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WAVEJAM

088 BOARDS www.boards.co.uk


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In his own inimitable style Russ ‘Crazy Horse’ Tetlow recounts the whys and wherefores behind the exciting and potentially huge new ‘event’ format to hit the UK’s shores. Pix by Simon Crowther... n 2004 I was spotted in Brandon Bay doing what crazy windsurfing types do, and I was offered sponsorship. My potential sponsors suggested I should try my hand at competing, so I entered the National Wave Championships at Rhosneigr. Due to the lack of other aged competitors I had to enter the pro fleet, and by a strange twist of fate I ended up walking away as the National Masters Wave Champion with a winner’s cheque for £50. Not bad for a first competition, but in all fairness I hadn’t really won a thing. The waves were mediocre at best and the wind was very light, and I was the only master who turned up! Nevertheless, I had been crowned National Masters Wave Champion, so put myself out to tender and landed a better sponsorship deal than I had originally been offered. Sponsorship sorted, I set out to stamp my mark on the Masters Trophy. The next competition was in Tiree, but wind conditions were constantly changing and I made a complete mess of my sail selection, going out in the first round. There’s a lot more to competing than just turning

I

SO, THAT’S THE PLAN – THE BEST SAILORS, AT THE BEST PLACES, AT THE BEST TIME...

Steve King



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anyway, so why not make sure we’re all at the same beach? And then take a minute or two to see who’s going off, who’s out-sailing themselves, who’s getting the highest, going the deepest, ripping the hardest, and appreciate just how good they are. It’s what UK windsurfers are doing anyway – only now we’re going to capture it on film and then we’re going to show Joe Public just how sexy this sport really is.

Steve Thorp

...PEOPLE DON’T GET TO SEE JUST HOW GOOD UK CONDITIONS CAN BE, AND HOW HOT OUR SAILORS ARE AT RIPPING THEM...

up at a beach and enjoying the conditions – and so much for stamping my mark on anything! After that I planned to attend every competition possible, but the expense of travelling soon saw me rethinking that plan. Fuel costs alone are crippling, then there’s food, accommodation, beer... For the price of a few competition weekends you could have a couple of weeks’ sailing abroad in your boardies. And then there’s the dreaded wind’n’waves no-show. Sod’s law says you travel to one end of the country and the wind goes the other way. As a consequence, from that day till this, although super-keen to do competitions, I haven’t showed up for one more contest. I just don’t see the point in wavesailors turning up at wave competitions if the forecast is for no wind and no waves. I’m not pointing any fingers or blaming anyone here. I fully appreciate that competition organisers don’t have the luxury of saying, “Ah, bollox! It’s not windy, let’s not bother.” Things need organising a long time in advance, and the logistics behind an event of any sort is mind-boggling, especially in this day and age. But the sad truth is that we aren’t getting enough decent competitions happening in decent conditions around the UK to showcase the tremendous talent we have. It’s such a shame, as people don’t get to see just how good UK conditions can be, or how hot our sailors are at ripping them.

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We’re Jamming... That was how the Wavejam idea came about. We wanted to show the British public what they’ve been missing so they could see for themselves just how good their homegrown talent really is. Not just the pros – people like you and me can also have their moment of glory. The ethos of Wavejam is simple: if it’s windy and it’s wavy we’re all going to be at the beach

So, that’s the plan. Bring together the best windsurfers from around the UK, at the UK’s hottest windsurfing venues, when those venues are blessed with waves and wind. The best sailors, at the best places, at the best time. It’s about doing your own thing; pushing yourself for your own self-gratification. No prizemoney, no insurance (other than your own – third party a minimum, please), and just follow the normal rules of the wave. Break out your best moves and get those moves on film! Sometimes you just can’t believe how good a day has been until you see it played back on the screen. It’s remarkable how good you can actually look, and for the pros it’s a fantastic opportunity to shine and have that glint captured on film. And this is just the start – who knows how far this will go? Who knows who will become interested, or how big this thing will become?

Jamming Planning Having an idea is one thing, but turning that idea into a plan, putting that plan into action and then seeing it through to fruition? Well, that’s just something altogether different. For years now people have been saying the same thing about the lack of conditions at events, but combining optimum conditions AND competition with any reliability is virtually impossible. It relies far more on luck than judgement for things to come together. But who in their right mind would be brave enough to put themselves forward to do something about this shortfall? Who on Earth knows enough about windsurfing to have the guts to say, “Right, we’re going to go to this


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Steve Thorp heading out at Porthmeor

break, on this day”. Who has the knowledge of all the sailors and their contact details? Who has the organisational skill to pull it off? Who’s stupid enough to take on something that’s going to use up so much of their free time? Could such a selfless soul ever step forward? Well, believe it or not, the man who does, is, and has, is none other than Leicestershire’s very own mild-mannered Steve Thorp. The Wavejam seed has been planted, the tester has already taken place, and all we can do now is wait and see how the idea progresses. Over to Steve now for his account of the action thus far...

