As the UK windsurfing population are slowly being allowed to get back on the water, we spoke to Andy Chambers who is not only one of our top sailors but also works within the industry for NeilPryde to find out how it feels to be back on track!
Photos: John Carter
WS: What have you been up to over the past few months during lockdown?
AC: Having some quality time with the wife! Ha-ha! All jokes aside, it has actually been really nice spending time together, it makes you realise how little time is spent together when we are both at work and when its windy. I’ve also taken the opportunity to rest my body and sort out various ailments which I was suffering with before the virus came along. Been getting plenty of exercise and exploring new places locally by foot or bike so all in all I’ve enjoyed the break. Definitely ready for some water time now though!
WS: Are you looking forward to getting back on the water?
AC: Absolutely!! From today we have the green light so I am going get out this afternoon, luckily, I have an office full of toys so no matter what conditions we get I will be on the water!
WS: Do you think business will bounce back quickly over the next few months?
AC: We have already seen a big difference in sales as soon as the announcement was made that we could get on the water. I think lots of people who previously didn’t do many outdoor sports or spend time outside have almost been forced outside to make it through the lockdown and I think they have taken more interest on outdoor activities. So yes, I think there will be a quick bounce back especially once the Windsurf/Sup/Kite schools are allowed to teach again.
WS: Are you finished with Pro competition personally?
AC: From a PWA perspective yes but it depends how you count the British Tour. Personally, I think the level in the Pro fleet is very high and should be considered as Pro competition. I don’t compete on the PWA anymore but that shouldn’t be the only Tour which is considered to be Pro competition. I love competing and always will.
WS: What was the highlight of your career as a freestyler?
AC: There are so many great highlights and memories from my career. The main one definitely is when I won the British Freestyle Champs the first time. I was pretty unknown still as I was just working in Vass teaching and some of the other guys like Skyeboy and Proffitt were already competing on the PWA, so they were big names. I think that paved the way for other freestylers to take advantage of the amazing conditions and experience you can get from doing seasons in places like Club Vass.
WS: How much did you enjoy your years at Club Vass?
AC: Definitely the best years of my life, where else in the world can you have so much fun on and off the water, meet amazing people and teach the sport you love. Club Vass is an incredibly special place and has an atmosphere that I haven’t experienced anywhere else.
WS: What aspect of windsurfing do you enjoy the most these days…wave, freestyle, foil etc and why
AC: I’m definitely more into the wave side of the sport. A lot of this is due to now living in the UK where if its windy then it is usually wave conditions, so the freestyle board doesn’t come out as much as it used to. Also, with JP and Pryde we have been right at the forefront of foiling, so I have been doing a lot of it. In the summer, the light sea breezes on the south coast are perfect for foiling and have taken over the normal freeriding for me.
WS: Do you enjoy competing on the BWA?
AC: Yes, definitely it is a great atmosphere amongst all the sailors and has helped to get more people in to the competitions. Also, the youth initiative which was supported by the Mailing Room and Wild Diamond have been amazing for getting more kids into the sport and pushing their level.
WS: How do you enjoy your role working for Pryde?
AC: Working within the sport which I grew up with and have spent most of my life doing has been great and it was a good progression from competing and teaching. I still get to windsurf and play with the best gear on the market… Oh and I get to talk about windsurfing a lot!
WS: What was your most memorable days sailing last winter?
AC: Hmmm… We had so many! We had quite a few storms which were fun. A memorable one was sailing at Southbourne just before the storm fully hit so it was super fun jumping and riding with a westerly wind and then as the storm surge hit and the shore dump turned super gnarly I went down to Avon Beach and had really fun head high down the line riding with a cross off wind. Nice to get a double dip at your two local spots and mix it up between jumping and wave riding.
What do you love about windsurfing?
AC: The freedom and the fun feeling you get from riding a wave or doing a jump or trick. The satisfaction you get from landing a good move is amazing.