The Student Windsurfing Association

Think you're punk enough to read more hey? Ok, so assuming you've read the short version I'll fill you in on more details.

It was the Sunday morning after the boat trip at the Southampton BUSA Nationals in 1999. Life was great, in fact, I was at my happiest; stood on the grass amongst the carnage of strewn pants, bra's, fancy dress get-up and windsurfing equipment. I had just spotted my missing shoe up a flag pole and I had a flag protruding from my jeans, stolen from SUWC (Southampton University Windsurf Club), but we ripped off the S', so now it had UWC (University of Wales, Cardiff). It was a proud moment!!

Anyway, I digress, Spleena came up to me and asked if I wanted to continue this lifestyle after university I said yes. As for how Spleena got Bramah involved...I think he said yes too! The rest as they say is history...

Ooooh, you lucky lucky b**tards!! - You'll never know the pain and suffering of running an event pre-SWA!

In the early days (pre-2000), there were a few events namely Cambridge, Nottingham and the BUSA Nationals at Southampton. I had just run Cardiff's first event in the Autumn of 1999. It took me two weeks to organise the sponsors and logistics for the event and two weeks to call around every Athletic Union President to find out if they had a windsurf club! Each Uni who ran a club had to do the same when running an event. Invariably it just ended up being the same aforementioned clubs turning up to their little network of events (I think Clapton was popular pre-underarm-shaving era).

We did not set the SWA up with dollar signs in the eyes, in fact, we have never made a penny from the SWA (it actually cost me money to set up!). It is purely here to form a platform to promote and coordinate student windsurfing events around the UK.

The concept of the Aussie Kiss was actually formed whilst I was running from 300 French students having sprayed every one of them at the infamous La Tranche' (link) Student European Championships. This was a championship in the loosest sense of the word! The name brought the sponsors, and then 20 British would compete against 200 Qnionloving cousins on and off the water. Basically, this was fun on a mass scale. I wanted to reproduce this in the UK.

The actual concept of the Aussie Kiss being a training event came later and is probably the single most important change to come about for the clubs and their presidents. In theory, because of the SWA's structure, a club could exist at any landlocked university with no windsurfing equipment and still offer windsurfing to its members.

Post-SWA, a president really only need to do some of the following to run a successful club:

  • Ensure they are loud and fun at freshers fair & Hawaiian/beach wear/rigged kit on stand
  • Organise a damn good first fancy dress social (advertise it well)
  • Arrange transport for all of the SWA events
  • Always meet up for a social each week & try to vary fancy dress theme!
  • Most importantly, focus on the beginner, the rest will follow

A great man once said 'A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on' (John F Kennedy). I hope you are equally inspired as we are to help the SWA continue for many years to come.

James 'JPiddy' Potten & Co-founder of the SWA



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