Classic Sandbanks

It seems like an age since my last decent session. Turns out it's been a month off the water and almost ten weeks since the amazing swell that hit Bournemouth in late Jan. Spring had to come eventually and it might now be here... There wasn't a lot of wind at BDC but Sandbanks was full on 4.7 weather - it must be something to do with the local landscape, maybe the Purbecks accelerate the wind in some directions...?
Anyway, I was worried I'd sail like a donkey with so long off the water. Luckily, I need not have worried. It may have been wet and miserable with rain driving sideways but this was classic Sandbanks - great jumping on the way out and good riding on the way back in. As the session progressed, the wind shifted more side shore and I had an amazing hour in front of the lifeguard hut. Every run in, I lined up a swell line and made the most of it. Three turns may not be the most in places like Gwithian but I'll take it every time!
Eventually, the tide dropped, the conditions flattened off and it was home time. It doesn't matter how long you've been off the water for, one session like that leaves you stoked.

Read More


A small window of opportunity in the current wind drought. It just about counts as a session in that I planed once on a wave on the way in, but for most of the time I was bobbing around. Apparently it was twice as windy in Sandbanks, so maybe I just chose the wrong spot.

Read More

Something else

Wow. We don't get waves like that in Bournemouth. 14feet and 11sec according to the wave buoy, which translated into mast high, solid walls of water speeding into Bournemouth Bay. From the beach it looked big. From the water it was huge.

The wind was perfectly cross-shore, gusting 20-30 knots. I rigged a 4.2 and was a little underpowered in the lulls but overpowered in the gusts. All in all, it was probably the right size.

Getting out was a challenge. First, there was the head to logo high shore dump to navigate. After making it through that, a couple of hundred yards of impact zone awaited with walls of white water to climb over. I kept hearing Jem's voice, "Speed is your friend" but the swell lines were barreling and closing out so timing the run was paramount. On one run I had a full set of six+ waves to navigate over, all over head high lines of white water. Once out the back it was calm. Warm too.

Then there was the matter of wave riding... No challenge finding a swell line! Comfortable heading in and holding position waiting until the wave started to jack up. The fun started. Drop into bottom turn, look back to hit a section time and again the only thing waiting was a chunky closing out barrel. I mainly chickened out of trying to hit it! In hindsight, I probably didn't make enough of the green wave before it closed out. If we ever get waves like that again here, I'll try to remember!

Plenty of vans stopped in the car park, but none seemed to stick around. Just two of us on the water... I wonder why? I wish I had some photos, but when I came in there was no-one else on the water and it needed that sense of scale.

Avon was probably amazing, the swell should have wrapped round, the wind cross-off and it might have peeled more than the beach front.

Read More

Round One

After a bumper Festive period, the recent cold spell has meant a lack of windsurfing... The forecast looks promising for a change and it kicked off today with clear blue skies and a strong, but gusty, Westerly. I was in two minds whether to head over to KBay or try somewhere else. As it was I stuck with KBay (although I did have a look at Boscombe and Southbourne later in the afternoon!)

The wind took it's time arriving and my first launch wasn't the most successful. After a couple of runs, I ended up in a lull and had to swim in to the beach at the main car park! After derigging and walking back to the usual launch spot, I had another, more successful, session.

Classic KBay onshore wave riding and jumping. Still gusty, but the more the tide dropped, the more the wind filled in. Great, except as the tide drops the Bay gets flatter and flatter. I found a few good jump ramps for some airtime, but badly mistimed one ramp. The wave broke, just as I prepared to launch sending me airborne but in an uncontrolled fashion. My feet came out of the straps ok, but I couldn't get away from the sail, came down on top of it and my shoulder pushed right through the seem between two panels. The damage wasn't bad enough to stop sailing and now it's taped up for the week ahead but I'll have to get it repaired at some point.

A few photos below from the end of the session when I'd recovered the feeling in my fingers enough to press the shutter!

Read More

Classic KBay?

A forecast of 25+ knots, due West, drew the crowds but unfortunately didn't quite deliver. We arrived at high tide to bolt onshore conditions with huge waves breaking outside the bay - easily mast high plus. Fortunately, the wind shifted slightly round to WSW and we were on. Not quite classic KBay, but an excellent jumping session none the less.

Read More

Winter warmer

The morning had the looks of a skunking, but by 2pm the fans had kicked in and the wind was blowing. More surprisingly, there were thirty or so vans in the car park rigging up! 5.2 bump and jump for most of the session, but the swell started to show later in the afternoon... Shame it coincided with low tide...

Read More

Epic Fail

With 20 knots and 14 sec waves forecast, it had the potential to be epic. As it turned out, the tides were too high and the wind didn't arrive so it was anything but. I launched in the only squall of the afternoon, and caught a couple of waves but the rest of the day was spent struggling to get out through the impact zone... Read: lots of swimming. The water's cold too!

Read More

Glorious Ten...

...minutes that is. The forecast was awesome but it didn't really deliver. Just after high tide the waves were rolling and peeling across between the groynes. The wind wasn't really there but chanced a 5.2, ignored the skeptical looks and headed out. I planed off the beach, gybed onto a swell line, chased it back in and went down the line. Four glorious fully powered turns, hitting the chest high sections.

That was it. The rest was wobble and ride, the wind was light enough to make catching anything tricky. I hear KBay was on...

Read More

Morning Mayhem

Forecast was crazy, so I booked the morning holiday and headed down to Sandbanks. I arrived in time to have an hour with James before he went to work. Just as well, even by 9am it was full on 4.2 weather. Not the conditions to be heading out solo.
Sandbanks in a SSW gives amazing ramps, rolling in time and again. Today was no exception and mixed in with a punchy, ride-able wave it was glorious.

Jumping was sometimes a challenge, time it wrongly and the gusts sent you spiraling out of control leading to some amusing wipe-outs. But time it right and the ramps sent you sky high.

After an hour or so the rest of the local windsurfing population arrived. Jem, Timo, Cribby were all there when I was. Even Nick Dempsey had ditched the RSX for the day. The wind eased back a little to give perfect 4.2 weather. Back loops, Forwards, Pushies were going off everywhere. Timo was even going backside arial into forward on the way back in. Wish I'd taken the camera!

By 12, I was shattered and needed to head to the office. Gotta love days like this when everyone else is tucked up inside.

Read More


It was dark when I arrived at the beach to rig up but the sun quickly rose into the clear skies. I rigged a 5.2 and headed out straight into the sunlight. Not a great session, probably planing only half the time, but always good to get in the sea before heading to the office!

Read More