Archive for October, 2010

Return from Daklha last instalment

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Sorry for the incredible lateness of this blog entry.  We’ve been back from Dakhla for a while now. The end of the trip was awesome!

We had incredible conditions for the last couple of weeks in Dakhla and surprise surprise the other two managed to stay fit for all of it. I hope that you have all seen the video of our successes and wipeouts a little further down the blog!

The drive back was significantly less fun than the drive down. De rigging the marquee and packing up was all very depressing. We had a great deal of help for Isa, one of the beach guardians.The drive to Marakesh went pretty well, the Ricky Gervais podcasts again keeping us very amused. Once we reached Marakesh Ricky’s map reading skills failed us (standard) and we found ourselves totally lost. Marakesh it turns out is the most poorly signposted city in the world. After 4 hours of being lost we eventually found a sign for the airport, which as it turns out, was only 50m from the entrance to the airport. We dropped Ricky off which was a mega bummer and Tom and I continued on to Moulay, another 4hours down the road. This meant that Tom and I had been in the car for getting on 30hours when we arrived. This particular leg of the journey was in 47 degree heat and may I just remind you that our air conditioning had not worked from day one.

When we arrived in Moulay there was no wind, I think we would have been far too knackered anyway. The next day we had some 4.2 to 4.7 type conditions and some nice ramps for jumping. Tom sailed pretty well and got involved with some forwards. I was a being a bit of a wimp and concentrated on back loops. I made some progress though; sometimes over rotating, sometimes under rotating. Tom gave me a load of flack over lunch about not doing any forwards. Unfortunately we were both a little underpowered after lunch and nothing much really happened.

Day two was windier and I made up for being a wuss the day before and did a fair few forwards whilst continuing my assault on back loops. Boujmaa was out and was doing loads of doubles and huge back loops. Tom continues the experimentation that I started in Daklha with hooked in forwards. We can again conclusively conclude that they don’t work (or you have to be insanely skilled). Tom because he is the most unlucky man alive (he must have done many evil things in a past life) perforated his ear drum. This meant that he had to stay off the water for two weeks.

The third day there was less wind but there was a proper swell coming in. I went out on my 4.7 and there were some big logo high waves coming in and peeling nicely. There were only a few of us out so there were loads of waves to catch. It was my first day of proper wave riding and I really enjoyed it but I think that day two was the most fun because of the awesome jumping. We had a BBQ in the evening which would rather sculpt the remainder of our trip.

We left the next day because the wind was dying and headed for Ceuta. About halfway there I started to feel pretty ropey. Tom managed to get another speeding fine (typical) after we had run out of dirhams. We managed to bribe the police man with £10 English pounds which we assured him was worth 400dirhams (actually worth 120). We did our usual trick of missing our ferry by 1minute and having to wait for the next one. We slept in a service station near Malaga. This was not the grand return to Spain we had anticipated. This was because we were too late and by now I was pretty ill. From about week one in Dakhla we had been dreaming of the 16ounze steak we were going to get on our return to Spain. A soggy, stale sandwich from a late night petrol station was not quite the stuff of our dreams. Because I was so ill Tom had to do a heroic stint behind the wheel though Spain and France. The drive went well except for in Madrid and we missed a ferry in Bologne by 5 minutes. We made it back to Windsor in the middle of the night. And the next day we were straight down to Bray Lake to buy more Windsurfing gear and for our first pint of beer in nearly three months and the Fifield.

All in all an awesome trip we never stopped loving the windsurfing so bring on next year!

Contributed by: Jack

Get Windsurfing Clinics in El Tur

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

We had a great week, unfortunately it was plagued with light winds, resembling the weather we had for the Bray club trip back in 2009!! Only worse I think!! Not even 7.5’s most of the time would get us going!!

However we had a very small group of just 3 young ladies, all around our age, 1 beginner, 1 harnessing and 1 looking to carve gybe, all of whom just wanted to have fun on the water, in the sun and a few drinks and fun in the evenings.

They all learned new skills during the week, enjoying having a centre of kit to themselves, a huge group of Polish in the next centre to keep them amused with their speedos and vodka in the evenings, and loads of coaching from me and Phil…2 instructors to 3 students, they were very pleased after being in Dahab on a busy week with many more in their lessons and only one instructor.

We managed a couple of beach BBQ’s, a party night over in Dahab and also plenty of chilled balcony evenings.  Snorkelling was also enjoyed, at the shipwreck which seems so much busier with colourful fish than i ever remember, and also in Dahab pre-party!

Phil and I had a great week too, enjoying having a full week to give to the students without our past ties of running a centre at the same time. Looking forward to the next one!  Check out for more information about what we are up to!

Contributed by: Danielle

A return to the water…for some at least

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

It’s been a couple of weeks now since our fixed fortunes in Dale.  This, our second trip of 2010 typified the usual Dale experience.  Couple of good sessions on the water, one not so good and a complete abandonment of the idea altogether.

