A hundred young windsurfers from nine teams across the UK took to the water at Pitsford Reservoir this weekend (13-14 October) to compete in the 2012 Team15 (T15) Champions Cup where the Hythe Hotshots from South East Zone clinched the victory.
After dominating throughout the season in their regional heats, the Hotshots won their place in the final for the first time in three years and were delighted to win the cup and be crowned this year's champion of champions.
"It's been an amazing weekend; I can't believe we did it. It feels awesome!" said Hythe Hotshot Lorna Graham (14). "We’d like to thank our coach Marc and our parents for taking us windsurfing."
Marc Carney who coaches the Hotshots said: "This has got to be the best one hasn't it! This is the one we have worked for over the last couple of years because the last two years we just missed out on qualifying. The kids have done brilliantly."
Held at Northampton Sailing Club, at Pitsford Reservoir, youngsters from as far afield as Scotland and Cornwall took to the water in challenging conditions with shifty winds, hail stones and at some points, very little wind at all!
The competitors sailed on two courses; the 3.5m and 4.5 sailors completed eight races on the Blue Course whilst the 5.8m sailors and Techno 6.8m completed six races on the Orange Course, followed by all sailors together taking part in a fun race to round off the weekend.
There were plenty of new faces at this year's event including competitors from the Mumbles Mutineers and Lakeside Loafers, many of whom were experiencing their first taste of competitive windsurfing at national level.
Dylan Chase (13) from the Mumbles Mutineers (a team of only four) has only been windsurfing for a year. He was awarded the Merit Award after dramatically improving his skills, going from a 24th place finish up to a 9th place in race four.
"I really enjoyed the weekend. I learnt a lot from all the other sailors and the conditions. I've never really sailed on inland water before and it's nice to have it flat and no salt when you fall in like at home. We definitely want to come back next year with a bigger team!" said Dylan.
The second Merit Award was awarded to Lowenna Penny from Roseland Waveriders for her team spirit after she helped out her younger team mates who were struggling a little during the races.
RYA National Windsurfing Development Officer Gillian Wright who coordinates T15 said: "We are delighted with how well the event has gone. From the kids and the parents to the coaches and volunteers; everybody's got involved and really showed their support. Once again we have seen some exceptional talent out on the water with some nail biting close finishes and the atmosphere has been absolutely fantastic all weekend."
RYA OnBoard Development Officer and professional windsurfing coach Sam Ross presented the winners the Hythe Hotshots with a demo day experience donated by Tushingham/Starboard, who, along with Neil Pryde, also donated the prizes for the class winners.
Goody bags were given to every sailor with contributions from Prosport sunscreen and the RYA.
Supported by industry leaders Tushingham/Starboard and Neil Pryde, T15 was set up by the RYA to help make windsurfing more accessible and appealing to youngsters at a grass roots level.
Fun and informal training sessions take place at T15 clubs all over the country for kids up to the age of 15, which are run weekly by specialist RYA coaches.
The T15 inter-club championship takes place regionally over the summer adding a competitive edge and race training for those keen to hone their skills.
Kit can be borrowed from the clubs and the cost of sessions is kept low.
To get involved with Team15 and locate your nearest local club visit www.team15.org.uk or contact the RYA 0845 345 0400.
Champion Cup 2012 Final Results
1) Hythe Hotshots
2) Axbridge Animals
3) Pugneys Pirates
4) West Kirby Warriors
5) Roseland Waveriders
6) Pitsford Pirates
7) Lock Insh Monsters
8) Lakeside Loafers
9) Mumbles Mutineers