoor life, and when my parents suggested we buy a small pig farm, it seemed a good idea at the time. There followed 12 years of hell. Pigs and I never really saw eye to eye; it was very much a love hate relationship, more the latter than the former.

One morning I woke and realised that this life was not for me, so upped sticks and moved to South West Scotland to run a caravan site. Newton Stewart is probably not the hottest tourist bed in the world and the midges outnumbered the tourists one million to one. Another seven years were spent trying to make a living in one of the wettest dampest places in the world, with a considerable amount of itching thrown in.

So back south I came to Bedford in 1983 and met up with some old friends called the Clifton’s who had just started a new Business, a strange sport called Windsurfing! They needed someone to help out in the shop in Bedford and run a lake at Brogborough.

With no knowledge in what the hell I was doing I was thrown into the deep end and asked to run Clifton Sailboards at Grafham Water that first weekend (in those days Cliftons ran both Brogborough Lake and Grafham water). It was an ordeal for I had no idea what I was talking about. I had never even tried the sport. I prayed that every customer would just require a bit of rope and wouldn’t ask me anything technical. (I sold a lot of rope that day and talked an awful lot of bullshit).

The years rolled by at an alarming speed and during that time I became the manager at Brogborough Lake.

It was the golden years of windsurfing and the club thrived. Wayler Yipsee’s and the like sped out the shop door like there was no tomorrow. Tie on booms of every conceivable variety came and went, many an over tightened bit of rope would cause a resounding explosion that would mean a trip back to the shop.

Years went by and the shop was moved from Bedford to Lakeside. The club continued to thrive and profited from being the only large piece of water (220 acres) devoted entirely to windsurfing in the country.

The Clubhouse burnt down and a new one was erected, toilets and showers were added and we became quite civilised, containers arrived in droves to house everyone’s kit and supply accommodation for the new shop. The only thing we really lacked was electricity; this was overcome in later years with solar panels and a wind turbine (we are very green at Brog).

The late ’80s saw a formidable race team emerge, The likes of Phil and Penny Tyler, Pete Davis, Ian Jamieson and many others too numerous to mention took the long board Race Team by storm and won the National Championships three years running.

The years continued to roll by at an alarming speed and in 2005 I purchased the business from the Clifton’s. For the third time in my life I yet again became self employed. Well it was third time lucky, and in the last five years the lake and shop have continued to thrive. Members are less than in its heyday, but this is made up with more teaching and a very successful hire scheme.

But 27 years is a long time and I think I’m beginning to fray at the edges a bit. I’ve had a good long run but it’s time for the old sea dog to retire from the scene and let someone younger grab the reigns. So I have decided all be it reluctantly at times to throw in the towel. I have made so many friends and the members have always been so supportive and I really have appreciated this, it is like an extended family and at times a bit like Eastenders!

The lease at Brogborough Lake and Tiffen Endless Summer Ltd is now up for sale. It is a life style that is second to none and if the idea grabs you, give me a ring on 01234 768841 or email me at If you look at the web site it will show you how and what we do.

So I guess it’s Farewell to Brogborough. I will miss it!


Brogborough sunset


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