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Scotty Stallman





After celebrating its 51st anniversary, we delve deeper into the oldest speed event on the planet from a variety of angles.

Words: Pete Davis, Scott Harrison, Peter & Richard Crosby, Scotty Stallman & Nick Povey

Photos: Andy Stallman & Dave White

Weymouth Speed Week (WSW) is the oldest speed event on the planet, now in its 51st year. It has become an institution among windsurfers since they were allowed in, all the way back in 1979. With regularly over a hundred participants, it is the biggest gathering of windsurfers, and now Wing-foilers, in the UK.

But… what makes the WSW so special? In order to find out, we asked three groups of participants what makes the event so special to them…

First up, Scott Harrison, a WSW Newbie

As a kid growing up in the 1980’s speed windsurfing was everywhere. Every magazine had event reports and front covers of the likes of Fred Haywood, Eric Beale and Pascal Maka charging down some turquoise butter flat speed strip.

However, for me, the call of the waves became irresistible. Later came racing. And well, speed: “That’s just racing without the corners, right?”. Well, how wrong could I be? I never realised how technical and tactical it could be on the one-hand, but also how open, welcoming and easy to get into it on the other. Having taken part in the event for the first time this year I have to admit to having two massive regrets. 1. Not participating before now and 2. Not having trained for it at all. (I was too busy with slalom and wave sailing!)

For me, it’s the best event that I have ever done, even though I was the worst at it! The racing is superbly run by Karen Battye, and her race crew, while you have full access to the facilities of Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA). Unlike slalom or wave competitions, you are competing against other, but not head-to-head, so the feeling is of everyone going against the clock, rather than each other, which creates an amazing sense of camaraderie.



Thanks to the people who made my week: The Bristol contingent of Mark Salvage, who competed on his homemade foiling gear (and retro wind weapon) and celebrated his birthday in style. Rob Longstaff, who due to a change in circumstance hadn’t been doing a lot of windsurfing in the last 10 years, Rob is a legend of the ‘90’s racing scene and he hit his groove on the last day… especially once he was alerted to the presence of a photographer, the gloves were well and truly off at that point. And finally, to Pete Davis, a long-time friend, who convinced me to enter the event, as well as looking after the sponsorship and media for all those years. As he moves on to pastures new, those are going to be some big shoes to fill.


During our very first attempt in 2014, we were pleasantly surprised by the international field taking part and just how professional the event organisation was both off and on the water. Seeing your name up next to your country’s flag on a TV billboard alongside well-known international windsurfers was daunting, but also an encouraging motivator.

Richard and I, started off in the Amateur’s Fleet and within the space of just a few short years, the knowledge learnt, and experienced gained from taking part, rewarded us with podium places to promote us both into a higher fleet. This education came from the kind advice and tips passed on from fellow competitors – both professionals and amateurs alike – which highlights the friendly camaraderie at the event.

Each night a social event is organised for food, and shhhh… beer, to loosen the tongues and inflame bragging rights over the day’s timed achievements. When epic forecasts lie ahead, discussions revolve around how excessively overpowered you are going to sail, which only further fuels the fire into one’s belly for the next day’s drive to attack the start line faster than ever before.

We thoroughly enjoy the whole week as a social holiday due to the constant tech talk of our beloved sport. So many stories, and experiences, are shared over many conversations adding to the experience of competing, while walking in the footsteps of previous competitors, from famous windsurfers to record holders alike, as you become part of its prestigious history.


Liked and used by most speed sailing boarders, stats are key to making marginal improvements, while awaiting the results each night creates a real buzz and the stats are repeatedly visited, and revisited, with comparison to previous years.

So, if you think you’re fast at your local beach, then why not come and pit your wits against against the hotshots of the speed sailing world at the most established speed event of them all… come and join the fun by giving it a go. You won’t regret it.



