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Last weekend, over 300 students descended on Roadford Lake for the biggest Student Windsurfing Festival worldwide: Aussie Kiss 15.

Ran by the Student Windsurfing Association, this weekend combines beginner tuition, competition, and legendary parties to create the highlight of the windsurf calendar.

Friday night saw students travel from as close as Exeter and as far as Leeds to arrive in the (slightly muddy) fields of Roadford. This year, for the first time ever, the weekend embraced its full festival potential, with the students pitching their tents at the lakeside (with varying levels of success!)

After picking up their event festival t-shirt (produced by sponsors Supersaturated) the students headed to the party to catch up on a long summer apart. Saturday morning saw the weekend officially kick off with a big SWA welcome before the windsurfing commenced. A fantastic team of instructors provided tuition for over 100 students, many of whom were windsurfing for the first time. For those a little more experienced, new SWA sponsors ‘Shaka Student Travel’ were on hand to provide clinics on beach starts and more. And for those who just wanted to get on the water, long-standing SWA sponsors Boardwise brought lots of shiny demo kit for the students’ disposal.

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Fuelled by Red Bull’s tunes and beverages, the students carried their energy straight through to the legendary Saturday night fancy dress party. This year’s theme of ‘Circus’ saw bearded ladies, acrobats and mimes head to the Big Top for a night not to forget. Concert Solutions provided music and lighting through to the early hours and outrageous moves were thrown on the (slightly muddy) dance floor.

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Although the night before had left some of them slightly worse for wear, the students were undeterred by the rain and headed down to the lake to huddle under the star tents under the promise of wind. The wind didn’t fail to deliver, turning up just in time for an epic showdown in the team racing.

With 19 teams competing through many heats, in the end it was Southampton who showed why they are the ones to beat, putting in three quality legs with impeccable change-overs to come home in first place. Not far behind them, and bringing home vital points for the overall SWA series, were Exeter and Birmingham, who rounded out the podium.

With winds creating borderline conditions, the freestyle competition saw a variety of tactics – with everything from front loops, body drags and vulcans to the slightly more conservative ‘sitting down sailing’.

Putting together a great heat and following through in the final, last year’s SWA freestyle champion Charlie Wilson (Southampton) showed why he is the one to beat, rounding off his competition with an epic ‘superman’ dismount. They are definitely doing something right in Southampton as 2nd and 3rd went to Oliver Bull and Nathaniel Warren (both of Southampton) respectively, who also showed some top quality moves to woo the crowd.

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Exhausted, the weekend rounded off with the farewell and prizegiving. David Salmon was awarded top instructor, winning a free instructor course for his university courtesy of sponsor Colwyn Bay Watersports and James Cameron of Birmingham was named keenest fresher.

AK15 was a massive success, and has undoubtedly kicked off the SWA season with a bang. Next up on the SWA tour is Birmingham, who will be hosting their second ‘Up The Brum’ from 28th-30th October – keep an eye on www.studentwindsurfing.co.uk for tickets

A massive thank you to all our sponsors who provided prizes, equipment, safety and support on the ground for the event, without whom it wouldn’t have been such a great weekend!

Team Race

  1. Southampton
  2. Exeter
  3. Birmingham
  4. Cardiff
  5. Birmingham 2

Freestyle

  1. Charlie Wilson (Southampton)
  2. Oliver Bull (Southampton)
  3. Nathaniel Warren (Southampton)

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