British Wave sailing Association 2018
The BWA is the organisation within the UKWA that runs four specific wave sailing events for the British Championship. Once again this year the four events were to be hosted at Rhosneigr in North Wales, Avon Beach in Dorset, Tiree in Scotland and Gwithian in Cornwall.
Apart from Tiree each of the weekend events is run on a ‘roll over’ basis to give a better chance of scoring good wind and waves. With further education adding to the time pressure for ‘Team Pettit’ it was never going to be possible for anyone other than Grahame to commit to the 8 possible weekends including often travelling & sailing on the preceding Fridays.
Rhosneigr – Round 1
Despite a good forecast and the Pro Fleet who have the option of sailing on either the Friday or the Monday Round 1 at Rhosniegr was cancelled to all other fleets. The Pros did in fact get the year off to a great start with a Adam Lewis taking the win from local man Phil Horrocks and Andy ‘Bubble’ Chambers in 3rd.
Avon Beach – Round 2
After postponing the first weekend the conditions looked good and the call was made on the Wednesday evening to run the event. Friday delivered epic conditions and the pro fleet once again got the event underway with the single elimination. After some unusually good South Coast conditions the result favoured some excellent sailing by the locals with Andy ‘Bubble’ Chambers scoring his first BWA win with Ben Proffitt and James Cox taking 2nd& 3rdrespectively.
Unfortunately overnight the conditions changed and the conditions were deemed un-contestable for the other fleets. We did however all take to the water on the Saturday and compete in a very entertaining ‘expression session’ to ensure we could award the most important sponsor prizes of Conker Gin!
This in turn led to some very sore heads after the Saturday night party held at the Jimmys Iced Coffee HQ where Colin ‘Whippy’ Dixon decided there was no point in having a free bar without a suitable drinking game of Gin Pong!
Tiree – Round 3
Tiree is always the biggest and best round of the tour. With a massive 600 mile drive and 12 hour journey including the Cal Mac ferry it is not for the feint hearted! Sadly due to her college commitments Jenna wasn’t able to join Grahame & Jack Pettit for this event but we did get 2XS member and local sailor Paul Simmons to join us and enter his first ever BWA competition.
With the van and trailer once again fully laden we set off amidst some of the fiercest storms of the year the conditions promised some epic sailing and big swell.
A week on Tiree is like no other experience and must be tried to be fully appreciated, the island itself is possibly one of the most unspoilt and beautiful places I have ever experienced sailing. With the tremendous efforts Willy Angus and his team at Wild Diamond make it holds the enviable title of ensuring the Tiree Wave Classic (now in its 32ndconsecutive year) now holds the record of the World’s longest running windsurfing event.
This year in addition to the regular sponsorship from Windswept Brewery and Scottish Salmon the event attracted Red Bull and is due to be featured in a Sky Sports documentary in the near future.
The competition ended up being focussed on one really epic day of sailing at a beach called The Maze. With competitors rigging in the dark to ensure we could get a full day of competition for all fleets the action was non-stop.
In the masters fleet Grahame & Paul were drawn together in their first heat whilst Jack was drawn against two local windsurf instructors in the amateurs heat. Port tack sailing is certainly different from West Wittering and sadly whilst Paul got knocked out in the first round Grahame & Jack progressed through. At the end of the day Grahame was equal 5th was equal 7th. The conditions and time didn’t enable a double elimination to be run in our fleets but the spectacle of watching Adam Lewis and Marc Pare compete in the Super Final landing Double Forward loops off the same wave was insane.
BSUPA SUP SURF NATIONALS WATERGATE BAY
James Arnell Smith and Holly Bassett both attended the SUP Nationals in Watergate Bay, Cornwall this year –this season 3 events were supposed to count for the UK national title but the first two were cancelled due to weather conditions in Fistral and Saunton earlier in the year.
Trying to pull together perfect waves and light winds seems a difficult task this year and has proved yet again a problem in running sup surf events.
The Watergate Bay event was on its second date after the Sept event was cancelled due to heavy weather conditions .
Both James and Holly did really well in windy average surf conditions but worked through their heats and both came in 2nd place overall in the UK
Holly Bassett 2ND over BSUPA Nationals Womens Open – Fanatic, Kialoa, Ion, Sweaty Betty, Dakine & 2XS
James Arnell Smith 2nd Overall BSUPA Nationals Mens Open – Fanatic ,Oneill & 2XS
Gwithian – Round 4 – The decider
After postponing the first date we headed down to an extremely cold Cornwall for the final round with Paul Simmons again managing to join us. Unusually for Gwithian the conditions delivered Starboard tack sailing in the typically big, heavy Atlantic waves.
Jenna Pettit joined the 7 other ladies competitors and sailed extremely well in the challenging conditions to finish 2ndin her heat and progress into the double elimination.
Both Paul & Jack sailed excellently in these conditions with Paul winning his first heat and Jack managing to finish second ensuring they both progressed to the next round. Sadly for Grahame he was drawn against the two competitors who went on to finish 1st& 2nd. At the end of the single elimination Jack was lying first overall in the Amateur fleet with Paul equal 5thand Grahame languishing in equal 12th.
We then went on to sail a double elimination with Grahame fighting back to finish equal 9th, Paul ending up equal 11thand a delighted Jack Pettit going on to defend his position and be crowned the BWA Cornwall 2018 winner.