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The state of British Wave Sailing competitions!!!!!!

Posted by the guru 
i've watched the uk wave scene for years and it does seem pretty disatisfactory, but like anything actually worth doing, it takes a real effort to turn this type of problem around. Like, it is fine and valid to say that the contest needs to be judged by sailors, not people who used to sail, or people who work for magazines...but, if you say this, then you need to be prepared to step up to the plate yourselves, put in the effort and judge stuff / turn up at events etc etc..

so why doesn't 'ripper' who actually seems pro-active on this, put together a group of 10 or so guys who are prepared to put time in to this, like louise, adrian, clyde, andy king...(if he swears less)...and you guys actually make this happen..i mean louise has proved with boardseeker that things can change, and decent progress can be made, but it takes, time / effort and commitment, not just words..and certainly not bitching, as that doesn't help anyone.

Now, it's dull, but to make this kind of thing happen, you need the players, so if Jon Hibbard gets off his thaitheknot website for long enough, you need him on board, and Louise, and if you can, John Skye...you need them, they promote the sport and will hence promote the events...you need to face facts, sponsors need names, events need sponsors, so get them on board...otherwise, surely you're just dreaming. cos you need to be in the magazines..surely that's what it's all about...re-igniting the scene and making it pr worthy.

and use people that have legal knowledge, like the chap who posted on here earlier, the health and safety guy...i mean, he could save you time and money...so talk to him.

but, please stop bitching about people who can't sail, judging events..at least they are making an effort..and while they may be shit / wrong / make 6 minute heats when 8 or 12 would be better / at least they are trying, because without them, there would probably be nothing, and surely that would be worse.
Re: The state of British Wave Sailing competitions!!!!!!
23 November '07 | 5:08pm
[EDIT- hadn't read Logo's post when i wrote this one....]

Great to see some interesting and helpful posts.
Thanks for the info and offers of help Bruce and Neal, you may be called upon!

I think to some extent the problem in the past has been sponsors and the need for a 'result' at all costs. I'm a super keen windsurfer and will pretty much go out in anything, but i can remember several contests where I'd rather have stayed in the van, gone home or gone round the corner than go out and embaress myself. (infact usually, i think we're f*cking jinxed sometimes..)
I've also had friends who have done 1 event and vowed never again; as they were beaten by a 14yr old wiggling about on a 6in wave and wondering why they'd just spent ?60.
But I don't blame the organisors for this, they do their best and it's usually due to outside pressures.

I'd also head down to Gwithian for the weekend on the first decent forecast to go wavesailing for fun, and how many times have i done that this year? ZERO times! not once in 11 months (i realise i may have inadvertantly missed the odd session) So for anyone to expect conditions good enough to run a Pro event on a set weekend in May is having a laugh. I'd guess there's a 10% chance at best,but probably less.

Good conditions don't happen that often, it's a sad fact of a windsurfers life in blighty.
If events were windy, we wouldn't be posting on this forum..

So what can we do about it?

If we decide on a Friday night to go on a mega forecast to any beach (which is what I'd love to see) I can't see that we can do it with all the necesary insurance,rescue,permission,etc.
If I'm wrong please correct me.
If I do run such a thing, it will be invite only, purely for fun and the first anyone will know about it (other than those on my list) will be a few days after it's happened. It has to be that way.

So what about everyone else? (amatuers, juniors, spectators..)

Let's forget about the 'wavejam' on here and see what we can run for everyone.
Going on the posts,emails and phone calls it seems we need something like this...

6 pre-planned good locations.
spread around the UK to take advantage of any forecast.
(eg. southerly- Gwithian, NorthWest- Runton, southwest-Rossy, etc)
Have these 'roll over' for as many weekends as poss during the best periods for wind.
Call them on the Thursday night. (friday pref, but i guess not realistic)
Ukwa sanctioned.
Involve the local dealers.
Have the necesary's in place, so it can be open to everyone.
This could still be a 'november-april' series. (but really would be best all yr)

I'd love to see this happen. Is this possible?
I don't think I'd find it easy to organise myself, I'm completely green, but will certainly give some time to help if it's needed and if people could show me the ropes who knows.

I'm still wanting to play though..
and I'm feeling slightly uncomfortable with being a grown-up!

