Former British Wavesailing Association amateur and youth champion, Lucas Medldrum, has ambitions to step up and win the British pro wavesailing title; he gives us an insight into his life.
Words Lucas Meldrum // Photos: Bede Pitcairn-Knowles and surfpicscaptured
I’m Lucas, 20 years old and I’m Brighton born and bred. My home spot is at Lagoon Water sports on Hove beach, which is between Brighton and Shoreham. I started windsurfing in Vassiliki Greece while on a family holiday. I came back home and carried on at Lagoon Water sports and I haven’t looked back since.
I’ve been spending summers in Tenerife for the past few years now. It is consistent for wind and waves and everything is super easier there. The beach is 2 minutes away, you don’t need a car and the town has a super nice vibe. I managed to sneak out there last summer when the virus calmed down. I was lucky enough to stay at my friend Laurin’s apartment, so it was a no brainer to go there. He’s a good training partner too, we’re going for the same moves, so it was fun. Having said that I think I’d like to spend more time in Pozo in the future just to improve my jumping which isn’t my strength.
I started Uni in Falmouth this September studying graphic design. It was a pretty weird time to start Uni but I figured I would just get on with it and so far, it’s not so bad, there’s a lot of opportunity to windsurf and surf!
I would love to design windsurf board graphics, that would be cool! But realistically I’m not sure, the world is moving so fast, but I’m sure my degree will help me a lot. I would love to pursue windsurfing as much as I can, in competitions but also work on my YouTube, which is going really well at the moment. I already had a couple of interesting offers for future work so I will just see how everything pans out these next three years. One thing is for sure, windsurfing will always be the biggest factor in what I do, I don’t see myself in an office 9 to 5!
The first part of the course is a lot about the building blocks and the design process and ways of coming up with ideas. I have no doubt I will learn a lot on the course that will help promote me as a windsurfer. The first term was 50% online and now it’s 100% online due to the second wave. I have to say it’s a lot harder to work in my small dark Uni room especially when you know there’s pumping waves just around the corner.
The windsurf scene in Cornwall is amazing. I was lucky to already know a lot of the locals from BWA competitions and trips down here, so I really feel at home. It’s a friendly atmosphere that is so different to the surf scene here which can be quite aggressive and not that pleasant. I took my surf mate to take some pics of windsurfing and remember him say “everyone is so chilled and friendly”. I think we’re really lucky to be in a sport that is like this! At home it’s just everyone at one spot while here everyone moves around to which ever beach is working so it’s like a cool little family. I also have to say the level down here is really high, so it really pushes you too.
WORK AND PLAY!
Well with Uni being online it means you don’t have to be there in person, which basically gives you more freedom to windsurf or surf and then catch up in the evenings if need be. On the one hand it’s great because I can pretty much score every forecast that comes along but on the other hand, I miss the time in the studio with students, and the one-to-one time with tutors. I know a lot of students feel they’re being ripped off a bit this year. I think this year is just really hard for everyone and I just trying to push through it.
Windsurfing is drug for me, it’s just instinctive. Some days I’ve gone looking for conditions here in Cornwall in strange wind directions at odd spots, half knowing it’s not going to work, but there’s something just telling me to go out. And yes, most of the time its freezing and totally pants and I drive back home disappointed. But every now and then the stars align, I score some sick conditions and I just forget everything and get fully immersed into just sailing. That feeling is just unbeatable for me and why I love the sport so much.
Windsurfing is probably the hardest sport in the world when you put in all the factors. You need to be incredibly determined, have a lot of patience, and devote a lot of time towards it. I think these are attributes I take into all things I do in life. If you want to do something, go for it, be patient and never give up!
The trip I did to Denmark was special, just a few mates and getting some amazing conditions. The last day was perfect side shore, there was a beautiful sunset and was one of those sessions where you just land everything you do. That session will always stick in my mind.
Last winter I did my first big trip to Cape Town with Miguel Chapuis. One of our first sessions was at Sunset Beach and the water was quite murky. I had obviously read and heard about Cape Town being sharky so that was always in the back of my wind while sailing. One run I was sailing out back and I spotted a fin in front of me. My heart dropped a bit at that moment, I tacked (thankfully not falling in) and sailed back to the beach. I passed Miguel and told him I saw a fin but he just sailed on. I later found out he saw it too but didn’t have enough time to turn and managed to crash into it. He then saw it was a massive but harmless sun fish. They swim on their side with their fin poking up resembling a shark. We laughed it off on the beach. We saw a lot of sun fish so by the end of the trip we weren’t too scared of them anymore…
At this point in time, I don’t have one moment that’s really, really bad. I guess every time I break something isn’t great. Last summer I broke a mast in Cabezo and ended up on the bunker rocks. While trying to save all my kit from getting destroyed I stepped on a sea urchin. That was miserable day…
Training on the water for me is just about sailing and having fun. If the conditions allow, I attempt to try new moves or techniques every session as that’s how you really improve. If you don’t step out your comfort zone you’ll just stay in the same place.
As for off the water I’ve been doing workouts for the past 2 years now. I’ve been working with Matt Dickens, a really experience strength and conditioning coach. He’s worked with many extreme sports athletes and most recently with slalom sailor Jordy Vonk.
Now that I’m in Cornwall I recently hooked up with Cornwall High Performance, the guys that used to train Adam Lewis, so I feel pretty confident with them.
I do the off-water stuff not just for the windsurfing but also just to generally stay fit and healthy which I think is super important. Obviously, I believe training off the water has benefited a lot on the water. I’ve really felt an improvement in strength and stamina which ultimately gives me the ability to push harder and go bigger with more confidence of not getting injured.
I think the best tips I’ve got are all about moving your hands more. You surf the board with your feet but you also need to surf the boom with your hands. This has helped me a lot in wave riding and other moves, the difference between a good turn and a bad turn can simply be that you didn’t move your hands enough or at all. This is the biggest and simplest tip I would give to all windsurfers.
This year I have the 78L Fanatic Mamba, 68L Grip and Duotone Super Hero’s 3.0 to 4.7. I weigh 68-70kg and 5’10 so this gear pretty much covers me for all conditions.
The Mamba is the new board for this year and it’s the perfect UK board for me. It’s great for light winds and onshore conditions which we get a lot down here in Cornwall. I was really blown away with the performance in average onshore conditions, it makes everything so much easier with its speed and super loose snappy turns.
I think I am quite competitive but maybe don’t try to show it, or don’t think I do. Even a normal day sailing, if I see Timo do a big aerial at Gwithian, I want to do it bigger and better, it just comes naturally. I am also extremely competitive with myself and I am a bit of a perfectionist and I’m usually never satisfied with how I sail until I get in perfect. I think this can sometimes get in the way of enjoying a good session, but it’s really helped me improve.
Well, my biggest dream has always been to be competitive on the world tour, but at the moment I know that’s quite a way off. The level is so high and keeps going up so it’s just like playing catch up all the time. For now, I just have to keep grafting, go abroad to train as much as I can and see what happens. I definitely want to become UK champion once competitions start here again, I’m super motivated for that!
My second goal is based around my YouTube channel, I hope to continue to grow it as much as I can and make content that is really entertaining and different. It’s a completely different goal but equally as challenging. I’m learning new things every day so I can only see it getting better. I would like to say a massive thanks to everyone who’s already subscribed and contributed to buy me a coffee!