The Docklands Dugongs windsurfing team from Docklands Sailing & Watersports Centre (DSWC) took a big leap in their Team15 windsurfing programme when nine youngsters went to the National Windsurfing Championships on 7-8 September at Grafham Water for their first time.
RYA Team15 is a network of windsurf clubs and centres across the UK for young windsurfers who want to share their passion and improve their skills, and the Docklands Dugongs started in April 2018.
Having competed in just four Team15 inter club competitions this year and one last year, the National Championships seemed like a big step for the Dugongs. However they felt it was achievable and something they wanted to be a part of.
Team coach James Hardy takes up the story: “The weekend was absolutely epic with great breeze on both days. We went with the aim of just being there, representing DSWC and giving it a good go, and we actually exceeded expectations. The team got better and more comfortable after each race and everyone was smiling and having a great time. They relished having so much space to windsurf, having only windsurfed mostly on the dock.”
Erik Sier (15) competing in the 6.8 fleet said: "It's the best windsurfing I’ve ever done," and
Olivia Salgueiro (12), who was second girl in the 3.5 fleet, was pretty much speechless, just smiling constantly.
The Dugongs came twelfth out of 23 Team15 clubs from across the country.
James added: “This is pretty special considering we have only been running regular youth Team15 windsurfing for two summers.
"It was amazing to be a part of something so huge with 159 junior entries over the weekend, which is the biggest in years. It's opened the Dugongs eyes to the wider world of windsurfing, making them hungry for more which is fantastic, helping create windsurfers for life. We will definitely be back next year."
DSWC is an RYA Recognised Training Centre and offers a full range of watersports in the heart of London Docklands.
Find out more about RYA Team15