Rhosneigr and the Avon Takeover.

'Emile, darling, ' I said whilst in Bed in our travel lodge on Friday night. 'you know, the worst thing that can happen in tomorrows comp, is that we will be drawn together in the first heat. You won in Cornwall, and I will be last seed'. 'But that will ruin our friendship forever' returned Emile. Will Barrett, in the other bed. Snored sweetly.

Team Avon

We arrived  early Saturday morning at Rhossy to see it pumping, Pro fleet were completing the double elimination on 4.7, and 4.2. Adam Lewis charging through the fleet from last place with a dazzling display of double forwards, wave 360's and very high backloops. Our local here, James Cox, resided in 5th place. Probably the best he could realistically hope for, since we only sail on port tack probably once a year and all the people above him are PWA top 10 potential, whom spend all winter sailing with the wind from the wrong side.

Sure enough, the names pulled out the hat, heats drawn and the inevitable happened. The first round heat of death, even in the amateur fleet. Emile and myself were up against Scotty McDowell (who probably sailed more than anyone over the weekend) and who usually wins this fleet and a Rhosneigr local who is pretty handy. The top two went through and I was sure it wasn't going to be me.

On the otherside of the draw there was a strong Avon contingent. Ben Page, Mike Archer and Mike Wand Tetley. Its fair to say we have had a lot of good sailing over the winter, but only from the right.

Back to the beach. Red flag went down. I came in and thought I did an ok heat. I was on a 4.2 and a Frugal 88, a board which seemed to make something decent of a pretty onshore day.My last run out, Scotty did a pretty high forward right in front of me. With 20 seconds left it was do or die, and with Coxy's words ringing in my ears "just go balls deep", I head full speed for a much bigger wave than I would normal forward off, just went for it and hung on to preserve the future.

It must of worked as to genuine shock I won the heat. I was gutted that Emile was knocked out. Later it transpired that it was actually man on man. Emile and I scored the highest out of the 4.

Turning to the semi final. The conditions looked to have gotten trickier and a little lighter. Kind  of a little too light for a 4.2 and a bit too much for the 5.0 I had rigged on the beach. Perfect for a 4.5, which I had de rigged earlier. I also had to beat Scotty McDowell, who had previously been nailing loads of really good back loops. Something I definitely can't do on port tack.

The best strategy in a wave heat is always to fill the score card. With 14 minute heats,  a vast improvement, on when I previously competed when it was a mere 8 minutes, sometimes even 6. It meant that you can actually plan your heat and think about what you want to do. My plan was to start with a forward on the run out. Then as it was two jumps do a table top. Only thing is I am shockingly bad at table tops on port tack. To even call them a table top is probably an insult to even the crappest dining furniture. Next in the plan was to pick up a decent swell, and do a couple of backside turns to show that the wave had been selected, then link as many turns to the beach ensuring I had done enough frontside turns. This was made pretty easy on the Frugal 88, and I reckon the board won me the heats. (Thanks Ben). I decided to hold back on really smacking the lip, thinking that could be a bit of lottery and best to save for the last wave of the heat. If I had managed to do this, then in the last few minutes of the heat I aimed to do as big a forward loop as I could do.

Simmer Frugal 88, pretty special board.

With all this in mind, I was still worried about Scotty's back loops. The good thing in competitions is that you kind of forget your limits and go for it. Midway through the heat this decent wave picked up and I decided to throw myself into a pushloop. I have never done a pushloop on port tack. It went ok, well, I didnt land, but rotated all the way round. Mistakenly thought that might get me points. I also hadn't done a forward yet, but had two solid wave rides, meaning I was probably losing the heat. Looking at my watch I had 6 minutes to go and saw the others struggling a little as the wind dropped. I definitely didnt have enough power to jump, so sailed in, picked up my 5.0 and Quantum 95. Went out, way powered up and just did forwards until I landed a good one, with a bit of stall, out back. Turns out that got me into the final. Stoke factor was at a competition all time high. It was dark and cold. Duncan was determined to get the final done before 9pm! I was too, otherwise it would mean an early start in the morning rather than waiting at the end of the double elimination.

The final as it turned out was a bit of a homecoming. It was an Avon Beach final. The 2 Mikes, Ben Page and myself. I've been sailing with Ben a lot over the winter so thought it was pretty epic we had both made the final, quite ironically in completely the opposite conditions that we have had on the southcoast!

It started well, apparently I was leading until the wind dropped and it was postponed. Eventually at about 8.30pm the re run got underway. Everyone really tired and cold since we had been on the water since 9.30 that morning. I was nicely powered on 5.0 and Quantum 95 and went with the same strategy. Long waverides with linking turns. Crap table top. High forward and try a pushloop (which went even better, but not landed. I think it went pretty well, I stayed well upwind in front of the judges whilst the others sailed too far downwind into the wind shadow. The only thing playing on my mind was that Mike Archer hand landed a nice backloop earlier. With the ramps disappearing, I couldn't find anything much to jump off. 20 seconds to the red flag I had good speed, a good ramp. Randomly decided the best move to do was one that I have not even tried in 8 years, a table top forward. Sadly, it was neither table top, or forward..

Everyone on the beach reckoned the whole heat was pretty close, listening to what some of the others did, I conceeded it would probably be a 4th place. I was happy with that, my aim was not to go out in the first round.

So it came as a massive surprise when Duncan Coombes read out 4th, and 3rd place and neither was my name. Turned out that Mike Archer won, later I found out by half a point.that is 0.5 of a point, a fraction away from victory...

Even later in the bar, discussing the heats over a few ales with John Skye who was judging, he mentioned that in the amateur fleet you just need 2 jumps. Any two jumps, not from different categories... Whaaaaat? I said. So basically I spent a good bit of time embarrassing myself with lame tabletops!!.. If only I had done a really good forward on the last wave I might have just got the win....maybe, maybe, maybe.

The next day was all about the double elimination. Emile was psyched and on a mission, not happy with going out first round he was completely up for it. It was westerly, so starboard tack on the other side of the bay with some really fun waves. I think I can safely say that all four finalists were thinking that there is no way that we were going to beat Emile if he continued. Massive backies and solid waveriding. However, after winning two rounds he forgot the major rule of contest sailing. Fill the score card. It was two waves to count and one jump. He did two big backies, but only one wave and was out. To Will Barrett, the other guy he arranged Friday night accommodation for, and wing man for the trip.

All together it was such a good event, with really fun sailing. Exactly what I needed, a reminder of the old days , enough to warm some competitive blood and a good little adventure.

There are some amazing pictures taken by JC on www.windsurf.co.uk

And who knows, the next windsurf could be the round the island...


  1. Wow, so jealous that i couldn't make it


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