This year was bigger and better!
The National Windsurfing Festival returned but this time with the addition of Stand up Paddleboarding and Kite Surfing on the menu, and with a change of name to the National Watersports Festival and with a recently retired Alan Cross able to spend more time marketing the event it was bound to be even better.
It wasn’t until I drove over the bridge and onto Hayling Island and spotted the sign that I fully registered that this year something was different and that the Windsurfing Festival had actually evolved into a Watersports Festival, such is the rise of the SUP and Kites over last few years and need for Windsurfers to satisfy and maximize their on water playtime.
Things were busy, very busy with numbers no doubt swelled by the glorious weather and it was by far the biggest NWF to date. Winds were light on Saturday so SUP conditions were good; sailing was still accessible to all those still game to get involved and with large numbers on the start line and many in fancy dress. Due to the light winds the freestyle boys had to do what they could to entertain the crowds by flying off the back of a jet skis while the poor kites just hung limp on the beach!
After partying the night away to the Heathrow Jets, Sunday saw a few more knots of wind for the sailors to get over their hangovers and numbers in the first race, although good, were slow to muster. Plenty of Bray Lake members were in attendance both on the water and at the party, with many taking part although some preferred the crucial role of cheer leader. Those that signed up did Bray Lake proud with several winning races, classes and events. Mr Hemsley and Graham won in various windsurfing classes and Linz won the Ladies SUP Sprint and 14 Mile Round The Island SUP race.
Something to aim for next year, to participate and not just spectate I think. Maybe not the 14 miles round the island to be fair, but no doubt now I’ve said that the wind will be spectacular and I’ll be struggling to rig a hankie!
See you on the water.
Contributed by: Candice