2016 Letter from the Chairman
Thank you for joining the UKWA. You are now a valued member of a dedicated Association, which promotes recreational and competitive windsurfing across the UK. The benefits of membership are numerous, from free insurance to the opportunity to compete and make new friends with fellow members. There are few sports that allow the opportunity for all to compete against National, European, World and Olympic Champions. We cover all disciplines, Slalom, Wave, Freestyle, Speed and Course Racing and provide a voluntary team of skilled Administrators, Race Officials and Safety Crews dedicated to the sport of windsurfing. Our greatest asset, however, are the members: friendly, helpful and perhaps competitive, but always with time to advise and welcome newcomers. Many sailors begin their windsurfing journey at the local club, the local beach or by taking advantage of one of the many RYA or Class Training Schemes. Once competent, the choices are numerous but the home of windsurfing is always with the UKWA.
2015 saw the continued growth of The BSA, British Slalom Association, run under the umbrella of the UKWA. 1st Pro James Dinsmore. 1st Amateur Shaun Cook, 1st Lady Zara Davies. Its aim is to further develop the ever-growing concept of ‘full-on’ Slalom Racing, whilst including the simplest format of racing ‘off-the-beach’ or Masterblast (out to a buoy and back). 1st Anne Welsh . The UKWA will also continue to support and encourage the Regional Slalom groups who have done so much to promote participation in Slalom on your local beach across the UK. Thanks must go to the many trade sponsors who continue to support the tour.
Freestyle supported by Getwindsurfing.com. returned with its National Championships at Weymouth. Adam Sims Was crowned 1st Pro and Kieren Roen 1st Amateur. 2016 will offer more events, spectators can look forward to being wowed by a spectacular array of tricks and manoeuvres close to shore by Freestyle experts. This spectator-friendly discipline is open to all and, with a little practice, sailors will see at how quickly they can pick up the basic moves from the ever-helpful Pros.
Another highlight of the year is Weymouth Speed Week. 2015 unusually saw wind on every day of competition. Many UKWA competitors take a week’s holiday every October and make the annual trip to Weymouth. The flat water in Portland Harbour and strong winds blowing in over Chesil Beach attract many top International sailors who compete for ‘top speed’ of the day and of the week. The big attraction is that anyone can take part, with any kit; and just perhaps that special gust propels you along quicker than anyone else and straight to the top of the rankings. Kevin Greenslade was crowned UKWA Speed Champion 2015, Zara Davies was 1st Lady.
The highly prestigious British Wave Title was awarded by the BWA (British Wavesailing Association) to 1st Pro, Ross Williams. The BWA remains under the umbrella of the UKWA and 2015 saw many new developments, with further new initiatives planned for 2016, supported by both the Associations. Wavesailing continues to amaze the recreational sailor. The skills demonstrated by the Pros make this the most spectacular, photogenic and crowd pleasing of the all the disciplines. Whilst the Pro Fleet will amaze, the Amateur Fleet is open to all and a sure way to improve your skills is to mix with and learn new tricks from the top UK and International competitors.
Course Racing had another outstanding year. Working closely with the RYA and Class Associations the UKWA will continue to put on International quality Course Racing events. A slight change in format in 2015 saw: 3 Inland events to decide the Regional Inland Champion. Run by the Regions, our Junior Fleets & Classes are especially welcome and 2015 saw Race Training offered, which will continue in 2016. The UKWA National Championships had a further 6 coastal events as will 2016. Finally a joint event, The Inland National Championships and The RYA Junior Youth and Masters, hosted at Grafham Sailing Club, moving to Rutland for 2016. In 2015 Course Racing numbers held up well with over 200 sailors at Grafham being the biggest event of the year. There was further expansion of the RYA pathway classes, Techno and RS:X whilst, for spectacular excitement, the Formula Fleet continues to excel. Course Racing continues to prosper across the regions, welcoming newcomers and experienced sailors alike. Increasing numbers of youths joining the raceboard fleet is very positive for the future.
During 2015 we benefited from the support of our sponsors. Many brands, importers and magazines support us and the RYA continues to support the pathway classes through the UKWA. I take this opportunity to thank them all for their continued support and to further thank our volunteers who continue to support windsurfing in the UK.. 2015 saw some outstanding achievements by British sailors. However, the UKWA welcomes all participants, regardless of ability, age or chosen discipline. Thank you again for joining us, if you need any further information please contact us or go to the website www.ukwindsurfing.com for up-to-date information.
Bob Ingram - Chairman