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The Student Windsurfing Association
Just press play was the theme for AK4 and play we did.  The SWA Festival 2005 was arguably the best yet as hundreds of eager students descended on Devon for one action-packed weekend of non-stop windsurfing mayhem.

Friday night was a chance for everyone to catch up after the summer break and to sample the delights of Bude Holiday Park's bar.  The freshers got their first glimpse of what was to come and the mini-bus drivers had a chance to recover their weary selves after driving for hours to deepest darkest Devon.


Registering took a while but this just facilitated more drinking and partying, while others (perhaps a little more sensible) retired to the comfort of static caravans, complete with hot showers!

After a slight delay with the bacon butties (spare a thought for the poor woman who had to dish up 500 on less than one hours sleep) everyone arrived at Roadford to get involved with the day ahead.  The hill to the water was strewn with demo kit of the highest quality from the likes of Naish, Boardwise, Starboard/Tushingham, 604 Distribution (F2, Fanatic, Mistral, Arrows, North) and Ultrasport (JP, Bic, Neil Pryde). 



Before long everyone was split into groups with intermediates and beginners receiving top quality (and slightly over enthusiastic tuition) on and off the water.  Meanwhile the advanced were kept busy by freestyle guru and coaching extraordinaire Jem Hall and the speedy types were entertained by the fantastic efforts of national youth coach Oli Woodcock and GBR team sailor Hugh Sims-Williams.


With the theme of 'play that funky music' Bude Holiday Park was transformed into a sea of afros, aviators and flares as everyone changed into fancy dress for the Saturday night party.  Thanks to the efforts of Bude's resident DJ and band I.D.Ology, moshing and intermittent cheesy dancing ensued well into the night.


Sunday saw a surprisingly enthusiastic start, with hundreds queuing up to freesail the demo kit on offer.  The Boardwise freestyle competition run by the SWA's freestyle whiz Adam Cropper and judged by Jem (Jem Hall Windsurfing), Mark (604 Distribution) and Tris (Windsurf Magazine) offered entertainment more than electric moves in the light wind.  Yet, Dave Dawson (Southampton) landed first prize with an impressive display, Hugh Sims-Williams (Bristol) gained second and Alice Monk (Southampton) netted third.


A speed sailing competition run by Oli Woodcock in less than ideal winds proved, er? interesting.  The SWA's very own race officer, Bob Shelmerdine (Southampton), earned 1st place being the only one to actually record a time on the gun? people running on the shore were actually travelling faster!

AK4 was rounded off with prizegiving wares generously donated by the festival sponsors and associates, including a boom from Starboard/Tushingham for the Boardwise Freestyle winner.

In all, the event was a huge success and a fantastic start to the year.  We managed to raise in the order of £150 for Surfers Against Sewage the SWA nominated charity for this season, and over 300 people made it onto the water.  Well over 500 attended the party and the largest amount of beginners ever learnt to windsurf in one day (I made this last fact up but I reckon it's probably true!!!).

Cheers to everyone who helped out and made it happen, especially our sponsors (Boardwise, Starboards/Tushingham, Bic, Boardseeker.com and Naish), event supporters (Ultrasport, 604 Distribution, Windsurf Mag, Boards, SAS), the club presidents, the guys at Roadford, Bude Holiday Park, UKWA rescue boat drivers and of course the fantastic SWA committee!  But most of all, you THE STUDENTS!

For further coverage check out random local news papers in the Devon area, Windsurf Magazine, Boards Magazine, Boardseeker.com and windsurfing sites around the world!

Bring on Cardiff's event 'Doing it Doggy Style' 4th-6th November.

Check out the photos here