The Student Windsurfing Association

An equal number of guy and girl entrants in a wave comp, the Queen beats a Mexican (in beer pong), and Sam Tyler forgets everything from Saturday night...

This is the PlymEx 2018 round up! And you definitely want to read on!

On a cold, wet and windy Saturday morning, the best of the best (in terms of self motivation at least) of the Student Wavesailing community descended on Gwithian car park. The meeting point was chosen, partly for the free parking, but mainly because it was a good spot for wave sailing.

Although initially the first call was made for 9.30am (to much disappointment from the group chat), only one of the students, fresher and competitive windsurfer Sarah Jackson, managed to get to the carpark with her big van of kit before 10. By the time the last of the Competitors showed up, it was the afternoon (although some argued 1pm is still morning) and we were finally ready to get underway.


The conditions were not ideal, despite the hype around the forecast. The wind was howling up to 40 knots, but, at times, almost dead on shore. However, the waves were logo high and this combination lead to a cluster of broken kit coming to shore, luckily with good spirited students laughing at the situation, despite the broken booms, masts and sails. And all while being pummelled with hail!


Due to the fairly demanding conditions and freezing cold temperatures (literally), the competition coordinators (Jim Brooks, Ben Bulson, Louis Morris, and myself - Tom Pidden) decided to run two 4 person mixed semi finals, with the top two going into the finals. After the semi finals, the finalists (Nick Welsh, Sarah Jackson, Shaun Ashmore and Matt Duffin) assembled on the beach and, following a small delay so one of them could find some alternate gear after some damage in the previous round, they headed out to decide the single elimination result. The conditions were getting consistently better for windsurfing, but worse for anything else... With heavy and painful hail, coupled with squalling winds most of the spectators were running for cover and I was left alone with the camera at the water's edge to see out the comp.


Once the single elimination final was wrapped up, everyone headed back to Plymouth to warm up and unwind over a few casual drinks.

Sam Tyler (Plymouth University) tells me the nights out in Plymouth were something! He was particularly pleased to have witnessed the Queen destroy all the other nations at beer pong.

“It was the first time I’ve seen the Queen of England playing beer pong against a Mexican!”

He reports the Queen did the nation proud. Unfortunately all other details of the night were lost due to his lack of memory after this, so we’ll have to leave it as a ‘you should have been there’ moment.

There were also reports of an SWA team vs Plymouth beer pong match, with Plymouth taking home the honours. The SWA’s Nicola Hanson stated she was was the only one who managed to score on the night… she didn’t confirm if this was just in the beer pong or not, and was not available to comment when contacted.

Sunday was a beautiful day on the Cornish north coast. Big, clean, long period sets were rolling onto the Gwithian banks, but the wind didn't quite materialise. Judges Louis Morris and Ben Bulson took to the water and had a couple of waves, but, although entertaining, we decided that is was uncontestable and so the results from Day 1 were announced at competition HQ (The Puravida bus).

  • 1st - Nick Welsh (Exeter)
  • 2nd - Sarah Jackson (Bath)
  • 3rd - Shaun Ashmore (Manchester)
  • 4th - Matt Duffin (Bristol)

All of the sailors in the final did well to fill their score cards, even though Mother Nature was hampering efforts. Nick was well deserving of taking the win, having shown his confidence to tackle the biggest sets on Saturday.


Sarah Jackson, who finished 2nd overall and was the highest placed lady, gives her thoughts on the weekend below:

“Having just returned from two months flat water Slalom training (in Bonaire), I was really excited when I saw the PlymEx forecast, despite the bitterly cold temperatures, to be able to ditch the Slalom kit and have a play in the waves! With strong onshore winds greeting us on the Saturday morning, I covered myself in as much neoprene as possible and headed out on my 4.0. My mentality in my first heat was all about jumping and all I wanted to do was find a big ramp and "send it" - in hindsight not a great tactic as it left me swimming for most of the heat after crashing my first jump, but I scored another small one at the end of the heat to advance to the final. I adopted a different tactic in the final of trying to fill my scorecard and do smaller jumps and catch some waves (aided by the fact I was too cold to unhook when I was jumping...). This was a much better tactic and saw me take home second place, which I was super happy about - got to represent the girls and show the boys how it's done right? It was awesome to see an equal number of girls and guys competing and to any girls reading this, the wave events are great fun and an awesome way to push your windsurfing in a safe environment!! Thanks to Jim from Puravida, Duncan on the jetski and all the SWA crew for an awesome weekend! See you all in Rhossy!”




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