WhiteAir Youth and Junior Report

5 November 2005

from Team AirBorn, By George Shillito

No sooner home from Tiree, and we were off again to another island: The Isle of Wight! Waking on the Thursday morning in a comfy bed and breakfast with the sound of the Solent wind rushing past the window was enough to wake even the deepest of sleepers within the Team AirBorn rooms. It was windy!

Compton was on everyone's mind as the memories of the previous year flooded back in the competitors' lounge (aka VSP: Very Smooth Persons lounge). These welcome but slightly unnerving thoughts were quickly punctured by the news that the surfing competition was on, and that we would have to wait two hours before anyone stood a chance of tasting the tropical brown waters of Compton.

The event finally got off to a windy start and the pro's went out, fully powered-up in some meaty waves, reaching logo-high in the sets. The heats were racked up and it soon came to the turn of the Juniors and Youths. By now, the wind was on a slippery slope but the heats were run and it was looking good for those on big kit, leaving in their wake those on small kit, de-powered in the impact zone! Both George and Graham made it to the Junior final but it was not to be: the wind had now completely disappeared and the sun wasn't far behind, so it was put on hold until the following day. In the Youths, Adam was mid-heat when the decision was made: he had just changed up to bigger kit and had started the heat well but finished the day in 4th.

During the night, the wind swung round so Friday's competition was held at Yaverland, the main event site. This makes everything more convenient but with a powerful shore break and onshore winds, surviving was not entirely straightforward! Yet the competition started smoothly and the previous day's Junior final was run, with Graham claiming first and George second, both on their less-favoured tacks. Another round was crammed in, with George and Graham both in the final and collecting a 3rd and 2nd, so only just past lunch and the day was looking good: Team AirBorn was on a roll. Just then a sense of déjà vu hit and the wind died once again for the afternoon, giving the competitors time to look around the event site and prepare for a night's partying.

Saturday dawned with light winds so the pro's were released early for the day but the other fleets were held back in case the wind showed up. Meanwhile all the other sports such as skateboarding, mountain boarding and zap-cats were in full swing putting on an awesome show for the public. The windsurfers never got to show that they were far superior, as the wind seemed to be now well and truly settled into its grave. However, the forecast looked good for Sunday.

The next day, the wind was indeed blowing but not quite living up to expectations. With ever-changing conditions in the wind, rain, sun and waves it was extremely hard to compete and heat abandonment was rife. However, a round was completed, with only the finals left to run at which point the format changed from freestyle to two-waves-to-count and the pros went out to try to make something of the conditions. Then it was the Juniors' chance, with both Graham and George in the final, but with every second the wind and waves were dying and far from windsurfing perfection. The Youth final was run straight after the Juniors in the ever-worsening conditions, but that's how it is!

Prize giving was shortly after and it soon came apparent that the results were only counted from the Sunday round, meaning that in the Juniors the results were: Richard Jones, Graham Woods, Sam Neal, George Shillito. In the youths, it was Richard Potter, Chris Murray, Joe O'Callaghan, Adam Lewis.

Regardless of the conditions, White Air is a fun event with lots going on and we were pleased to be back, following last year's action.

Team AirBorn is sponsored by O'Shea and Windsurfers World.