The Student Windsurfing Association
Thumb. Photo Credit - Rachel Coverdale

The Puravida SWA Wave Series Round 2 - PlymEx Cuave

Exeter University Windsurfing Club teamed up with Plymouth University’s club to not only offer the second round of the SWA Puravida wave series but also two days of flat water tuition at Sibleyback Lake, for all budding beginners and intermediates. As a result 100 students made the trek to Plymouth to enjoy what was set to be a classic SWA weekend!


Liverpool University won the award for commitment to the SWA, enduring a grueling 7-hour journey down on Friday evening. However, this was all blissfully forgotten as everybody caught up after the long Christmas break and danced the night away at the finest venue Plymouth had to offer, Bang-Bang.

Saturday morning came round a little too early for some. Lead series sponsor Jim from Puravida had given the call for all wave sailors to head to the Bluff for 11am, whilst everybody else headed to Sibleyback Lake. The wave sailors were met with an overcast sky, low winds and no sign of any descent swell. Not quite what we had been hoping for. As Sam Ross (as always being one of the most positive people there) put it: the potential for the waves to improve was enormous. However the morning was not wasted the sponsors and guest judges; Jim, Sarah Bibby, Stefan Hilder and Ian Manuel Ross provided an interesting talk including board design, fins and kit choice.

Still Saturday Weather

Will Jones SUPping

Photo Credit - Rachel Coverdale
Ladies Final. Photo Credit - Rachel Coverdale

In the afternoon the wind still showed no sign of improving however as the tide started to rise some knee high waves did appear. The always enthusiastic Sam Ross and Luke Green from Tushingham stepped up to the plate and tempted everyone into their wetsuits for a one-design windSUP competition with the lure of some prizes.

The competitors took to the water and with the help of the increasing sized waves, an enthusiastic commentary from Sam Ross and a bit of friendly competition; everybody was having a great time. Shapes were being thrown left, right and center on the SUPs, the more old skool the better, and after several close heats the final came down to Louis Morris (Bristol), Tom Firth (Cardiff) and Jo Wright (Exeter). Jo bravely returned to the water minutes after suffering from a knock to the head sustained during a washing machining in the shore-break during her semi. With Jo still slightly dazed so it was a two horse race between Tom and Louis. Tom’s wave selection impressed the crowd and his variation of moves secured him the win.

During the ladies final, argued by some to be highlight of the competition, the biggest sets of the day came through. Rachael Ince (Exeter) went all out to catch the wave of the day, even slicing her lip open in the process. But it was worth it in the end taking the win over Jo and Charlotte Stokes (Southampton).

sam-ross-winners 10 knots of wind and small waves might not sound like the most epic conditions for a wave competition but the SWA crew made the most out of it on Tushingham 5.2 Edges and Starboard Wind Sups, after some early heats that had light wind freestyle on small waves winning through the pushing tide gave us some great punchy waves to play in. A great crowd added to the atmosphere and it was fantastic to see the ladies steel the show when the conditions hit the best in their final Rach Ince picked up the wave of the day”. – Sam Ross (Sam Ross windsurfing)

Rach Ince, Charlotte Stokes and Tom Firth 

Not to be out-done, the lake goers enjoyed all that Sibleyback had to offer including beginner and intermediate tuition, wakeboarding and SUPing. Simon Garrod-Bell (UWE), made the most of the light winds even somehow managing to get up on the plane at one point, much to his delight!

Siblyback Lake: Windsurfing, Wakeboarding and a gig by Surahn Brown (Photo Credits -  Liliya Ys)

As the sun began to fade everybody heading back to Plymouth enjoyed some pizza, doned their double- acts fancy dress (think Bill and Ben, 118, 118, the Chuckle Brothers and an unusual pair of llamas) and headed down to Plymouth’s Students Union to enjoy live music courtesy of James Bates, share stories of the days events and out-do each other on the dance floor. Artist Surahn Brown gave the lucky lakegoers a gig in the pub on Saturday.

s Bill and Ben. Photo credit - Ann Gwyther118-118. Photo Credit - Ann Gwyther
Clockwise from Top: Bill and Ben (Photo credit Ann Gwyther); 118-118 (Photo credit Ann Gwyther); Mhana Mhana (Photo credit Rachel Coverdale)

Sunday offered a much more promising forecast. Once again everyone travelled back to the Bluff but on arrival there was dismay. A similar set of conditions to Saturday morning greeted us. Light winds, no wave and this time some rain to top it off. Jim and Ian remained optimistic and promised better conditions were on the way and ensured we were all rigged and ready to go. They were right! At 12.30, someone flicked the switch and the wind finally arrived. Nicely timed with the in-coming tide the waves were improving too. So the heats were drawn on the shiny new swa-app and everyone took to the water. 

s2 Spectatorss The-Bluff

The judging team made up of Sarah, Stefan and Ian commented on the high level of skill shown by all sailors. Due to the onshore conditions, they were judging two wave-rides and one jump. The girls were thrown into the mix with the guys, which definitely helped push their level. In the end the women’s result stood with Charlotte Stoke taking 3rd, Rachael Ince showing off the skills she learnt in Tenerife to take 2nd and Jo Wright taking 1st

The overall result was an extremely tightly fought affair with Will Jones (Cardiff), Mike Ellis (Southampton), Jony Price (Cardiff) and current tour leader Ben Page (Southampton) all making it through to the final. Will, competing on a board borrowed from Sam Ross (Starboard’s 2013 87 Quad), couldn’t quite find the consistency he had shown in earlier heats. Despite some huge attempts he couldn’t make any back loops stick, so took 4th overall. Mike showed how all his recent time on the water is paying off with a great forward off the lip and some solid wave riding to take 3rd. Jony who has just returned from his storm-chaser mission to Ireland, stole the show when it came to wave-riding, achieving the highest wave score of the day to take 2nd. Ben put in a stellar performance throughout all of his heats summing it up by pulling off the cleanest forward of the day in the final and showing some great wave riding skills. He took a much deserved win.


Saturday Sailing

I think the level is good this year, it always fluctuates and the guys this year have a lot of potential, the conditions were very tricky and the top guys stood out, making the most of what was available! I would say the results reflect the stand out guys - Ben Page, making sure he got a clean forward in each round, Jony Price for his wave riding in very hard conditions, in the girls Jo Wright for her wave riding, holding her own against the lads in a hard heat!” – Stefan Hilder (Puravida, Simmer Style, No Limitz Masts and K4 Fins)

Prizes were in abundance as a result of some generous sponsorship from Silverstick, SUPboarder, Spartan, Supersaturated and Sails & Canvas (a company making bags from recycled retro windsurf sails). The success of the event would not have been possible without the continued support of Jim from Puravida who is not only the main sponsor of the series, but also organizes the safety cover for our events, decides the best beaches to run from and organizes the judging. Also big thank you to Sam Ross and Tushingham for their continued support, as well as Plymouth and Exeter University and all our lovely sponsors. It would not be possible without you!


We look forward to seeing you at the next SWA wave event hosted by Cardiff University (Cardiff Wave Classic: 22nd -24th February).

Jo Wright (Starboard/Tushingham, Sam Ross windsurfing)

You may want to check out these other blogs of the event by Louis Morris and Jo Wright.

2012-13 sponsorblock


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