Early arrivals were already out on the water by the time I arrived on Thursday, but after a stressful few days and long drive it was psychologically too much to be rigging up.  I took myself off in search of Dale first timer Gary and his campsite.  Also being new”ish” to the prospect of a campsite, an awning and half the house arrived in Gary’s van.  The boy doesn’t do anything by halves – mid awning I was beginning to rethink the rigging psychology I’d earlier employed.  Challenge completed though and joined by Dave and Neil, we proceeded to faff around a BBQ for a bit, eventually got fed (that’s a whole other story), and head off to the Griffin for a beer and banter with fellow lakers.

Friday saw some 6.5 action, which actually transpired into “should have rigged the” 5.5 action. Those present once they’d wobbled through the unfortunate wind shadow in our launch area played quite happily over the run into The Gan.  Having damaged his shoulder, to only recover and break two fingers, the view of Simon Michelle’s outhaul flapping aimlessly amid the tankers was not to be this trip, but the day was marked nonetheless by the welcome return to the water of Mike Crane.  Retinal detachment and some two years on it was the day to get back on the water.

Saturday morning’s poor puff and direction had some of us head off to Martin’s Haven in search of seal pups.  Neil cuts a lonely figure looking out over the cliff, but we assure you he wasn’t ready to jump, we found seals!

Friday afternoon did see something vaguely sailable come in though so it was out again for some light wind skills practice.  It dawned on me that I’ve spent a lot of time recently concentrating on that elusive back foot strap and water starts.  The afternoon turned out to be a timely reminder not to get lazy in these light days – I still have a lot to forget if I don’t the time in.

Contributed by: Candice

Going with the Flow

Monday, October 11th, 2010

The skies didn’t quite looking as welcome as forecast but at least it was dry as a group of 16 paddlers congregated at Bourne End marina to start their excursion back to Bray along the Thames. It was a motley crew with 5 kayakers, 3 canoeists and 8 stand up paddleboarders.

Launching from the bank at Bourne End was interesting as there was quite a drop to get on the water with some making more of a splash than others.

Starting at Bourne End

The canoe team headed by John with kids Sam and Dan on hand to paddle from time to time was the support boat carrying the all important pringles, chocolate and water! There were novice SUPers in the group namely Ariane and Claire who proved their mettle by completing the whole paddle despite the occasional cramp in the feet and a dunking in the water near Bray Lock for Claire courtesy of her daughter!

There were power paddlers Ian and Mark who quickly took the lead and who eventually disappeared into the distance as they were under orders from other halves to be back in good time!

Safety canoe

This worked out rather well for the rest of the team who were able to take a well earned break on John Lindley’s boat which was moored up in Maidenhead where the hospitality was second to none with Pimms, beers, tea and nibbles – he’s already offered to provide mince pies and mulled wine for the Christmas paddle…

The sun came out as the group passed under Maidenhead bridge and did it get hot then.  Ariane who was SUPing was definitely feeling the heat in her wetsuit while kayaker Neil’s choice of hat was very flattering.  At this point a bit of a head wind developed which almost stopped everyone in their tracks whilst paddling up from the Waterside Inn towards Bray Lock.


All the locks and weirs were successfully negoitated with short walks to take kit from one side of the river to the next. Finally it was a relatively short paddle from Bray Lock to the entrance of the Cut, the view of the Summerleaze footbridge was most welcome as it meant the end was in sight.

The Cut proved a bit of a challenge as it was an up stream paddle but with the smell of coffee in the air, a last push bought everyone back to the Lake.  Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the trip and already discussing the next one as well as the Christmas paddle set for December 12th – all paddlers must wear some Tinsel or Baubles to get in the festive spirit.   For more photos check out our fanpage on Facebook.

Contributed by: Bray Team

A Manic Monkey takes up the challenge

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Alexei Murphy competed for the Manic Monkeys at the RYA Volvo South Zone Championships at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy over the weekend of 25/26th Sep. A total of 36 windsurfers turned up and over 200 young sailors competed in all at the event. With a triathlon also taking place at the venue it was a tough job getting a spot to rig up! Being a championship, the format was much more stringent than the more relaxed T15 events.

The box and outer loop courses were demanding in 16 knots and choppy conditions but the young windsurfers survived well and demonstrated tremendous skill. Racing rules were strictly applied (what does that yellow flag with the black dot mean again??). Alexei found himself penalised 5 points for being more interested in lunch than tallying on time (I blame the parents!). The racing took place quite a distance from shore so not much fun for the spectators struggling to see what was happening through binoculars in that cold northerly breeze!

Alexei had a mixed series in the 4.5m class finishing in 6th place overall. He struggled a bit getting it right on the upwind legs but did manage a first place in race 2, good going to get a bullet in his first time in such an event. It was a great experience and, with 6 races being completed over the two days, well worth the long trip to WPNSA. Hopefully we will see more Manic Monkeys at next year’s Championships!

Contributed by: Noel Murphy