Freestyle windsurfers are a wow at West Wittering

Daisy Bassett in action at West Wittering
Daisy Bassett in action at West Wittering

The best of the UK’s windsurfing freestyle riders descended on West Wittering beach for the UK’s deciding event on who would be crowned ‘King of the Trench’ British freestyle champion for 2016.

Freestyle windsurfing is a combination of planing, jumps and tricks and is a high-octane version of the sport that is very technical and spectacular to watch.

There were at least 200 spectators on the beach who enjoyed the show out on the water as the riders went through their individual runs.

To make it all happen you need flat water - the Trench at West Wittering - a nickname for the water between two sandbars at low tide; and winds around force four and above.

The two-day event saw an exhibition of tow-surf freestyle on the Saturday when the wind was very light – top riders included BWA world tour competitors Adam Sims and Max Rowe, who were pulled behind a jet ski then jumped into a manoeuvre and got scored by the judges.

Eastbourne’s Jamie Howard put in some big moves and probably got the highest-scoring move of the group. There were at least 200 spectators on the beach who enjoyed the show out on the water as the riders went through their individual runs.

On the Sunday the wind was forecast to be between 20-25 knots easterly, but turned out to be more offshore, making it hard to run the contest as planned.

The women’s heats started in lighter winds and completed three rounds of competition until they reached the final.

Sarah Jackson from Cheshire came out top lady. Second was Heidi Jabbari (Eastbourne) and joint third were Claire Elliott (Exmouth) and Daisy Bassett, 13, from Itchenor, who was was also first junior.

The men’s heats were poised and ready to go but the wind forecast did not arrive with enough strength. They held on until 5pm but Ollie Scott, race director, decided to cancel the event and roll over the prize fund of £1,000 to next year.

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