Last weekend saw over 120 students representing more than 12 different Universities from accross the country descend on Westward Ho! beach for the student kitesurf freestyle nationals. Saturday morning was't looking so good with no breeze at all, just very cold air and lots of ice around and so we started preparing our teams for a day of beach sports to fight it out between the unis. However, after the riders breifing the wind came and we enjoyed perfect 18 knotts all day so I was well powered on my 10m Hadlow ID!
About 50 competitors hit the freezing water and north-westerly wind, and in the typical student way there were a few RAD guys in shorty wetsuits!! The beach break live truck set a banging atmosphere and provided a running commentary, keeping everyone entertained.
We had a 20 minute final which is alot longer than I'm used to but it proved to suit me well. It was my first heat yet where I've pulled off all my best tricks putting a big smile on my face and luckily it was enough to win the ladies!! Former SKA chick rep and one of my best friends Pip Grundy (Plymouth Uni) rode a really good, powered heat and took second with Kate Ross (Cardiff Uni) taking third. It was great to see so many girls involoved this year, and even more taking lessons further down the beach in preparation for next year!
The men then put on an impressive final with Ali Barrett (Southampton Solent Uni) taking 1st with some nice switch mobes, Liam Proctor (Exeter Uni) taking 2nd and Jon Deibel (Cardiff Uni) 3rd. The Expix beach kitchen spread some love with hot soup, which was very well received by everyone following the heats.
We then headed back to camp to prep for the black-tie awards party! ... with over £5,000 of prizes!! Massive thanks to Flexifoil for continuing to be the main sponsor of the Srudent Kitesurf Association and making the event possible on such a big scale, as well as providing kit for students to learn on at the SKA events all year round. Thanks to Ian and Jo from Expix too- check out their full report and photos of the event at http://www.expix.co.uk/exzine/event-reports/10-expix-extreme-action-sports-events-reports/377-student-kitesurf-freestyle-nationals-2012-westward-ho.
Unfortunately Southampton (us!), the almighty reigning champions since the first student nationals in 2010 had to step aside and let Exeter take the title overall. Nice one Exeter!... but we'll have you next year! :p Thank you to judges Richard Burton and Flexifoil rider Jon Bleiker and to the SKA for putting on such an awesome event.