Friday, 18 April 2014

Vass video

I've made a video about my season in Vass. It was a long time coming but it is finally here! check it out!

Vassiliki Summer! from Ben Page on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Nottingham Tow in and sunshine!

The first core event of 2014 happened on the 28th February in Nottingham. The forecast was looking promising for Sunday and with blue skies set for Saturday there was a lot of anticipation for an epic weekend from everyone at SUWC.

The event site. (photo by Dave Eberlin/Notts County Sailing Club)
Despite arriving rather late after our long drive north from Southampton our large group of twenty students got straight down to the business of drinking that the SWA is famous for. Unfortunately there was some kind of “incident” at walkabout and we ended up in an establishment called Oceans which was a very pleasant place to spend an evening. For anyone from Southampton think of it as jesters with a carpet and a lot less good.
Alex Mitchell being annoyingly good at tow in.
(photo by Dave Eberlin/Notts County Sailing Club)
After rousing a very reluctant SUWC and forcing them into the minibuses we headed for Notts County Sailing Club for some windsurfing! Saturday was almost totally windless so there were several alternative activities on offer such as a SUP race; won by our very own John Hamilton, tug of war and Charlie Wilson even managed to convince the safety people to let us try Tow in Freestyle too! This was quite difficult as it turned out, but we all managed to get up and going and there some savage crashes from everyone! My personal favourite was from Leo Calnan, it was so violent that it tore his glove off and it flew through the air as he smashed face first into the water. A solid effort!

The ever fearless Leo Calnan in action...
(photo by Dave Eberlin/Notts County Sailing Club)
National Student SUP racing champion John James Hunter Hamilton demonstrating his flexibility.
(photo by Dave Eberlin/Notts County Sailing Club)
Sunday was slightly windy, it was possible to plane quite comfortably on the 7.5 and Fireraces for the racing. Southampton continued our run of form in the team racing with a first place for the A team consisting of John Hamilton, Charlie Wilson and myself. I was also fortunate to win the individual racing too with a very smooth dismount after which I can confirm that the fin box in an RRD Firerace is extremely well attached to the board! Well done to Leo Calnan for second place.
The dream team in action!
(photo by Dave Eberlin/Notts County Sailing Club)
The podium for the individual racing. Leo Calnan, me and a very nice girl from Cambridge whose name I can't remember. (I'm very sorry, if you know please tell me because she was very good and this is making me look like a bit of a twat)
(photo by Dave Eberlin/Notts County Sailing Club)
The wind was very shifty for the freestyle, I opted for my 5.7 Style Pro but it was far from perfect as the wind was disgusting. I was unlucky in the final and didn’t manage to get any decent gusts so I had to stick to non planing stuff like upwind 360s and geckos. I didn’t sail well so was I was pleased with my third place finish. Well done to Vasilis Lyras (Newcastle) and Alex Mitchell (Portsmouth) for coming first and second respectively.
Turns out this tow in thing is quite hard...
(photo by Dave Eberlin/Notts County Sailing Club)

SUWC Dream Team member Charlie Wilson spocking.
(photo by Dave Eberlin/Notts County Sailing Club)
Massive thanks to Dan Connor and the Nottingham committee as well as Notts County Sailing Club for organising such an epic event! Also as usual to Andy Biggs and RRD for sorting me out with all my shiny kit!
The SWA year is nearly over and with only nationals to go, things are getting close for the overall series titles. Nationals it at Weymouth on the 25th-27th April. See you all there! Can’t wait.
All the photos are by Dave Eberlin from Notts County Sailing Club. They are not my property. If you would like to see more, have a look at this link on the NCSC website.

Forward loops are hard when you're not really planing...
(photo by Dave Eberlin/Notts County Sailing Club)

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

SWA Cornwall: Mazza, Gwithian and a haircut...

The final event of the SWA wave series was hosted by Plymouth university on the 14-16 February. The forecast was looking good for the Friday so I decided to head down early with my friends Charlie Gilman and (Sh*tty) Mike Ellis. After a very comfortable night at George Simmonds’ house we headed for gwithian where we were joined by Jony Price.  
The sets coming in at Gwithian when the wind was light on sunday.

The waves weren’t as big as we were expecting, at just over head high. But the wind was absolutely ridiculous! I was totally out of control on my 3.7, wave riding was hard as the sheer power in the sail as you went for a top turn was almost unmanageable for much of the time. I got punished a lot but at least it was easy to get out when you could plane fully sheeted out!
2 Minutes to go... (Photo by Jim Brooks-Dowsett/Puravida)

Saturday was a bit more sedate, the competition was being held at Marazion with some head high waves and enough power with a 5.2 and my 82 Firewave to jump. It was starboard tack too so I was feeling confident as it was similar conditions to what I sail in a home. The first few heats went well with decent ramps. I managed to get through to the final along with Jony Price, Mike Ellis and Matt Cox. Unfortunately the wind had dropped a bit and the decision was taken to just judge wave riding with bonus points for jumps.

