Words Finn Mullen // Photo Zani Mullen
Summer; the great season when our beaches extend their opening hours, our seas and lakes bathe us in an even warmer glow and it’s socially accepted to eat your own body weight in ice cream from that dodgy Mr Whippy van après sail. On paper this should be the time of year that we begin to twitch as average wind speeds drop in the UK but with scant regard for papered stats or the average, our sport and its merry practitioners have a bounding, chameleon like ability to adjust positively to whatever weather surrounds us. Need further proof or inspiration? I have lots and it’s all good! Two of our finest wavesailors, Ross Williams and John Skye don’t weep when there’s no waves or ripping winds, they delve deeper into their quiver in speed and slalom and turns out they are world class at it! Ross is currently ranked third on the PWA slalom circuit; learn from the man himself how he began his 2016 slalom season in our feature ‘Operation Preparation’ this issue. Ross isn’t the only success story we have; at the recent world speed championships in Fuerteventura, John Skye was freshly crowned vice World Champion in speed and the unstoppable Zara Davis claimed an emphatic World Champion speed title too. Rounding off a great day for the Brits was Jim Crossley, claiming Vice Champion in the Masters division. We hear from all three, fresh from their victories in our turbo charged ‘Top Gear’ article.
Buoyant on Brits on the podium, we celebrate further by paying fitting tribute in an Olympic year to the dedication, determination and sheer athletic skill of Byrony Shaw and Nick Dempsey. Featured in our ‘Road to Rio’ piece this month we learn how our decorated Olympians will make the final push for more medals this summer.
One man who will be able to relate to the commitment required from Nick and Byrony is Roger Tushingham. Roger, in case you didn’t know, is a champion dinghy sailor and has conducted two Olympic sailing campaigns. That background part explains his reputation as sailmaker extraordinaire but for the full story read ‘Farewell Jolly Roger’. The feature suitably and lovingly scribed by their loyal team rider, Peter Hart, is a tribute both to the man and the “UK’s greatest windsurfing brand”, charting the history from world class sail designs born deep in the Yorkshire Dales to the recent news that they will cease windsurf sail production at the end of this year. The shock move isn’t an indication of windsurfing’s demise, far from it, more a reflection of continued success by Tushingham as they expand further into the SUP part of their business to concentrate on their Red Paddle Co. brand which will continue to feature windsurfing with their WindSUP boards.
The rise of WindSUP is as unstoppable as Tushingham itself and summer being prime WindSUP season, we focus on the phenomenon this month with the test team reviewing the latest boards, technique tips from Jem Hall and Franz Orsi shows how this versatile craft can help you explore unconventional windsurfing locations as he journeys into the incredibly photogenic states of South West USA exploring the rich American landscape and culture and contrasting it with European ideals.
The beauty of WindSUP is not just its versatility for summer water time by sail or paddle but how it can grow our windsurf family by introducing the next generation of sailors in a stable, fun and increasingly progressive package. They naturally lend themselves to family beach outings and if you want to get your kids ‘onboard’ they are a fantastic tool to do so, but we learn this issue of an even more innovative technique from Kuba Gasiewski in ‘Child’s play’. Read how he rips up the rulebook to teach windsurfing to kids with a radical approach and even more radical results. The basis of Kuba’s instruction is that “Windsurfing is as intuitive and easy as any other watersport and that is how it should be presented. About 90% of children trying windsurfing for the first time with the help of only a few minor tips intuitively interpret everything correctly..the more we explain to them, the less likely is their chance of success. Too much instruction and knowledge destroys imagination and can lead to demotivation.” How Kuba achieves this is equally novel in practice and the article reveals the fruits of his labour. The ideals are far from being exclusive to teaching children, adults too can benefit from a more simplistic approach to coaching as Peter Hart elaborates in “Winning the mind battle”. The most common barrier to improvement Peter has found in his considerable coaching experience, “lies between the ears” and using examples from other accomplished sports coaches he encourages us to break progression ruts by finding our “Inner child,” “embracing wipe-outs and experimentation” because “You can’t be taught a skill, you learn it through experience. It’s the coach’s job to encourage experimentation and then help you interpret and learn from those experiences.” It’s an extremely beneficial article for anyone in our sport and Peter discusses an interesting distinction between an adult learning to play golf and a child learning to skateboard. “The latter appears a lot harder and yet a million tomes have been written about the golf swing and hardly any about how to skateboard – yet many kids learn to do it very well, very quickly.” Kids or not, balancing work and play is a challenge every windsurfer has to meet and one man who manages to do it all is Klaas Voget. Still competing on the PWA circuit whilst recently joining Fanatic’s office team and welcoming a new baby son into the world, he gives us an insight into working for a major brand in ‘Work hard, play hard’ and how his career can be seen as a blueprint for any aspiring professional sailor.
Finally in a celebration of summer frivolity, and a nod to the act of experimentation that we have championed this issue, check out our ‘Trimonauts” article as three hilarious Frenchmen run amuck on a not so serious quest to break the speed sailing record. Whatever craft you end up on this summer, be child like in your enthusiasm and energy for windsurfing and let your smiles be the biggest on the beach; from friends to family or curious onlookers, you never know who you may inspire, including yourself!
Photo Timo and Skye Mullen enjoying summer in Poole harbour – it’s all about the kids this issue; learn about embracing your inner child and a new method for teaching children to windsurf.