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 23/11/2007 | 5:14pm by ripper.
Re: The state of British Wave Sailing competitions!!!!!!
23 November '07 | 5:12pm
It took me so long to write my rubbish, I've only just read your spot-on reply Logo.
Well said!

I haven't heard a peep out of 90% of the pro's (or any sailors for that matter) as it happens!!!(only thumbs up from Proffitt,Phil,Clyde,Andy and the juniors)
But lots of useful input and help from everyone else! (Louise, Ade, Ian Jones, SWA, Si Crowther,Si Bassett,Fred,Bill..)

I'm not backing out of this stuff, I will be chasing people and doing my best to make something happen, but I can't do diddly on my own.

We need to decide first of all exactely what it is that we want/need and how best to make things work. Some more feedback from the competitors would be nice. (polite and well thought out feedback that is)

'The Underground Raver'..

ps. I'm away again, Kirby tomorrow, Runton or fraisthorpe sunday, and no it's not a heads up!

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 23/11/2007 | 6:33pm by ripper.
Firstly sorry for not contrinuting earlier to this discussion, often for real issues forums cause more problems than solving them..

My honest opinion is that although there are many problems with our tour, its actually pretty good. Sure 6 minutes was a short time in west Wittering, but when you look at how long we had to finish the full contest, it was the only option. And at least it was only 1 wave and 2 jumps.... that was pretty easy to get in those conditions. So many times in contests people don't want to compete when its crappy, but often thats the only option. WW was tiny, difficult and short heats... but was also the only day of wind in about a month!! I think we should be super happy just to have a result.

Contest sailing isn't like normal sailing, its about doing your best in what you are given. For sure sometimes the judges get it wrong and sometimes things go against you, but that is always just part of competing. When they go for you, you forget about it and bask in the glory, when they go against you, you remember it for the rest of your life. I can tell you every split decision I lost in PWA heats, but I would struggle to remember 1 that went for me. In the end its about who in the judges opinion can do the best in the time given, no matter how short or long it is.

I have had some experience of other systems of judging. The windsurf Challenge event had the sailors split in 2, and they each judged each other. This was done properly with score sheets etc. It worked pretty good, but needs a few key things to really work. 1. alot of time, 2. small fleets 3. ideally good weather and 4. Friends (and nothing at stake). It took ages to organize and get through 3 heats, plus to do this in the UK you would need loads of vans on the beach, none of which mind getting wet. Its a different thing sitting on a beach in Board shorts writing scores on a dry piece of paper.... doing it in the pissing rain would be a nightmare. It does work though, but I dont think is the answer to the UKWA contests. I am sure if it came to the wire between 2 sailors for a big title, the judging could become a little unfair.

The video method is again great on paper. Everyone go sailing all day and then have a beer and decide the winner. Problem there is that whilst the camera is following Andy King going for another massive double, joe blogs has just pulled 2 massive tweaked pushies and a perfect 360 on the inside. In the end the winner will probably be the one that the cameraman expects to win and follows the most.

So in the end my conclusions are that the current system is probably the best to crown a proper UK champion. Nobody can deny that Johny H didn't deserver the title this year and also that Andy King was very unlucky. Things happened to go John's way this year, but I don't believe that was because the system was wrong, he just sailed intelligently and had the luck.

However I do think there are some changes needed to the current system:
1. Refresh the heat draw. I think everyone is over doing 15 heats to eliminate 1 sailor. Waste of everyones time.
2. Try to organise it better so people can compete quickly and then go sailing. At the moment it takes all day hanging around, getting cold, missing good windsurfing and in the end you are over it. Heats 1 after the other quickly, result...then go sailing!

It would be great to arrange the WIND JAM events on top as I fully agree that its great to get everyone together WHEN ITS WINDY and all go sailing. I think its a different thing, but probably a lot more fun. Good luck Ripper. I look forward to it.
fair points what john said

here's what I reckon you should do...and it's just a thought, and what do I know anyway...
leave the ukwa doing what they are doing....like john said, it does a job, and it may suck occasionaly and needs to be refined, but at least it works, i mean, at least it produces a result..which is very important.

but why don't you do what 'ripper' suggests and run another series, as a second to the ukwa, so it's kind of like an experiment, and why don't you use boardseeker as a catalyst to do this.

So, you run 'the boardseeker wave series' or something like that.