The heat got off to a bad start for me with very light winds making it very hard to even waterstart for the first five minutes. Fortunately the wind started to come back and I got a few reasonable waves and a pretty dry forward too.

Marazion on Saturday. (Photo by Jim Brooks-Dowsett/Puravida)

Unfortunately for me Jony beat me on waves and he took the event win.

The finalists; left to right: Matt Cox, Jony Price, Me, Mike Ellis. (Photo by Jim Brooks-Dowsett/Puravida)
With both Jony and me winning one event and being second in the other the series win goes to him for winning the most recent event. It’s been an epic series with decent wind and waves at two out of three events with some high level sailing from a lot of different people! The final series resuts arethe same as for this event; First Jony Price (Cardiff) Second Ben Page (Southampton) Third Mike Ellis (Southampton) I definitely had to work a lot harder to be second this year than I did to win last year! So overall I’m very happy with how I’ve managed to sail in the heats with the highlight definitely being my pushloop in the final in Rhosneigr!

My Pushie in Rhosneigr. (Photo by SWA)
Massive thanks to Jim Brooks-Dowsett and Puravida for sponsoring and organising the series, to Ian Ross and all the people who helped with judging on the whole series. Finally thanks to Andy Biggs Watersports and RRD UK for sorting me out with the tools for the job!
Sunday was windless but we managed to get a good session in at gwithian on 4.2s and some nice down the line riding on Monday morning before we headed home. Special mention for Mike Ellis who, clearly inspired by his radical new haircut, was sailing in a very aggressive manner.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Crashing and cartwheeling kit: SWA Rhossy

SWA Rhosneigr

Last weekend was the end of a pretty rubbish few weeks for me. I had glandular fever and then ploughed straight into Uni exams. Needless to say I was very excited about the prospect of heading up to Rhosneigr for the second round of the Puravida SWA Wave series.
Our well loaded van.

We loaded the van up with ten boards and a ridiculous number of sails and SUWC set off for Bangor. The forecast was calling for a solid 40 knots so the atmosphere in the pub on Friday night was one of intense anticipation.
True automotive greatness, and a Lambo.

Saturday started with the wind rapidly building. I went out to test the water on my 3.7 and Wavecult 75, I was sailing like an uncaged animal and got a bit overenthusiastic, tried to do a pushloop of a tiny ramp and totally destroyed the main window of my sail. Not a great start to the weekend as that was the sail size I would need for the entire weekend. Fortunately I had time to rig my 4.2 before the heats and we got underway. It was madly windy and the occasional squall would come through and flatten everyone on the water. It was so onshore by this stage that you could jump on both tacks. This was a good thing for me as with two jumps counting I could do a forward on both tacks.
Me with the Firewave. (Photo by Jim Brooks-Dowsett/ Puravida)

This tactic got me all the way to the final against Tom Firth (Cardiff). By this stage I was totally exhausted and could barely hold on. To make matters worse there was a squall and I was so overpowered that I could barely turn around let alone sail a heat. I went for a pushloop and over rotated to such an extent that I bailed while fully upside down on the second rotation. I think I may have clinched crash of the day for that one…

Tom must have had a tough time too because I managed to take the win in the single.
Photobomb by Flip.
Special mention to Charlie Gilman for kit destruction. He was standing in the water with his kit when a gust hit him and tore it out of his hands. It flew into the air, cartwheeled up the beach narrowly avoiding Jim in his rangerover before finally coming to rest just short of the wall. It had travelled a distance of about 80m! The board didn’t do well; snapped in half, held together only by the layer of carbon on the bottom. Both fins were torn from the boxes. That’s karma for laughing at my broken sail!

The sun setting after day one.

The double elimination started on Sunday morning with the pouring rain washing the paint from our faces after the Saturday night party. By the time my heat came along the wind looked like it was dropping a bit with people struggling to plane in the heats for second and third. I rigged up my 4.7 and 82 Firewave to be sure of some power for the final. I was against Jony Price (Cardiff) who had made his way back through the double from 7th, so it was set for a Tiree re-match where Jony put me out in much the same situation in reverse. Of course just as the final started there was another enormous squall and I was once again madly overpowered. Struggling to land a forward I got a wave ride done and then figured I might as well try for a pushloop. It was a beauty, I rotated fast off a little wave and landed bolt upright, didn’t even get my bum wet! That was the first one I have ever landed in competition so I was literally screaming with excitement and running around the beach like a kid at Christmas after the heat finished.

