29 May 2011

Learning to windsurf is as easy as ABC with OTC

A few weeks ago I decided to give windsurfing a whirl. My cousin recommended the Open Test Centre (OTC) in Portland. They offer evening taster sessions throughout the summer from 6-8pm – perfect timing to escape the office on time and great for a mid week change of scene from riding the horses. So off I went on my new adventure and headed down to Portland Harbour.

The impressive white OTC building was easy to spot from the Portland Road. On arrival I started to get butterflies and wasn’t too sure if windsurfing was going to be for me. To be honest I had no idea what I was letting myself in for, but went along open minded. On meeting Simon who oozes enthusiasm for the sport and meeting some of the other evening windsurfers I soon calmed down and felt at ease.


Watching everyone assembling their kit seemed quite techie – somehow I didn’t realise there was so many elements. With surfing it’s just you and the board! I eagerly watched on trying to remember where everything went. Once the evening group were out on the water Simon took me and another fellow learner to the demo board and took us through the basics: secure position, stances and turning the board/sail. Simples right?

It was then over to us. Thankfully the wind was pretty calm that night and with the sun shining down I started feeling excited about getting on the water. So off we went heading towards Ferrybridge, with warnings not to go too far, but not to worry as the rescue boat will pick us up!! Which is reassuring, but seriously no one wants to be picked up by the rescue boat. Thankfully I seemed to, pardon the pun, take to it like a duck to water and after one ducking got the hang of turning around and sailing up and down wind.


So, will I try it again? Most definitely and I’ve since had a two hour session with a friend to fine tune the basics so I can enjoy a summer on the water. On the second occasion the wind was stronger which was great as it meant we got to sail pretty quick at times, but also meant that we had to sharpen up our steering skills so we didn’t collide with any pesky kite surfers! We also managed to watch Olympian Nick Demspey smoothly sail into the harbour. Thankfully we were still on land at this stage, so no harm of us making any embarrassing faux pas. Although it’s better a bad day on the water than in the office any day!

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