3 or so rollover events over the winter..
Maybe they take place at Rhosneiger, Gwithian (or somewhere in Cornwall) and Hayling.
Announce them / make the call, like ripper said, on the Thursday.
Everyone watches boardseeker to see if it'll happen / the call be made.
At some point if conditions come about, the call is made, and people head there...

And for the time being, these events remain unofficial, but use boardseeker which sort of gives them credability, and publicises them.
You could do that filming thing, and have a judges champion (which is the peers present on the day) and the peoples champion, who look on boardseeker at the footage (filmed at the event) and decide...best move etc, like you did for that jumping comp a while back. Then use this series to try out various ways of judging...it's more light hearted / but still produces amazing footage / great photos and a result.

I don't know, these are just ideas, but if there was an unofficial event announced somewhere I could see (such as boardseeker), then as a non-competing sailor, i'd head down there and watch, or look on the internet at the footage, that's for sure. It's really cool for non-competing sailors to sail around / in the vicinity of you guys...

This may be all pie in the sky, i'm sure the legal issues are endless, rescue cover / health and safety / accommodation etc...but where does the line exist. For example, ocean motion can take 30 windsurfers to a beach and sail without permission / any shop can run a racing series...when does something become an official event? Is it when money is involved...because if that was the case, surely that could be avoided for a while? Or would no one compete without prize money???

these are just thoughts...apologies if i'm being naive about certain aspects...I'd just like to see it work for you guys.
sorry and as for who has access to the events...
you invite your top 16 or top 20, so whoever they are..

andy king

sod knows, i'm only guessing names..

and then obviously when there are places free, which there will be, what with people in South Africa / Maui etc, these are filled by wildcards from an expression session that happens first. Then it gives others the chance to compete...

and then when this event is over, everyone gets to sail together. Surely that's nice.
Anyway, that's my input. Apologies if it repeats some ideas from rippers earlier posts...
Good luck...
Re: The state of British Wave Sailing competitions!!!!!!
25 November '07 | 10:23pm
Good posts.

Logo, your post is uncanny, so much of it echoes what has already been said behind the scenes.

It may be the case that a few things now happen, with various levels of organisation/insurance and reliance on forecasts. As the possible 'organisers' read this forum and haven't posted their intensions, I won't do it for them. But there will probably be some 'fixed location with rollover' type events. I hope so.

I'm going to do my thing anyway, completely for fun, but also for the photo/video stuff. A lot of the Pro's are away, but I'm sure it'll be worth it and a good laugh. See how it goes.
Andy King
Re: The state of British Wave Sailing competitions!!!!!!
25 November '07 | 10:46pm
I apologise if I offended any one with some swear words, should have used " @;;" etc but made the mistake of not thinking b4 I typed...on an earier post. Likewise I apologise to the organisers of the WW event, especially Trevor. I still don't agree that the delay in starting, and 6min heats were right but hey, I guess like John Skye says at least they ran an event, slightly easier to say when your sat in Maui, getting paid to windsurf and you won said event, "with out even having to pull out a one handed eagle win or extra wave wiggle!". Anyway Iam sure that no one listens to what I write any how so hopefully havent offended too many readers, and those I have offended dislike me already, so no change there then!

Good luck with the events nxt year !
Re: The state of British Wave Sailing competitions!!!!!!
26 November '07 | 9:15am
One of the main events this year was Rhosniegr, part of the 4 nations cup and a quarter of the national championship.
It's the only event I entered, so it's the only one I can comment on. It was forecast windy and turned out to be windy and wavey, and was great fun and a joy to be part of..

BUT, there were only 3 'real pros' there (King, Hibbard, Proffitt)
I came 4th and in honesty there were only a handful of other profleet sailors there. (I'm guessing 7 or 8 in total?)

I'd hardly call that healthy.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 28/11/2007 | 4:26pm by ripper.
Andy, know exactly what you mean (that's why i apologised for the rant!!) the whole reason lots of us don't compete any more is exactly as you say that there is little or no support for the professional riders and as you say it's hard to know what to do to encourage out of industry sponsorship- lets face it in-industry help outside individual deals is not gonna happen cos most of the importers just don't have enough money to make a difference. no what really annoyed me is that people slag off the organisers and volunteers and as far as i can tell they've never lifted a finger to contribute ( i definately don't include you on that list!)
the idea of less formal events is probably the way to go but as always the sponsors only come with guaranteed numbers- there are obviously way more than thirty wave sailors in the uk so maybe a format more like the fatface event with an empahsis on fun rather than competition is the way forward. would be happy to help run things but as you said to get the 'pros' interested you need the prize fund and the coverage.
ps it's not illegal to kite as well!!!
Hey everyone,

I've just found this thread and have spent the last 30mins playing catch up on what everyone has been saying. Back on page 2 somewhere 'Ripper' mentioned that he was going to find out how other organisations run their wave events so here's some info about the SWA (Student Windsurf Assoc.) and how we run our Wave series.

