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As summer comes to an end and the new term of University fast approaches, the National Watersports Festival (NWF) was eagerly anticipated.


There was an excellent turn out at Hayling, despite competition from a well-known music festival on the same dates.


Read on below to find out all about it... 


Hundreds of windsurfing and watersports fanatics of all abilities were there keen to enjoy a weekend of everything NWF had to offer.

Despite having a great turn out, beautiful sun and an epic location, there seemed to be something missing. Something that us WINDsurfers rely on. Yes, it seemed that the weather system had broken. But even the mega highs of 2-3 knots did not stop every race from taking place. It was also a fantastic opportunity to appreciate the wide range of other watersports that often get overlooked at these events. One of the most popular of the newer watersports at the event was Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP); and it was fantastic to see hundreds of virgin stand-up paddleboarders (and kayakers) on the water (myself included).

NWF view from beach

Situated on the beautiful Hayling Beach, NWF had a number of stalls and stands, and a huge marquee full of the latest kit which made this year’s vow not spend our entire student loan by the end of first term seem highly unachievable. A number of windsurf, kiteboarding and SUP taster sessions were also run throughout the weekend, attracting yet more keen newbies to the sport. There were also clinics run by some well-known pro windsurfers, including Simon Bornhoft (pictured crowd-surfing…literally!) and Sam Ross. I personally learnt a great deal from these clinics, and picked up some really simple tips that will (hopefully!) make such a difference to my windsurfing.

NWF Crowd-Surfing

One of the best things about this weekend was the wide range of ages at the festival. It wasn’t just the bleach blonde haired, tanned beach bums (although there were many)- there were families, children, adults and a decent show of retired-windsurfers; some of whom provide some of the windsurf wisdom that we all need a bit of sometimes. Plus, they tell some of the best stories! And they brought an array of cracking dance moves to the parties!

Oh yes, even though NWF love a good windsurf, they love a good party even more. Both the Friday and Saturday nights offered amazing parties with awesome live bands busting out all the classics. The Saturday night topped the lot with the fancy dress party- it was brilliant to see everyone getting involved. The atmosphere was buzzing for the entire night, with a hardcore mosh pit forming at the heart of the dance floor. Everyone’s voices were a little husky the next morning after screaming along to the classic tunes being played by the bands.  That’s the windsurfing way and Bestival's got nothing on us!

NWF Party Tent

The racing and freestyle events provided some great entertainment for those not involved, and really proved how good at the sport you can be with plenty of practice and a few good dollops of dedication. All the events were underway despite the severe lack of wind and were split into categories for all abilities: T15 (for those under 16yrs), free ride (for those who just love a go!) and race (for those who compete nationally). There were standard course races, and my personal favourite: the freestyle competition.

NWF this year was probably best known for its light-wind freestyle. No wind? Time to use some imagination... jet skis? Yes, jet skis towed the competitors along fast enough for them to show them what they’ve got. And my, have they got it! Boys, take note, windsurfing will make you at least 3 times more attractive than you already are!

Prize giving, presented the winning competitors with some fantastic, top of the range, windsurfing and paddle-boarding kit. And it wasn’t just the professionals that won, NWF saw students, and the novices go home with some amazing prizes.

Once again, the National Watersports Festival did not disappoint. The amazing kit, talent and friendly environment, brought us yet more recruits to the wondrous watersport that is windsurfing. The NWF knows how to party, and proves that although there may be no wind, windsurfers always know how to have fun!

BRING ON NEXT YEAR! (and wind please!)

Written by Claire Bowman (UWE Windsurf Club), photographs by Claire Bowman and Nicky Fry (UWE Windsurf Club)