For me, Speed Week isn’t always specifically about the windsurfing as there is so much more that the event offers, which make it so special to me, and one that I simply have to go to. The volunteers, the competitors, the spirit and atmosphere, are just a few of the things which standout in my mind. Over the course of the week-long event, so many things happen; from the evening socials to the competitive atmosphere, but alongside this there is still one main goal at the forefront of everyone’s mind: Setting new records and beating your friends!

This year was no exception with some pretty epic conditions yet again. Albeit, the winning runs came on a very long last day and almost a Deja vu moment from last year… but that’s the spirit of Speed Week, you have to be there when it counts!


A really cool thing from this year, which I enjoyed was on one of the light winds days, Pete Davis had asked me whether it would be possible to host a talk about the PWA. I was certainly up for this as I am always happy, and interested, to talk to others about competing and to give the UK riders an insight into what happens, and is happening, on the world circuit.


This is just a small inkling of what happens at Speed Week and what you can expect if you come. The competitors, organisers and outside sponsors are all super-friendly and really make the event worthwhile. I think the list of people to thank just goes on and on. So, if you are thinking of coming I would 100% recommend it. Even if you are just starting your windsurfing/winging/kitesurfing career, as long as you can sail 500m in a straight-line, then you are more than capable of competing.


The nerves and excitement you experience before seeing the results at the end of the day really is something else and the feeling never gets old. Even if you think you’ve had a really bad day, you never know until the GPS is uploaded and the results are revealed.


After reading this, if you want to take part, make sure you get in early as the entry list soon fills up. Whether you are a first timer or a world class competitor – everyone is welcome and it doesn’t matter what water craft you are armed with as long as it’s wind powered.

We also have great prizes, and opportunities provided by our sponsors, without whom we would struggle to make it happen, so thanks to MAC in a Sack, Duotone, ION, Simmer, AFS, NeilPryde, JP, F-Hot Fins, Core and SAB Foil, Flymount, The OTC, Surf Doctor, POS, Natural Designs, and of course we can’t forget our fantastic hosts the WPNSA.


Finally, it’s the end of an era for me as one of the organisers of the event after almost 20 years being involved with WSW it’s time to step away. I have loved my time helping to organise this event, and meeting so many great participants along the way, as well as my fellow organisers, who have made it so fun and fulfilling. I sincerely hope the event continues its success as the longest running speed event in the world and that I have left it in a very good place.


It was during Weymouth Speed Week in 2003, the year when Björn Dunkerbeck arrived unannounced, and Cory Roeseler – one of the pioneers of Kitesurfing came over from the USA – that it dawned on the small team that had helped Bob Downhill keep the event alive that WSW was not only back, but alive and kicking!

The venue was re-locating to the recently vacated Naval airbase in Portland, which in less than ten years would go on to host the 2012 Olympics. It was in the old Navy buildings, still smelling of kerosene, that we held a meeting to discuss the way forward. Björn spoke eloquently about the passion and heritage of the event. It was Dave White, who initially stated that we needed a proper PR person and when we looked at him, he quickly added that he wasn’t the person! However, he knew the right man – Mr. Pete Davis – and that was when we first met Pete.

Pete’s passion and involvement in Speed Sailing, whilst supporting World Champion and Speed Record holder, Zara Davis, together with his career in sales, meant Pete had friends and contacts in the sport all over the world, while possessing the business acumen to demonstrate to businesses the advantage of them supporting WSW. Pete also had a very real interest in the heritage of WSW – going so far as to acquire his own Johnnie Walker Whiskey “Striding Man” outfit. It was Johnnie Walker who sponsored the first events in the 1970’s.

So, over the next two decades Pete was able to generate much needed support from sponsors, who contributed fantastic prizes, he brought news of how GPS timing was helping other events and helped considerably in its introduction to WSW and above all he did a fantastic job fronting the event be it at the morning briefings, in the press, in front of BBC cameras or at the prize giving – where in recent years we have also enjoyed his superb event videos. Much heartfelt thanks are due to Pete from all who have enjoyed Weymouth Speed Week over the past two decades.


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