Our Mission Statement: The SWA is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to promoting, coordinating and advancing Student Windsurfing in the UK. Most of the people that run the SWA are like myself, Ex-students that give up our time to make windsurfing more accessable and cheaper for current students. Why? because we love seeing people on the water at windsurf events and having a laugh at partys so we organise more and make them better!!

As well as a Race Series, Freestyle Series and Women's Series we have the RRD/Ezzy Wave Series.

The SWA festival we run in October is specifically run by the SWA, we have public liability insurance for this and the whole year which we pay for using money VERY generously donated by all our sponsors including Boardseeker- Thanks guys!

The rest of the events are organised by the university presidents. Let me take the next one as an example:

Exeter are hosting their 'Wave X' on the 30thNOV-2ndDEC. Here's how they have done it:

Liss, the windsurf club president has provided comprehensive Health and Safety plans to the university sports union who have given them the thumbs up to hold an event. The club is the event 'organisor' backed up by the Sports Union's insurance. They have booked and paid for Rescue cover through the RNLI and have an Inshore rescue boat and Beach rescue truck plus some legendary RNLI people to operate them.
Each competitor, whether they are coming down from Liverpool uni, Southampton, Swansea, London or one of the other 50+ unis in the SWA's books, has 3rd party insurance through their own university Sports union.

The SWA has helped make the event possible by providing advice regarding sourcing rescue cover, event budgeting, advertising through the website (www.swa.co.uk), online payment and event booking for competitors and prizes through our sponsors. (This year the top wave sailor is getting an '08 Ezzy Wave sail so they're all pretty keen!)

We keep our events as cheap as possible (?20 for most) and for this each competitor gets accomodation, food, rescue cover, party ticket and event wife for this event...

Some of the Wave events are run as Flexi-events, two weekends are chosen and the one with the best forecast nearer the time is selected.

Our competitions are in general judged by pro sailors and/or our sponsors who take the time to come help encourage students into the sport, Andy King is coming along to this event and offering wave clinics plus helping with some judging. We don't expect huge moves from our competitors but as last year's Exeter event saw one handed stalled forwards and some need tabletops in mental conditions at Bigbury, we are looking forward to seeing what gets pulled out the bag at this year's series!

I hope that helps give an insight into who we are and what we do for the people out there who have missed out on the student windsurf scene!

Hopefully we will see a load of you at the Bluff this weekend and if you fancy taking a break from the waves then come say 'hi' and help judge the event!

Check out the website for more info www.swa.co.uk or reply here and i'll get back to you!

Hey all,

I've been reading this thread this morning and had a few thoughts...forgive me if they have already been mentioned.

In my opinion there is nothing wrong with the judges not being amazing sailors. I think being a good judge for a competition is hard enough in it's own right. You have got to watch 4 sailors (or more) at a time on the water and it is unsurprising if a move ocassionally gets missed... That's why there is a number of judges surely? In the same way that good judges may not always be good sailors, i don't think that good sailors will always be good judges either.

The problem with UK wave sailing competion is usually 1). The conditions and 2). the number of people at events. One of these we can do very little about. However I think that wave sailing competition, and windsurfing comp in general, would be vastly improved if competion began at a local level.

Local shops and organisers should take on the responsibility of running competitions at their home beaches for the local sailors. With a little bit of organisation and advertising this would be great for the local community and make competition accessible to all without needing to travel miles across the country for a weekend of shit wind. These comps could be one day sign up on the day comps with minimal costs? Riders that enjoy these comps or perform well will then be more likely to feed into the UKWA.

Local Shops and organisations are the way forward in improving UK wave sailing comps.


Re: The state of British Wave Sailing competitions!!!!!!
26 November '07 | 1:12pm
That's way cool Beaker, It's great to know that's all happening and you've got yourselves some great events. I been told you'd run a few un-insured events last year, but were now sorted, didn't realise just how sorted!!

