The Student Windsurfing Association

SWA and Goya Exeter Wave X

Exeter rocked some serious socks last weekend when windsurfers from around the country came down to the south west to brave the epic conditions that blessed Dorset and Devon’s shores. It was that time of year again, Wave X (the first of a trilogy of SWA and Goya wave events) was upon us and, with Lyme Regis predicting the best forecast it had ever experienced, it was set to be a sick weekend!

The gale force winds of Friday night bought with them apprehensive and slightly windswept competitors from Bath, Bristol, UEA, Southampton, Plymouth, Cardiff and some slightly older familiar faces from past years. The Ram was filled with nervous but adrenaline soaked apprehension as the reality of the following day’s conditions became apparent and it was soon bed and beauty sleep for the competitors.

In order to get a time for a quick pre-comp sesh down in Lyme it was an early start on Saturday morning and it was still dark when nice warm beds were left and a convoy of kit loaded cars hit the cold and rainy road. It was obvious while driving towards the Dorset coast, through flooded roads and broken trees, that today was going to be intense.

Lyme Regis had lows of 50 mile an hour winds, and although kit was rigged enthusiastically, it took some serious balls for the mincing to end and the wetsuits to be donned. Andrew French represented Exeter epically on some insanely gruesome waves and Sarah Bibby (, Soton) gained some serious respect as the only girl to brave the waves, it was awesome to watch. On the water the pro’s Andy and Steve King, Murray Saunders (Goya) showed off some sick skills to entertain the growing crowd. It was mental, but conditions like that means that kit, and sailors take a severe beating. Lyme saw the first casultie with Ex-Exeter’s Charlie O’Riordan. He looked a disheartened man as he rolled up his massacred sail and placed it in a bin at the edge of the beach after a heroic experience with the rocks. There’s no time to mourn in conditions like that though and within moments a new sail was rigged and he was back out to play.

Unfortunately the conditions at Exmouth stayed mental and the waves confused. So, being the creative people that we are, we ran an expression session instead of the wave riding. Everyone who went out and braved the conditions should be given some serious appreciation, it was an impressive show with back and forward loops been cracked out all over the place and some gnarly tricks being flung around on the waves. It was an immense show case of talent that the SWA should be proud of. The winners were showed some phenomenal skills on the water and were: 1st Stef Hilder (Rat rigs, Zero Gravity Distributions, Goya, Soton), 2nd Scott Perry (Pryde Group Uk,, Astbury Sailsports ltd, Plymouth) and 3rd Seb Wills (Windwise, Cardiff).

Back in Ex an impressive representation from the beginner session in Bristol had turned up to join the party and it was in style that the SWA donned their ruby slippers, lion’s manes and wizard’s hats before wrapping themselves in tinfoil to baffle the streets of Exeter as they followed the yellow brick road to the AU club. In search of brains, hearts, courage and a party the procession of beautifully dressed characters made their tuneful way to see the Wizard of Ex in the VIP room of the Lemmy. It was an epic night: Brains were forgotten about, Hearts were replenished with lots of windsurf love and courage was defiantly found on that dance floor with Taffy Osbourne (Bristol, SWA) chucking out some magical shapes in that cape and leggings. Munchkins, scarecrows, and flying monkeys alike partied the night away as an awesome end to an insane day.

The SWA experienced a completely different Exeter on Sunday as they awoke to find a calm sunshine covered city. Having bid goodbye to the beginners, a crowd of glittery, face paint-covered and slightly delicate windsurfers reconvened in the pub for a prize giving with prizes generously donated by our awesome sponsors: Edge Watersports, Harbour sports and Plasma Boardriders.

WaveX had seen some phenomenal windsurfing and some extreme partying, the Wizard of Ex’s job was done. And the convoy of cars made their way back up the yellow brick M5 and back to Kansas, or wherever it was they’d come from. Congratulations to Exeter for running an awesome event, thanks to Goya specifically sponsoring the SWA Wave Trilogy.

Thanks to all the SWA sponsors for their continuing support: AHD, Boardseeker, Boardwise, Club Vass, Ezzy, Fanatic, Gaastra, Goya, Naish, Plasma, RRD, Severne, Spartan, Starboard, Tabou, Turfdog and Tushingham. Well done everyone who rocked up!

Text: Beth Chandler

Photgraphy: Matthew Williams-Ellis

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