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London took centre stage on the weekend of the 17th-19th February as over 130 windsurfers from universities across the UK descended on the capital to share in the thrill of Imperial College London’s brand new student windsurfing event: Soggy Cockney. Despite light winds, the weekend was a rip roaring success and a huge celebration of sport with the city horizon scattered with windsurf sails bathing in the February sun. The Student Windsurfing Association (SWA) certainly made the most of the many activities held both on and off the water. Soggy Cockney was the last of the three SWA core events held this academic year in association with Sport Imperial and Queen Mary Reservoir. This huge inter-university collaboration attracted windsurfing clubs from every corner of the UK. Imperial stormed onto the SWA circuit with a weekend that will not be forgotten and we hope it's the first of many more to come!

Through a special partnership with Queen Mary Reservoir Imperial pushed their weekend as platform for personal development and they delivered a crammed roster of classes to ensure all of the weekend's attendees had the opportunity to learn and improve.  Despite the calm water, the majority of those in attendance signed up for a class. Intermediates and advanced riders were unable to put their high speed skills into practice but some detailed simulator clinics gave the opportunity to absorb vital top tips to carry forward and meet others in a similar situation. It was also a fantastic weekend for those who had never tried the sport before to hop out onto the water and give it a go! Over 24 new beginners were given their first taste of the sport which is always a special moment, and considering that the UK in February is as 'nippy' as it gets, we owe all who joined the sport for the first time some high fives and hot chocolates! bbbrrrrrr.

 

 

As is the case with a weather dependant event booked 6 months in advance not everything goes to plan. In the early afternoon the wind completely died, far from ideal for a mass of 130 thrusty windsurf addicts. Through the necessity of organised fun the impromptu 'Low Wind Olympics' were born, with 4 enthusiastic teams competing in synchronised dance, tug of war, and sprint. The conditions didn't dampen spirits for long as the splashing competitors on their buoyant SUPs showed just how fun windsurfers can be! Deploying a cunning rowing stroke to conquer the tug of war, "Super Future Pandas" stomped to victory just as the later afternoon wind arrived. A stunning sunset drew day one to a close.

 

 

Dressed as a vibrant horde of "Cockney Rhyming Slang" the SWA descend upon central London for another epic Saturday party, their destination: Walkabout-on-Thames! Amongst the crowd were: Bees and Honey (Money) - Birmingham, Cows and Kisses (Misses) - Imperial, Wallace and Gromit (Vomit) - Bristol as well as many other hilarious combinations. The placed rocked with a Macerena mad, Cotten-Eyed crazed ball of windsurfing energy.

 

On Sunday the wind picked up a bit and set the back drop for the weekend's windsurfing competitions. In line the SWA series, a encompassing range of disciplines were represented giving the weekend participants the chance to get out on the water and participate in some friendly competition. First off was the Team race, with 15 different teams entering a tightly contested field of competitors. With some close heats the final came down to a very strong field with Swansea eventually taking the win followed closely by Birmingham, Southampton and then Imperial. The winners each received an exclusive soggy cockney limited edition T-shirt and a rather flashy trophy! Let's hope they don't lose it!

 

 

The advanced racing took place in a light spell of wind and came down to some nifty light wind pumping on the somewhat sinky 120L fleet. Thomas Sambrook (Birmingham) took the top spot followed by Ben Bulson (Bristol) and Ross Griffin (Birmingham) in a close 3rd.

 

The afternoon saw the Beginner, Intermediate and Freestyle competitions with a fantastic turn out for each and the usual SWA sportsmanship. Bringing home the intermediate fleet was: Natalia Orgonova (Birmingham), Giovanna Sidaou (Southampton) and Tom Upcraft (Imperial). An outstanding turn out was also seen for the beginner races finishing: 1st Katie Prestage (Birmingham), 2nd Klaudia Swistek (Bristol), 3rd Tom Kirk (Nottingham).

 

The weekend drew to a close with a gentle Sunday afternoon where the events attendees took to the water once more. It was a fantastic weekend whcih truly showcased all the London has to offer it's windsurfing inhabitants and student migrations alike. Imperial like to thank Sport Imperial and the Student Windsurfing Association for supporting them throughout the event preparation and making this incredible weekend possible.

 

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