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The Student Windsurfing Association


BUCS Windsurfing Championships 2011

The student windsurfing season came to a dramatic climax in early April at the BUCS Windsurfing Championships 2011.  Calshot Activity Centre was once again alive with race enthusiasm, courtesy of the hosts Southampton University.  Featuring team racing as well as divisional beginners, intermediate and advanced racing, the event boasted 260 eager competitors, 300 party goers and a whole host of demo kit provided by Boardwise, Tabou, Gaastra and RRD.  Due to the looming examinations and dissertations, the BUCS Windsurf Championships is the final event on the SWA calendar.  With such a catalyst in mind, as you would expect, all participants went full power. Work hard, play hard, windsurf harder!  Photos by Javier Choi, Sam Burnett reports....

Breifing_from_the_redbull_van_800x600Having partaken in a national student reunion at De Schneider Hanger the night before, a fresh faced, energetic SWA committee met lots of weary yet excited student faces at the 9 o’clock briefing on Saturday morning.  Confined by early tide times, the students dispersed and their rigging, preparation and assembly took place with military discipline.   In a resourceful effort to get everyone out on the water, the more experienced windsurfers selflessly ensuring the beginners were rigged and ready to represent before seeing to their own needs.

For the BUCS championships and throughout the series, the SWA are fortunate to have help from the big guns.  The windsurfing industry powered through to provide loads of kit to help the less well-funded universities get their students on the water.  Mark Hammond from Boardwise brought the huge Boardwise van full of kit, as did Rich Marsh from Tabou / Gaastra and Adam Sims from RRD.  Huge thanks for these knights in shining armour, who throughout the year have attended our events all over the country,  helping to get students of all abilities windsurfing - true ambassadors to the sport.

Throughout Saturday; beginner, intermediate and advanced racing were all happening at the same time at different locations on Calshot’s spit.  The beginners racing kicked off early and screams of excitement could be heard all the way over to the intermediate beach.  There was a huge beginner turnout and most of these windsurfers were the fruit of the earlier SWA Festival - Aussie Kiss.  Our own home-grown student windsurfers were having a great time racing their little reach out and back.  Some people are intimidated by the competitive nature of racing, but more fun was being had on the beginner beach than anywhere else, as exceptionally comical dismounts, accidental backwinded sailing and general controlled chaos contributed to the friendly atmosphere.CHOI_-BUCS_2011_-_Beginners_800x600

The standard of this year’s intermediates were in a league of their own, compared to that of previous years.  Throughout the day the intermediate course evolved to accommodate the obvious strong abilities of all the competitors, as early out-and-back races were so close that the win came down to a quick dash across the sand, running from the beach to the finish line.  A box course, triangle and finally an even larger triangle course put the intermediates to the test, who had to demonstrate their abilities in all points of sailing.  A few pep talks were given in-between races to help the newbies with upwind angles and such, but aside from that there were very few rescues and fierce competition all the way through the fleet.

The advanced fleet were out to the seafront side of the spit battling with the tide as well as each other.  The BUCS Windsurf Champs, as always, caused many to blow the dust off the old dinosaur long board, a tool viewed with envy by all those struggling to keep up on the upwind legs in the initial light winds.  There were a good few ex RS:X racers in the fleet this year and their years of training showed as they dominated the top 4 positions. As the wind freshened in the second half of the day, the competition suddenly changed as those on the shorter wider boards found they could plane earlier. With the turn in the conditions, the final leg of the course became a desperate downwind, up-tide struggle and from their comfy Chesterfield sofa on the beach the race organisers were also struggling to see who was finishing in what position! Luckily the Southampton Watersports Team led by James Topping were on the finish line to see who would be the 2011 BUCS Windsurfing Champion.

CHOI_-_BUCS_2011_-_Intermediate_Group_800x600The event atmosphere was once again festival-like courtesy of Red Bull who brought along their Mobile party vehicle and event tent combo.  All the non-competing supporters who came along enjoyed the laid back tunes, cosy sun and water action well into the afternoon.  A welcome break from the mounting deadlines awaiting at their retrospective universities,  it really felt like summer was upon us.

With the main event out of the way it was time to hit the decks of the legendary boat party which this year was host to a tribal theme.  With only team racing to rise for the next day, the night was free for flamboyant displays of tribal culture. In strong attendance were Braveheart Scots, Smurfs, Oompa Lumpas, New Zealand All Blacks, Caribbean Coconut ladies, Caribbean Coconut men..... and the list goes on.

