Tenby Slalom report

9 October 2005

We awoke in South beach, Tenby to a sunny but cold day accompanied by a brisk north-westerly wind. However with the wind blowing offshore and varying between 12-25knts, kit choice was a bit of a nightmare, as one guy put it, "3 sails, 2 boards and no idea!"

I decided to get out on the water early to test my kit, only to find my small slalom board was too small to get back upwind easily and my big sail was just a tad overpowering… So back to the beach and after much debating I finally opted for a slightly bigger board and a 5.5m sail.

Onto the racing and a 3 lap figure of 8 course was the order of the day; this proved to be pretty challenging in the seemingly ever increasing wind and carnage ensued at the gybe marks - underlining the distinct lack of gybing ability in the whole of the challenge fleet! So if you're put off slalom because you can't plane out of 100% of your gybes, believe me it's not an issue!

A great day's racing was had by all, including some spectacular wipe-outs; most notably Alan Jackson's (failed) forward loop attempt with Paul Sibley just a few metres behind, resulting in a lot of broken kit!

After 4 intense rounds completed for the challenge fleet and 5 for the pro's, there was no time to rest after a hard day at the office; a quick shower followed by a ‘no excuses' night out visiting several of the local pubs. With the showers, by the way, being communal and unisex, and myself being the only girl (and having learnt my lesson from the Eastbourne incident) I made a point of getting in and out early to avoid anymore embarrassing shower encounters…

Sunday dawned with the wind blowing dead offshore once again but rather fluky and sadly not consistently stronger enough for racing. After a morning of waiting around and pulling numerous practical jokes on Richard Potter, the decision was made to call off the racing. The prize giving and raffle was held with prizes kindly donated by Animal. I was pretty stoked to finish 4th overall, giving the guys a run for their money, but it would be nice to see a few more girls at these events!

Gemma Lewis is sponsored by Naish, Solent Sailboards & Sola