Me and Jony after the double elimination. (Photo by Jim Brooks-Dowsett/Puravida)
That got me the win in the double. After such a rubbish exam period and not sailing for a month I was more than happy with that! The final result was me in first, Jony Price (Cardiff) in second, Tom Firth (Cardiff) in third. The ladies winner was Elizabeth Ellis.
Thanks To Bangor Uni for hosting us, to Jim from Puravida for sponsoring the event and to judges Geoff Hautman, Farrell O’shea and the team from Funsport.
The winners. (Photo by Jim Brooks-Dowsett/ Puravida)

Me feeling happy after landing my push loop.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Cardiff Wave and Bristol SWA

SUWC with the RRD SUPs (Photo by Gill Jones)
There have been two student windsurf events in the last month. The first was the Cardiff wave event. There was absolutely no wind so after some seriously borderline behaviour from certain members of SUWC we decided to go SUPing at Porthcawl.
(Photo by Gill Jones)
Fortunately I managed to borrow a load of demo SUPs off RRD UK. So we made the most of two days that otherwise would have been a write off. So massive thanks from all of SUWC for the SUPs! We had some of the girls riding their first waves on the airSUPs as well as some more advanced riders on the iwave and SuperSUP.  I loved it, I hate being stuck on the beach with nothing to do and this was a brilliant way to spend a windless weekend!
(Photo by Gill Jones)

A week before the end of term was the final event of 2013, BrUWE. Hosted by Bristol Uni and UWE . after a pleasantly short drive and uncharacteristically well behaved night form SUWC it was an early start to get to the lake on time. Saturday was fairly quiet as the best wind was forecast for Sunday.  Sunday however didn’t turn out to be very windy either… still I rubbered up and got out there.
(Photo by Gill Jones)

The team racing went very well and we (John Hamilton, Leo Calnan and myself) won that with our second Southampton team in second. The individual racing was ridiculously close as my mate John Hamilton just beat me on the line (both of us nearly tore our fins off in the process). So I was second in that. The final event was the freestyle, taking place in light winds the field was very open with most of the competitors well matched.  Alex Mitchell (Portsmouth) took the win and I was in second.

Filip Markiewicz and John Hamilton indulging in some jelly wrestling at BrUWE.


Thursday, 14 November 2013

Aussie Kiss and Northern Monkey

The SWA year got off to great start at the Aussie Kiss festival in Cornwall on the 25th September. Southampton Uni Windsurfing Club (SUWC) was well represented with two full minibuses of excited student ready for the weekend of windsurfing and legendary SWA parties.

Photo by Duncan Dumbreck

The good forecast delivered and we had planing wind on both days of the event! Saturday was just a fun session on the lake, I borrowed the new Twintip 101 and absolutely loved it! Can’t wait until my one arrives. The competition was run on the Sunday, with very gusty winds, I was overpowered on my 5.2, the shifty wind made it hard but the water was lovely and flat.  I was loving sailing at the events again. I’d forgotten how much fun it is! I came second in the freestyle behind Alex Mitchell (Portsmouth). Southampton’s Charlie Wilson came in third.

Forward on the lake. Photo by Duncan Dumbreck

Southampton have a lot of exciting new people this year and our racing teams were on good form, we were in the lead after the first leg but came off worse after a collision with Solent. On the last leg my team (Nikos Symigdalas, Filip Markeiwicz and me) were overtaken by the other Southampton team (Leo Calnan, Charlie Wilson, Jarrod Zancanella) to finish in third. Solent won with Southampton’s other team in second.
SUWC dressed up as the Justice League. Photo by Duncan Dumbreck

Overall it was a successful weekend, with SUWC taking four of the six podium places on offer!

