Pearse Geaney: smile, you've won

Tracht Beach in Kinvara, Co Galway was the final location of the 2010 Irish Slalom Series. A massively successful year in terms of numbers and participants the final event was going to be a success, wind or no wind.

Unfortunately for the numbers who travelled we got the only wind-less weekend for months. However, as usual that never stopped the event organisers in Galway putting on a good show.

Run over the October Bank Holiday weekend, traditionally acquainted with wind, chop and small sails, we were extremely unlucky not to have any racing. But as usual with these events it didn’t stop the ISS fleet from taking to the water.

Fun racing was organised and over thirty sails took to the water with the competitive edge normally associated with our races still in place. With a diminishing light breeze a lot of pumping was in order to get around the upwind mark.

A strengthening women’s fleet saw Anna Ryan, Eilis NiDhuill and Laura McCauley fight it out around the markers while newcomers like Michael Dardis to the series got an insight into the complexity of racing. Great to see new people at the events and also welcoming back world travellers like Eoghan Cudamore.

All looking good for next years racing! Saturday ended with no official races but at least the event organisers had us all well fed with warm soup and ‘rather posh’ sandwiches supplied by local Publican Michael Keogh.

The Irish Slalom Series has continued to attract new people to our events but importantly kept others coming back. We are especially grateful to local sailor and new Irish Slalom racer Alex Brett. Alex, living in Kinvara, was constantly on hand to offer assistance over the weekend and was heard more than once ‘if you need anything just let me know’. And we did ask – for a boat! Thanks to Alex for supplying a boat to cover safety.

However, as the event organisers will tell you, nothing ever goes that smoothly. A slight mishap with the boat meant it could only go in reverse! The Kinvara locals were telling stories that night of two Donegal men and a Cork man going in reverse across the Bay. John Boyce’s Sat nav was slightly off but the men found their way to the pier in Kinvara.

Racing was cancelled on the Sunday but some of the ISS competitors took to the water and took advantage of the flat calm waters of Tracht beach. Kevin Cunningham was seen free-styling on his SUP while Aidan Grandfield was attempting 360’s on Slalom gear and still no wind. Great to see people on the water though!

Like everything the wind arrived on the Bank Holiday Monday. Some of the crew took the chance to hit the waves of the west coast in Fanore and got some fantastic conditions on 4.7’s while some of the Slalom crowd hit the water on sails ranging from 5.5 to 9.4 and were truly blasted off the water.

That was it for a fantastic weekend. Kinvara as a location was perfect, welcoming and with huge potential for next year should the wind kick in. The organisation as usual was perfect and the competitors treated like pros for a couple of days.

The overall winners for the ISS Slalom Series Gold Fleet 2010 are:

1st Place Overall Winner Pearse Geaney
2nd Place Overall Maurice Owens
3rd Place Hannes Louet-Feisser

1st Grandmaster went to Chris Loughridge

Youth prize went to Matt McNutt who received the Surfdock sponsored quiver of race gear. This prize was originally initiated by the late Alan Harris of Surfdock. Matt was an extremely worthy recipient of such a great prize and I’m sure he’ll push on for further honours next year.

Overall Winner in Ladies Category: Alison Beirne

A special prize was given under the ‘Most improved sailor in the Gold Fleet: Glen Worden

The overall winners for the ISS Slalom Series Silver Fleet 2010 are

1st Place Overall Winner Gary Pope
2nd Place Overall Kevin McGuinness
3rd Place James Kelly

Overall Winner in Ladies Category: Laura McCauley

Ben Proffitt: fired up

The 2010 BWA UK Wave Tour has once again delivered with many top places going down to the wire at in the final round in some of the most spectacular and challenging conditions seen at Gwithian, Cornwall.

Spurred by his fantastic PWA results, Ben Proffitt (Simmer) finally took the crown he has worked so hard for with consistent wins in Ireland and Scotland. Chris Murray and George Shillito (Tushingham, Starboard) delivered consistent performances to take well deserved 2nd and 3rd respectively. Further stars to watch in 2011 will undoubtedly be Sam Neal (JP, Neil Pryde) and Richard Jones (Fanatic, North).

The big question... after a giant-slaying 2010, will Andy 'Bubble' Chambers (JP, Neil Pryde) hang up his freestyle hat and cause more upset to the pros in 2011? Of course the fleet result was upset by the non-attendance of other stars such as Phil Horrocks (JP), John Skye (RRD, RRD), Timo Mullen (Starboard), and James Cox (Ezzy) who missed events and then lost valuable points in a savage and uncompromising 3-event tour which gave no charitable discards.