The Sunday morning racing had a record 16 teams fighting for the team champion crown and thus heats were heavily contested. The general chaos of the changeover between legs quickly spread the field, allowing teams with the best technique to quickly pull ahead. In heat 2, Team Bath showed initiative at the changeover by sprinting the kit up wind, a cheeky technique that the other teams quickly implemented having seen Becca Kellagher, possibly influenced by her All Blacks fancy dress the night before, charging up wind resembling Jonah Lomu!

With a busy 6 team final, equipment failures, having claimed Exeter 2 in the previous heat, took their toll on Southampton Solent, who were unfortunately forced out of the game.  A stray buoy rope (possibly planted by Exeter) nearly ruined the chances of UWE, but nimble board-dancing from Charlie Money allowed him to raise his fin out of the water - mid race, before chasing down the competition.  Exeter 1 and Birmingham found themselves struggling to maintain what was a comfortable lead, some serious pumping and a tactical gybe line put Charlie ahead to win the last leg of the 

Throughout the university year, the SWA host numerous freestyle, team racing, individual racing and wave sailing competitions. The results of these events go towards some seriously prizes donated by the series sponsor.  This year we had over £3,000 worth of kit generously donated by the likes of Mark from Boardwise, Rich from Tabou Gaastra, Kristian from K3 Designs and John from Spartan Wetsuits.  The results of these series are also presented at the BUCS Windsurfing Championships, as it is the final event of the year.  The Championships themselves are the only official BUCS events of the year, and the sole opportunity to perform on behalf of the university to gain BUCS points.  Therefore, the BUCS Windsurfing Championships presentation has a duel focus; BUCS results and SWA series results.

With the weekend coming to a close, some fantastic British weather made an appearance and the scene was set for the end of year presentation. Head of stage was SWA President Jon Twigg, accompanied by Chris Roberts from BUCS and all of the series sponsors, ready to hand over their prizes to the lucky winners.

The BUCS Windsurfing Championships results are as follows:

BUCS Team racing:

1)       University of West England
2)       Exeter
3)       Cardiff

BUCS Division 1 Racing:

1)       Charlie Money               University of West England
3=)     Sam latham                    Bournemouth
3=)     George Bowles               Bournemouth

1)       Kirsten O'callaghan         Exeter
2)       Joanna Evans                 Nottingham
3)       Rachael Ince                  Exeter

BUCS Division 2 Racing:


1)       Stuart Roberston             Loughborough
2)       Alex Scott                       Exeter
3)       Andy Joseph                   Southampton


1)       Sophie Smith                   University of West England
2)       Phoebe Jordan                Exeter
3)       Lianne Cawthorne            Exeter

BUCS Division 3 Racing:

1)       Lizzie Melish                   Loughborough
2)       Georgie Heslop               Southampton
3)       Katherine O’Flynn           University of West England

1)       Lester Sandles                Cardiff
2)       Fernando Seone              Loughborough
3)       Dan McLean                    Newcastle

The SWA Series Results are as follows:

K3d - Wave Series

1)       ‘SJ’ Steve Jarvis             Southampton 
2)       Matt Yeates                   ULU
3)       Alex Wullschleger           University of West England

BOARDWISE - Freestyle Series

1)       Kirsten O Callaghan        Exeter
2)       Jamie Richardson           Liverpool
3)       Alexandra Powell            Exeter

SWA Advanced Race Series

1)       Charlie Money                 University of West England
2)       Kirsten O’Callaghan          Exeter 
3)       Nathan Lindop                 University of West England

SWA Intermediate Race series:

1)       Stuart robertson             Loughborough
2)       Oliver Ayache                 Liverpool 
2)       Tom Badham Thornhill      Exeter
3)       Amy Taylor                     Exeter

SWA Beginner Race Series:

1        Ed Trollope                     Exeter
2        Lester Sandles                Cardiff
3        Lizzie Melish                   Loughborough

SPARTAN Team Racing Series:

1)       University of West England 
2)       Exeter
3)       Cardiff

CHOI_-_BUCS_2011_-_Winners_800x600BUCS Windsurfing Championships 2011 Prize Winners

So that’s it from the world of student windsurfing for the 2010/2011 season.  Catch us again next year in October when our legendary Aussie Kiss festival is back bigger and better than ever celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Thankyou to all the SWA sponsors and the BUCS official sponsors:

Red Bull:  BUCS Official Energy Drink Partner

Kukri:  BUCS Official Teamwear Partner