Windsurfing is undoubtedly one of the most dynamic, varied, and exciting sports offered at Bristol University. We are a welcoming and social club, catering for all abilities from first-timers to national standard racers. The club has enjoyed a very successful BUCS Championship this year, bagging loads of prizes.
On 21-22 April, Bristol joined windsurfers from universities around the country at the BUCS National Championships at Calshot, near Southampton. The three man team from Bristol – Louis Morris, Chris Guest, and Iain Brown – shone through a tough fleet to come within 1 point of being crowned national champions, eventually collecting the silver medals behind hosts, Southampton Solent.
Fortunately for Bristol, the Trio’s performance at events throughout the year ensured the silver medal was enough to seal their place as the winners of the student windsurfing association (SWA) team race series. This achievement earned the prize a £1000 board for the club, courtesy of series sponsors Boardwise.
The bounties don’t stop here either. The SWA is an organization that prides itself on getting everyone involved at all levels – being able to windsurf in the beginners race series is not a requirement, but in fact an unfair advantage.
Bristol finished second overall at the BUCS event, taking into account all race positions and participation numbers, winning a demo day with world industry leaders Tushingham & Starboard.
A special shout out goes to Luke Fitzgerald, who bagged a silver in the beginners’ race – a serious achievement considering he first struggled into a wetsuit (backwards we might add) in October.
Louis Morris also deserves a mention for his 5th place finish in the men’s advanced race, despite his disappointment as it was his first finish off the podium this year! Louis has dominated this season’s individual racing series, bringing home a brand new wetsuit and being crowned SWA Race Champion 2012.
Louis’s dominance, along with Chris Guest also claiming several podium finishes throughout the series, meant that Bristol was a force to be reckoned with all year round.
These achievements are the best the club has seen in years and come as a welcome surprise, because the club focuses primarily on teaching beginners, free sailing and enjoying ourselves.
However, SWA events go far beyond racing. In fact the great part of the student windsurfing events is that most people are beginners, with plenty of experienced instructors on hand to give advice.
There is a series of events hosted by different universities throughout the year (both flat water and wave sailing), with Bristol hosting our own in conjunction with UWE. The events are exceptionally good value and great fun, providing two big nights out, pro windsurfers on hand giving demos and advice, top notch demo gear for all to use, live bands and various other forms of entertainment.
The club also runs weekly beginner trips to the lake throughout the year for just a tenner – you can learn to windsurf for a fraction of what you would pay anywhere else. Bristol is also ideally placed for more advanced windsurfers to head off to the wealth of top quality spots in south Wales and the south coast.
This year the club has gone from strength to strength and not only in the racing results. Last summer we jetted off to Morocco for two weeks of beers, sun and windsurfing. This year, we’re off to Club Vass in Greece – one of the world’s top windsurfing centres. We also have brilliant weekly socials, ranging from pub golf to three legged races and, of course, the infamous 6 in 60 challenge.
If you are interested in getting on a board or just socialising at events, it’s not too late to join. With a big trip to Poole planned after exams, a whole new season next year, bigger events, the Tushingham demo day and the legendary Aussie Kiss Student Windsurfing Festival next October.
Once the rain dries up you will also be sure to see us up on the downs doing a bit of land windsurfing. You can find us on Facebook or come along to Alterego on a Tuesday from 8pm, we’d be more than happy to welcome you to the club.