BKSA Round 3 – Scottish Windfest – Troon, Scotland – 21-23 September 2012
Once again the BKSA Freestyle Tour ventured up to Scotland to the same region it has held successful events for the previous two years. This is the 8th time the BKSA has ventured north of the border and in previous years a full set of results have been achieved. Wind predictions were not looking fantastic so we were well aware that we may have to think outside the box regarding heat lengths and method. The number of competitors registered on this occasion aided decision making regarding heat size and format. A round robin format was decided that would mean if we ran out of time then a single heat could achieve a result. Harsh, but sometimes these things have to be done. It was decided to do a reporcharge with two heats in round one followed by a runner up final in the Pros
It was obvious from the onset that the organisers of the Scottish Windfest had put in a lot of effort in the previous months to bring this event together. Local volunteers had worked hard together to secure a number of sponsors, trade supporters and local council backing. With an event site well thought out with on site camping and available space for camper vans, a large marquee with a bar and space for each of the various groups, the scene was set for everyone to be able to relax with all the entertainment and facilities at right on the event site.
Unfortunately Pro day, Friday, was windless. The only advantage of this was it gave everyone else a good opportunity to set up their stands and get everything ready for the weekend where large crowds were expected. The BKSA did not manage to run a single heat although the windsurfers (juniors primarily) managed to run a few low wind heats and there were some SUP races organised as well. This event is not about competition so all participants were keen to do something on the water even in the poor wind conditions. That evening we departed to the Tower hotel for food and a few beers before venturing back over to the event site, all of 100 meters, to enjoy the live entertainment and mix it up with the still arriving groups of folk here to participate int eh weekends entertainment.
Saturday morning once again met us with some glorious sunshine but unfortunately virtually no wind at all. There was plenty to do with large bouncy castles, trapeze trampoline’s, trade stands including Slingshot, Shinn, Ozone, Mutiny, RRD and a few others. Mini go-carts, laser quest, food stands and ice cream vans. The crowds arrived and despite the lack of activity on the water were able to enjoy a fun day out in Troon. The atmosphere was pretty chilled and many of the kiteboarders particularly enjoyed the talk on the development of kiteboards presented by multiple world champion Mark Shinn who flew in for the occasion. With Mike Birt from Airush as well the event had some knowledgeable resources for everyone to tap into. On the beach the SPKA were there in force with their race buggies but unfortunately the lack of wind didn’t allow them to really run any races.
Day two ended with no activity on the water from the BKSA so everything was being hung on the last day were some reasonable wind was predicted. After another session in the Tower Hotel once again we ventured over to the main marquee where we were blow away by the local AC/DC tribute band that kept everyone on their feet until throwing out time.
So, with minor hangovers from the night before we set up on the beach in anticipation of the predicted wind that was due to kick in around 10am and blow for 4-5 hours but straight offshore with a possibility it might blow southerly after lunch. This would have worked in well for all had this been the case, as it would have given us enough time to run the small classes we had registered plus enter the beach to Beach race where kitesurfers and windsurfers get to compete together. We only needed about 3 hours to run all the heats we needed to but even that was going to prove difficult. The beach was zoned into four sections, each of which had a different activity going on, and each of which had its own rescue boat. Communications between the various groups was good and no one really got in each other’s way. Might have been a bit different with more wind about and in a cross shore direction, but a lot was learned on how to run multiple disciplines in this manner. We literally, in the bang offshore conditions, only managed to run the heats in mentioned in the opening paragraph. It was a pity because although offshore the tide was way out and a little more wind would have resulted in some pretty epic flat water conditions which we rarely see at these events.
On a final note a big thank you has to go out to the organisers of the Troon Windfest who kept calm at all times and put on an excellent event that attracted the crowds even without the wind that we love so much. For me, although not as established or as big, this was on a par atmosphere wise to the Lifestyles event held in Hunstanton every year. Run totally by volunteers in the most professional manner, creating a festival atmosphere that didn’t rely on one main event. We could do with more events like this throughout the summer for Kitesurfing to become a part of.
=1st – Dan Sweeney, Tommy Gaunt
=3rd – John Bleaker, Sam Bull
1 – Polly Crathorne
2 – Holly Kennedy
3 – Danielle Durrant
1 – Joe Hockley
2 – Pete Jones
3 – Ralph Crathorne
1 – Craig Smith
2 – Dave Wilde
3 – Joe Mathews
=1st – Rosanna Jury, Chloe Durrant and Jemima Crathorne
4th – Lana Culley
1 – George Dufty
2 – Jordan Hurst
3 – Callum Gott