Hayling Island National Windsurfing Festival

Club member and West Wittering local Grahame Petit went with his family to this year’s National Windsurfing Festival at Hayling Island. He very kindly sent us this story and photos:

The National Windsurfing Festival again hit the shores of Hayling Island over the weekend of the 4th & 5th of September and what a fantastic event it was!

WWWC members and the Golden Ticket gang from Maui (Goodwin’s Junior, senior, very senior plus the Pettit’s) gathered up their kit for a rare excursion off The Peninsular and away from their home break. Given the relatively light Easterly winds big kit was the order of the day with many of the National fleet coming out with monster size boards and fins to ensure early planning off the beach in the crowded start line comprising over 300 competitors.

For those who haven’t done this event yet get it in your diary for 2011 now! It is a really fun event with great clinic’s,Live band and party on Saturday night plus the opportunity to sail / race at whatever level you feel comfortable. We had entries in most categories spanning; Under 4m Turbo 15 fleet (Jack Pettit, Leah Goodwin, Emily Goodwin), Ladies freeride (Michelle Pettit, Jane Goodwin), Junior freeride (Johnny Goodwin), Male freeride veterans (Grahame Pettit, Justin Goodwin, Francis (my back hurts) Goodwin.

Whilst I will be the first to admit that big slalom style kit is not my thing it didn’t stop me having great fun and participating in 6 master blaster races, the pros tag team and the night elimination – all on a Starboard Carve 131 and an 8m Tushingham Tbird (Big thanks to my neighbour Rik for loaning this kit). I think my overall placing was 31st and 18th in class.

However for us the single best bit was the under 16 year old fleet. Lead by the ever enthusiastic Chris Lewis Southern co-ordinator for the RYA T15 fleet a full on programme saw them compete in 5 races on the Saturday, 2 on the Sunday.

In the Saturday the racing was close in every heat with all of the competitors getting off the beach well and aiming for the gybe mark as a tight pack this continued into the Saturday with slightly more wind ensuring the action was fast and furious. Eventual honours went to Jack Pettit with, I think it was, three first, two seconds and a fourth & a fifth. Coming a close second and only able to complete on the Saturday was James Arnell- Smith.

Saturday evening saw them tape on the glowsticks & compete in a dusk dash teamed up with the pros – James was delighted to pick Skyeboy and Jack felt he had chosen well with Matt Perch (Overall event winner). However after the first leg sailed out and back in the dark by the Juniors the event organisers humour kicked in – yes the sight of a 90kg Matt trying to pump Jacks JP Young Gun and Hot Sails Maui 3.8 onto the plane gave all the spectators something to smile about.

Somehow into this busy schedule was a forward looping clinic lead, both on and off the water, by non-other than Boujmaa Guillol! I know many of the spectators and competitors watched in awe as the youngsters from 8 years old and up launched themselves enthusiastically over the handlebars and painlessly into the water. I for one know the race is on as to who will land a loop first in my family!

As the event drew to a close on Sunday afternoon the wind cranked up a bit more to ensure the pros freestyle event really gave us something to watch and cheer about with eventual winner Ben Proffitt displaying a great repertoire including fully planning forwards, back loops, spocks, Vulcans and shakkas all off virtually flat water!

The final prize giving ensured many competitors, not just the event winners, went away clutching prizes and helping raise funds for the ‘Help for Heroes’ charity through the silent auction. Final words must be to say a big thank you to event organiser Allan Cross and his team, all of the competitors and Hayling Borough Council – Roll on next year!

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