The comment about hiring the RNLI is interesting, I had know idea you could, how much are we talking?

I guess you've seen the forecast for Gwithian this weekend? 25ft on Saturday!! and 5*'s and 16st on sunday!! We may well see you there!
Murray Saunders
Re: The state of British Wave Sailing competitions!!!!!!
26 November '07 | 1:14pm
dont want to enter any of the controversey. here is what we did for a student event. Windsurfing competitions should offer banter, we all give it on the beach. check out what we did for a promo vid: [www.youtube.com]
Re: The state of British Wave Sailing competitions!!!!!!
26 November '07 | 1:32pm
smiling smiley Brilliant.

so you can run at any beach then?
cheers for the posts from the students, you're making the rest of us look a right bunch of monkey's..
Uninsured Events? Not ruddy likely! As a Company Director that sounds like a massive headache and not something which the SWA has ever entertained as being the way in which we want to operate. I'm a little concerned about where that story came from infact..!

As our events are for students and the SWA is comprised mainly of recently graduated students, we admit that a lot of craziness goes on but what is a windsurf event without carnage! We still have very stringent rules which our event organising unis need to comply with and we won't let an event go ahead unless we are happy that the event will be safe, well-organised and fun!

I have definately seen the forecast and will be heading down to the bluff before the wknd, friday morning prob!


ps. Correction to my earlier post: You get an 'event wife-beater' at the exeter event, not an 'event wife' winking smiley worst luck...
Re: The state of British Wave Sailing competitions!!!!!!
27 November '07 | 12:18am
Sorry, didn't mean to insinuate you weren't running tight ship.

Do you want to tell us about the RNLI or any other information we might find helpful?

Are you sure it's the RNLI?, they told me they don't operate below St Agnes or hire themselves out?!
The lifeguards on the other hand..

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 27/11/2007 | 1:00pm by ripper.
Hey Ripper,

Well the contact we booked through is Steven Penberthy who is the Volunteer Development Officer for the RNLI Lifeguards. He is also a Trainer at the Hayle Surf Life Saving Club so not sure in which capacity he is acting in helping us!

At our event we are getting:
1 x Inshore Rescue Boat
1 x Surf Rescue Truck
2 x Rescue Boards
Full 1st Responder medical Equipment
2 x Beach Lifeguards/Inshore Rescue boat Crew

Pretty comprehensive stuff which hopefully we won't be needing!!
Hope that helps,

ps. JohnH - I still reckon you rip, Now get along to a student windsurf event and teach us how! winking smiley
Re: The state of British Wave Sailing competitions!!!!!!
28 November '07 | 4:21pm
Hi Beaker, and thanks for the reply.

Sounds pretty similar to the info I was given by the peeps at [www.beach-lifeguard.co.uk]
A bit out of our price range at this stage, but cheap enough if i could gurantee 30 entrants to pay a reasonable entry fee.
They were nation wide, so i guess they might use the same people if in Cornwall/devon.

I'm not entirely sure that was Johnny Rock posting?! If it is I hope he's joking.

We're aiming to run under the UKWa's insurance and hope to promote them and the sport. Just waiting for a new wider insurance to be sorted that can involve more random events.
Hi guys,

Just heard about this thread from Beaker. I'm also a director at the SWA and we've looked into event insurance and liability a bit, here's my thoughts on wave events...

Wave events are generally a bit of a minefield. When we organise lake based events we do everything by the RYA book and so if there were ever any accidents we'd say that we followed procedure and took all necessary measures to minimise risks. Also that way the insurance we have covers us.

As far as I know there aren't any regulations regarding wave events set out by the RYA or any other body. This poses a problem as one person organising an event could say they took all necessary measures to minimise risk and a prosecuting party could claim they didn't and there's no governing body to back you up.

Insurance and disclaimers also aren't the be all and end all of event safety. If you can be shown to be negligent in any of your actions in organising an event, neither insurance nor a disclaimer will protect you.

I was just thinking of any similar sports where events can be held in extreme conditions and the only one that springs to mind is offshore yachting. Anyone know how the insurance or event organisation works for this?

We don't actually organise any wave events at the moment. Individual unis take that responsibility and we just advertise. Although last year we were all set to run one at Avon beach on a forecast, with the help of Mark from spot on water and full cooperation from Avon beach Co. unfortunately we never got the conditions.


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