The next event was Liverpool’s Northern Monkey on 8th-10th November. We rammed the van full of ten boards, ten booms, twenty sails and sixteen masts. Once again SUWC was on top form with two minibuses worth of people making the trip. After some questionable antics from a lot of people on the Friday night we were at the lake bright and early on Saturday morning for some beginner sessions. There was no competition on Saturday apart from the individual racing, I came second in my heat and failed to make the final but well done to Southampton’s Nikos Symigdalas for coming fourth in the final.
Cruising in the team racing at AK. Photo by Duncan Dumbreck
After the Woodland Rave on Saturday night we were once again awake and enthusiastic for jumping into the toasty warm lake on the Sunday. The team racing was once again a great success for Southampton as Charlie Wilson, John Hamilton and I won the final, Nottingham were in second and in third was our other Southampton team consisting of Nikos Symigdalas, Filip Markiewicz and Leo Calnan.
SUWCs president Filip Markiewicz literally traveling faster than the speed of sound at AK. Photo by Duncan Dumbreck
The final event of the weekend was the freestyle, once again SUWC was on fire with four of the seven finalists coming from SUWC. The wind was light so it was a battle of strimmers and sail 360s, SUWC president Filip Markiewicz finished in third, Nadir from Solent was second and I managed to take the win. I was very happy to finish first, the standard was really high and I had no idea where I was going to place.
From left: Nikos Symigdalas, Filip Markiewicz, Me, Solent Windsurf Team, Jarrod Zancanella, Leo Calnan and Charlie Wilson. Photo by Duncan Dumbreck.
Big thanks to our Liverpool hosts Lottie and Ellie and to Crosby Lake for having us. Bring on the next one!

Monday, 28 October 2013

Tiree Wave Classic: Caravans, country roads and crashing.

Err this is going to take a while....

Killing time at the Tiree Wave Classic from Ben Page on Vimeo.

When I decided to go to Tiree I didn't realise just how far it is from Southampton. We left my house in Southampton at four and didn’t arrive at the ferry port in Oban until half three in the morning, then another four hours on the ferry. I travelled with Sam Latham from Bournemouth and George Simmonds, who drove from Cornwall to meet us at Oxford.  After sleeping for the entire ferry journey we arrived in Tiree to wall to wall sunshine!
The view from our caravan. (Photo by Sam Latham) 
After moving in to the palatial caravan that was to be our home for the week we headed to the beach. There was no competition for the first few days so we went surfing, SUPing and generally messed around with some cliff jumping thrown in too.
SUPing in the sunshine (Photo by Dave White)
Wednesday was the first day with wind, despite a strong forecast the wind was quite light and I was out on my 5.2. I sailed spectacularly badly in my first heat and managed to go out in the first round. Not good. Never mind, I sailed for the rest of the day and got more used to sailing in port tack conditions. By the end of the day I was feeling far more comfortable about my sailing and was desperate for a double elimination to redeem myself.
Looping in the single (Photo by Dave White)




There was no wind on Thursday but Friday was altogether different. I was maxed on my 4.2 and the 75 Wavecult when the amateur fleet started the double elimination. I was quite relaxed this time round, I think liberated by the fact that I couldn’t possibly do any worse than the single…
Waiting for the flag. (Photo by Dave White)

I got off to a good start, consistently landing forwards and scraping together some waverides in the early heats. As I broke out and made it into the heat for fifth I started to sort myself out, I planed out of some of my forwards and my wave selection got much better. By the heat for third I was starting to feel the burn in my arms and I dropped a couple of forwards.  I ploughed on and managed to make it into the heat for second against Jony Price. The wind was dropping and my 4.2 wasn’t quite enough, I managed to land a dodgy forward on the first run and got some rides but I was really struggling for power. Unfortunately after winning five heats in a row I lost by half a point and finished in third place. I was exhausted and could barely stand, let alone sail by the end of it. Big thanks to George Simmonds, Big Davy and Jim Brooks-Dowsett for helping me carry my kit on the long walk back upwind after every heat. You all made a massive difference to me!

Warming up before the double. (Photo by Sue Searle)
Jony went on to face Scotty McDowell in the final but couldn’t hold him off and Scotty took the win. I was pleased with third as my first result in the BWA Amateur fleet. I’ll be back!
(Photo by Dave White)
Overall it was a brilliant way to spend ten days of my time! We had a roadtrip, went surfing, SUPing, windsurfing and jumped off a cliff! It was either wall to wall sunshine or windy. I won’t go as far as saying it was warm but it was ok, I was comfortable with no boots, gloves or hat. I really enjoyed sailing port tack as I don’t often get the chance on the south coast where I live.
George, me, Jony and Lecky on the way to the cliff jump. (Photo by Megan Gayda)

Big thanks to Dave White for taking some incredible photos as well as lending me some of his toys, I used pretty much all of his boards at some point. Especially important was the wavecult which I fell in love with as it got me through six heats in the double, being both over and under powered. Also the SUPs for keeping me entertained on the non windy days!

Also thanks to Jim from Puravida and Nigel Treacy for organising the event and Ian Ross for stepping up as head judge. Also Chris Yates and Willy from Wild Diamond for judging too.
The dream team in Sam's van!

BWA Tiree 2013: Ams, Masters & Ladies a Windsurfing video by boards