2010 Pro Champion: Ben Proffitt (Simmer, Funsport)
Vice Champion: Chris Murray (Tushingham, Starboard)
3rd: George Shillito (Tushingham, Starboard)

AMATEURS

There was a real Anglo/Scot battle in the amateurs as Adam Sims and Scott McDowell raged war in their respective countries. But with Sims pulling an epic performance out of the bag in Gwithian, Scotty finally fell to his dagger. Ian Gibson gave a die-hard performance to come a close 3rd next to new kid on the competition block, Jim Brookes-Dowsett in fourth.

With the new rules sending the top two amateurs into the Pro fleet in 2010 it will be exciting to see how Adam and Scott progress and upset the pros fleet!

2010 Amateur Champion: Adam Sims
Vice Champion: Scott McDowell
3rd: Ian Gibson

WOMEN

2010 saw some very welcome new faces for this fleet with a standout performance from Debbie Kennedy who took 1st place in both Tiree and Cornwall to secure a Champions title. Close on her heals and one to watch for 2011 is Jody Ward who put in consistent performances in her first year of wave competition to take the Vice Champion place.

Katie McAnena took 3rd overall despite only making one event. Busy studying to become a doctor she has assured us that she will return in 2011 to contend for the crown.

2010 Women’s Champion: Debbie Kennedy
Vice Champion: Jody Ward
3rd: Katie McAnena (RRD)

MASTERS

You think the pros are competitive...think again! The Masters fleet was a ferocious battle between RAF sailors and our old favourite Big Davey. Despite taking a win in Gwithian with an epic mast high wave performance, Big Davey had to settle for 2nd as RAF's own Craig Hamilton took the 2010 crown. Big Davey commented, "It is so hard to find the will to beat the RAF guys as they are far too nice. It was much easier when I could scrap with Nigel [Treacy] on the wave!"

The other 'nice guy', Russ Jenkins took 3rd overall place to show the UK that when it comes to competition, the RAF does the job well.

2010 Masters Champion: Craig Hamilton (RAF)
Vice Champion: Big Davey Edmiston
3rd: Russ Jenkins

YOUTHS

2010 saw the return of Aleksy Gayda. Aleksy put in a performance most pros would be proud of securing 1st place in Cornwall and overall 2010 Youth Champion, a great birthday present. Newcomers and ones to watch for 2011; Rhosneigr local Liam Ellis and George Bolwell took 2nd and 3rd overall.

2010 Youth Champion: Aleksy Gayda
Vice Champion: Liam Ellis
3rd: George Bolwell

The 2010 competition season is not yet over, as we have the inaugural Welsh Wave Sailing Amateur Champs ready to be held on the first windy weekend in November at Broadhaven. Sponsored by Pura Vida and Funsport and hosted by HavenSports, this event will see ‘amateur’ sailors battle in the Welsh waves with the Pros showing up to ‘show off’ their sponsors latest kit and their talents on the water!

And of course the BWA Team are already working on the 2011 season. We hope to release event dates before Christmas so in the meantime, enjoy the autumn winds!

Manguinhos: perfect for windsurfing

The third edition of the Buzios International Regatta (BIR) will be hosted by the Buzios Vela Clube, in Armacao de Buzios, Brasil, from the 5th to 12th February 2011.

This multi-windsurfing class regatta will host the IFCA South American Slalom Championships as the pinnacle event of the program.

The BIR will also include the Brazilian National Championships, in 4 classes (RS:X, Formula, Raceboard, and Techno293), an open event for the Formula Experience class and the 'King of Buzios' Grand Prix (long distance race).

This unique event includes all three formats of the racing discipline - course racing, slalom and marathon.

Manguinhos is just the perfect beach for windsurfing. Its waters are calm, warm and clean, without waves at the shore, without ditches or currents, without rocks or forests over its 5 km of extension. An eastern wind parallel to the beach, which curves to become perpendicular to the wind and calmly embrace you if you need it.

Manguinhos is a type of lagoon in the sea and that's why it is the place chosen by the best windsurfers in Brazil, Spain, New Zealand, Argentina, Mexico and Venezuela for the regular practices of their Olympic teams.