The Student Windsurfing Association

Aussie Kiss 13: The SWA’s Thirteenth Instalment of the UK’s Biggest Student Windsurfing Festival

17th-19th October 2014


Read all about it!

This year it seemed like a good opportunity to take a step back and look at the bigger picture; taking into account all the things that make Aussie Kiss such a special event for so many people.

While it may not be on quite the same scale as the Pozo Wave Championships, Aloha Classic or Bonaire Freestyle Event; Aussie Kiss still has something of similar proportions to offer its student audience.

It’s easy to forget that for a large number of those in attendance, this event is their first exposure to the world of structured and competitive windsurfing. On average, Aussie Kiss is the introduction to the ‘world of windsurfing’ for around 250 people who have had little or no contact with the sport before; often starting a lifelong love affair with a sport that will quickly become very close to their hearts.

For many, Aussie Kiss also marks the end of a summer spent instructing on season in various parts of the world; usually offering consistently warmer (and windier) climates. On the run up to the event they fly, drive or (at worst) hitch-hike their way down to Devon to create an unusually high concentration of RYA qualified instructors in one place; and for the weekend of Aussie Kiss, that place once again was Roadford Lake. Under the watchful eyes of the SWA’s Instructor Managers (Kate O’Flynn and Filip Markiewicz) and coordinated by the senior members of Colwyn Bay Watersports, this crack team of instructors (more than 50 strong) provided structured tuition to more than 150 beginners…in just a single day! No mean feat. Throughout both days the Roadford team also worked with our student instructors and ‘Stretch’ to provide unrivalled levels of safety cover at all times.

At this point it’s worth pointing out that Aussie Kiss isn’t just about the beginners, it’s also about solidifying the ongoing passion for the sport in the ranks of the intermediates and advanced. So while the beginners are receiving record breaking levels of tuition, a range of ‘demo’ kit is available for intermediates and advanced to take out for a free sail. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut at club level as (let’s face it) university clubs aren’t made of money and often have to make do with the kit they have available within their budgets.

With the likes of Ollie Acton and Doug Whitcher from Patrik/Sail Loft and Simon from Boardwise showcasing some of the latest, shiniest rigs and boards; it was a great opportunity to re-enthuse those who have moved past beginner level and are now looking for even more from the sport. For many, this is a great opportunity for a ‘try before you buy’ sail as the next student loan instalment is eagerly awaited!

All that said, we should remember that Aussie Kiss is still a festival celebrating everything Windsurfing and Windsurfing-related. Now in its thirteenth year (hence the theme: AK13 – (un)lucky for…), the festival once again drew the support of Red Bull (bringing their in-house DJ ‘Doodles’) providing both lakeside and night time entertainment.

The SWA’s resident DJ for the weekend (Sam Spreads) worked the crowd on both Friday and Saturday night to create an epic party atmosphere and Isaac Indiana returned for their third (and final) year offering an acoustic set at the lakeside on Saturday afternoon and a fantastic night time set; this (sadly) being their penultimate performance before they split up to go their separate ways.

Both Friday and Saturday night at Bude Holiday Park brought a unique atmosphere and did not disappoint. On Saturday, fancy-dress effort levels were high with a wide range of interpretations on the main theme showcasing in the club (be that Apollo 13, Goose from Top Gun…or a wide range of others that you’ll just have to check out in the photographs!).

Aussie Kiss was also the platform to showcase the new SWA Apparel clothing line introduced with the support of Mark Glendinning and Alice Duthie from Supersaturated; providing the organisation with its first samples of SWA Tour T’s, Fur-Lined Hoods and branded OnePiece Onsies (all of which are now on sale for you to purchase!).

For the third year running, the SWA ‘lucked out’ with the presence of the crucial element for the sport: Wind!

As always, Sunday saw the first Team Racing and Freestyle competitions of the SWA calendar take place; and standards were high. After some fierce competition through the heats in the Team Race, Cardiff came out on top to take 1st place on the podium; with Southampton in 2nd and the Bristol team placing 3rd.

The freestyle competition saw the cream of the crop battle it out before a victor was finally crowned. Alex Mitchell from Portsmouth took the top spot, narrowly beating Louis Morris from Bristol with Nadir Balena from Solent taking 3rd place. Prizes at the event were provided by Boardwise, Colwyn Bay Watersports, Patrik/Sail Loft, Red Bull, Supersaturated and Spartan.

Outside of the beginner tuition, instruction, sponsors and party; another core component of Aussie Kiss was present once again: the clinics.

A range of clinics were on offer from ‘Getting Planing and Using the Harness’ for intermediates (run by Sami Poole of Colwyn Bay Watersports) right through to ‘Duck and Carve Gybes’ (run by Jo Wright of the SWA) and ‘Getting Started in Waves’ (run by Duncan Dumbreck of Colwyn Bay Watersports). 

A ‘Freestyle Q&A’ was run by Ollie Acton from Patrik / Sail Loft and there was even a ‘Board Repair Clinic’ run by Dave Coulthurst (of the SWA).

For the SWA, Aussie Kiss marks the start of yet another year of ongoing competition, tuition and social activity within the sport. This year the SWA will host 5 Core (inland) events and 3 Wave events around the UK (the next event being Liverpool’s ‘Northern Monkey’ on 7th-9th November 2014). So at a time when there is much talk of our sport shrinking, attending an event like this really makes that hard to believe. With over 2000 active members across the UK forming a passionate community of student windsurfers, Aussie Kiss is just a snapshot of what the SWA is all about; but it is one hell of a snapshot.

Were you there? Will you be there next year?

We will be.




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