THE FIRST EVER WAVEJAM Steve Thorp: On paper it seemed relatively straightforward – get all of your mates and a few camera dudes to turn up at a windy, wavy beach and go sail together. Easy. The reality, however, turned out to be a little more tricky... The forecast for 25' waves and 30mph winds was enough to get everybody excited, but just where would be best? With some forecasts the answer is obvious – but in a westerly with a totally west swell the call isn’t quite so simple. Most of Devon and Cornwall’s north coast would be blown out (an onshore mess), and much of the South Coast just wouldn’t be getting the big swell. There were some maybes (a reef in South Wales or Mudeford), but eventually we whittled it down to two ‘safe’ options – Marazion (Maza) or

Daymer. A Marazion local had told me it would be pretty flat, so on Thursday night I made the call for Daymer. Come Friday morning I’d been persuaded to change it to Marazion! Daymer would be a bit of a logistical nightmare; the waves were best on the far side of the estuary so photographers would be on one side and most sailors would launch on the other to avoid the long walk with kit. They’d have to sail across the estuary on an outgoing tide, take a risk with kit choice and hope nothing broke (same as usual though, really). Marazion, on the other hand, made a lot more sense. One car-park, everyone together, easy viewing, take pix from your van and to go the Station Inn for a post-sail drink. So Marazion it was! Well, we all arrived early Saturday morning to find that Marazion was TOTALLY flat. So the call was changed back to Daymer. Doh! Oh well. I was pretty chuffed that despite 90% of the pros being away we still had a healthy bunch of rippers turn up, plus two proper photographers and Alfie the video pro. Game on. Quite what the game was though, we weren’t sure. Nothing had been prearranged for this test run Wavejam – we were all just going for a sail and the craic. Despite the mega forecast, the weather wasn’t really playing ball. It rained, it squalled, was generally pretty unpleasant, and whatever sail you rigged it was going to be

Andy King

wrong for 70% of the time. Clyde Waite in particular wasn’t happy, and by all accounts had his worst session ever. He broke an extension, ripped his wetsuit, if he rigged a 5.0m he needed a 4.0m, and vice-versa. He cleared off home cursing and dragging James Cox with him, but he did at least say it was good to be doing a Wavejam, much to my relief. More relief came when news filtered back that just about everywhere else had been 

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Steve Thorp

WHO KNOWS HOW FAR THIS WILL GO? WHO KNOWS WHO WILL BECOME INTERESTED, OR HOW BIG THIS THING WILL BECOME?

Chris Murray

equally frustrating, and if anything we’d had the best of it. Phew! Sunday morning, and the plan was for everyone to head wherever they wished and report back on the conditions. I drove past Maza first thing, and it looked OK considering the high tide, but I really wanted to check out Porthmeor. I like Porthmeor! It’s a lovely place, and it looked very doable. Nick Moffat, Alfie and Si Crowther gave it the thumbs up, so I texted everyone to say we’d be sailing there until the tide dropped at Marazion.

It turned out to be pretty tricky; mast-high at times, cross-on, light on the inside, fully windy out the back, and in the impact zone the waves had more power than the wind! Much swimming and sinus flushing was the result, with a few scary rides thrown in. All good fun though. When we rocked up at Maza it seemed that everything had finally come together – headhigh waves, 4.5m sails, cross-shore and loads out already. Sweet. This was definitely the best session of the weekend, and Andy King was ruling it. Super-high backies and pushies made him the easy standout in conditions that weren’t as easy as they looked for jumping. The riding was good though, and we all ripped into the easy waves until dusk. I felt a bit gutted for those who had left on Saturday, but pleased that we’d finally got some good stuff on film. Overall it was a successful weekend, we had loads of sailing, learned a few lessons, and will iron out the bugs for next time – but I guess when you get all your mates and a few photographers together to go windsurfing you really can’t go wrong. Roll on the next big forecast... 

Find out more about Wavejam via www.stevethorp.co.uk or search for the ‘WAVEJAM’ group on www.facebook.com 092 BOARDS www.boards.co.uk

Wavejam1 - Boards Magazine  

Wavejam windsurfing event held at Marazion, Cornwall, UK.

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