Planning your next windsurfing trip? Well it doesn’t have to be to some far flung destination, as the RYA point out.
When fellow windsurfers get together and discuss going on a windsurfing holiday, a few locations generally seem to surface again and again. Egypt, Tarifa and the Canaries are firm favourites, whilst occasionally someone might throw in somewhere exotic like the Caribbean just to make everyone start dreaming and saving.
The point is though that rarely do you hear people talking half as dreamily about taking a windsurfing holiday in the UK. This is despite the fact that in the summer, and particularly the early autumn, the UK is capable of dishing up some spectacular windsurfing venues and, if you time it right, spectacular conditions. If you’re really lucky, you might even get some glorious weather.
This can often get overlooked, but given the tough times in which we live, perhaps it’s time for us to stop dreaming of far flung shores and knuckle down to the more rustic pleasures of a windsurfing holiday on your doorstep. The word ‘Staycation’ can apply to Windsurfers, too.
To be fair, there are a number of fairly significant advantages to a windsurfing holiday in the UK even if you look beyond damage limitation to your wallet.
First up, let’s not forget that the UK has the most extensive selection of RYA training centres in the world, so you’re spoilt for choice in that department, and that means good facilities and excellent training programmes if you’re looking to progress. In addition to this, if you have a family to bring along then they can also benefit from RYA instruction leaving you free to get on with the important matter of windsurfing guilt free.
There is also that all important element of flexibility that a holiday in the UK can provide you with. Plan to head abroad and once you’ve booked your tickets, the whole trip is set in stone, leaving you to sweat it out on Windguru and the like to find out whether there will be any wind on your trip. With any luck, if you’re planning a UK based trip, there is a bit more freedom to reschedule or change the venue if the breeze is looking awful.
Beyond that, a trip to a UK windsurfing location can often uncover a hidden gem and the beauty is that many of the UK’s most spectacular surfing venues are, well, spectacular. Areas such as Tiree, Isle of Wight and the north coasts of Cornwall and Wales are all known as top class windsurf spots with RYA Training Centres nearby, yet they’re also known as top class holiday destinations in their own right, so even if the wind falls light, it’s not as if there won’t be plenty of other attractions around to keep you entertained.
The next question is where to stay?
There is a shortlist of suggested destinations below but there are hundreds more to choose from. Whether you fancy roughing it really is your shout and depends on your budget and hardiness. There are plenty of us out there who are pretty content to simply sleep in a van or tent and dedicate ourselves to hard-core windsurfing. This is certainly hugely economical, but perhaps a little too rugged for the tastes of some (or possibly their partners?)
A sound alternative is the good old B&B, but a third hugely tempting option is to go for an RYA training centre, which has accommodation, attached. Tiree and Derwent Water (listed below) are two such training centres. This has the added advantage of meaning that they’ll be geared up to deal with windsurfers and won’t mind you bringing your stinking wetsuit into the shower!
Food for thought
Dear old blighty is often overlooked when it comes to planning a holiday, but anyone who has witnessed the majesty of Tiree or Corverack Bay with the magnificent rugged Cornish coast in the background will attest that when it comes to a windsurfing holiday, the UK still has a lot to offer.
So here is just a small sample of where you could go:
South West: Coverack, Cornwall
Coverack Windsurfing Centre is RYA recognised and provides training for all levels of windsurfing. Call 01326 280939.
South: Poole Harbour, Lepe beach in the Solent, Hayling beach, Hayling Island, the whole of the Isle of Wight, Portland Harbour, home of the Olympics and Weymouth Speed Week.
Central: Rutland Water
Rutland Watersports provide a range of kit and training. Call 01780 460154.
Wales; Plas Menai, Welsh National Watersports Centre. Call 01248 670964. Rhosneigr Bay, the Gower peninsular, Pwllheli and the Llyn peninsula
North West: Derwent Water Marina
Derwent Water Marina offers training, kit and also accommodation in the heart of the Lake District. See if you can master those wind shifts! Call: 01768 772912.
Wild Diamond Watersports provide training and camping facilities. Call: 01879 220399.
To find your nearest RYA Training Centre and more information about RYA training courses visit www.rya.org.uk