The National Watersports Festival at Hayling Island, Hampshire is this weekend and the birthplace of windsurfing will be the place to be! This annual get together kicks off on Friday 7 September and runs all the way until the evening of Sunday 9 September ensuring a full weekend of fun and salt water.
National Watersports Festival at Hayling Island
In years past the festival has celebrated masterblaster windsurfing – masterblaster being the term used for an in and out style race that is popular with amateurs and pro’s alike. The successful format once again sees organiser and enthusiast Allan Cross at the helm.
It doesn’t matter what kit you own, what move you can or can’t do: this is your event. Prizes are awarded for a variety of things – not just first, second and third place. From weekend-only windsurfers doing battle in fancy dress outfits to those in the pre-millennium windsurf kit category, the very easy race course ensures that all levels of windsurfer can compete.
As the festival has grown, so have the number of sports included. This year sees the second consecutive inclusion of SUP (standup paddle boarding) and new for 2012 will be a kitesurfing demo that will run from the newly designated Kite Beach area on Hayling’s seafront.
An improved industry area is set to be erected with most of the leading UK brands in attendance too. This will give companies a direct link to their target audience, as the NWF attracts a massive amount of spectators and competitors alike through the weekend. Last year saw an estimated footfall of 5,000 passing over the famous shingle at West Beachlands.
The iconic structure of the Inn On The Beach will host the main socialising and party elements with a charity auction and band set to liven things up during the course of Friday night.
On the run up to the main party on Saturday there will be the spectacular Night Windsurf/SUP competition. This sees the sea front illuminated by massive floodlights while the professional sailors and top point scoring amateurs take to the water to do battle in front of an enthusiastic crowd on the shore.
The Heathrow Jets take to the stage on Saturday evening for the mother of all parties. Expect much ‘dad dancing’ and shandy consumption – making for a few sore heads the following morning!
In between races there will be plenty of recognisable guru’s on hand who will be dishing out those much needed tricks and tips to get you improving on the water. For those keen to try windsurfing in UK, you can try out some new kit – a big fleet of demo equipment will be also available.
If you fancy coming down for the weekend then Havant Borough Council allow camping overnight during the weekend, providing a parking ticket is purchased, which makes it easier to soak up the full atmosphere of the whole weekend’s proceedings.
Racing continues through Sunday and an appearance from the inventor of windsurfing, Pete Chilvers, will be made before the event wraps up for 2012 on Sunday afternoon.
Also new for this year is live streaming that will see the event broadcast across a variety of different platforms online – so if you can’t make it then at least you can watch everyone else having fun!
Every year the NWF event goes from strength to strength and with expected numbers set to exceed years past, this one is not to be missed.
If you fancy taking part in the racing, trying some new kit, rubbing shoulders with some of the stars of these sports, catching up with pals or generally milling about the beach with like-minded individuals, then get yourself to Hayling Island this weekend. With some fantastic, sunny weather forecast for the weekend you don’t want to miss it!
For more information about the National Watersports Festival at Hayling Island, head over to: www.nationalwindsurfingfestival.com/home.php