Events have reached their exciting climax at the Schroders London International Boat Show with the running of the mens' and ladies' finals.
Events have reached their exciting climax at the Schroders London International Boat Show with the running of the mens’ and ladies’ finals.
Crowds to the exhibition and especially to the windsurfing competition have been enormous, with demand for seating way exceeding that provided in the indoor arena. Big screens around ExCel have been broadcasting the competition for those who couldn’t get a seat. The atmosphere has been amazing, with hundreds of people previously unfamiliar to windsurfing coming along to see the spectacle.
On Thursday night, an intimidating jump ramp was lowered into the pool. After what seemed like a long delay while important safety procedures were sorted out, Andy Funnel was nominated as the first to try it out. Hitting the ramp at full speed, Funnel emerged victorious, landing the first ever jump in British indoor windsurfing. Visitors to the boat show cheered their appreciation. Nik Baker and Ben Proffitt had raised the level with two brilliantly pulled off forward loops but it was young Jamie Hancock who landed the biggest forward of the evening, sending the crowd wild again.
The ladies final on Friday night established Ruth Elliott as the champion, in the first indoor event to be held in this country. The slalom course, from one end of the pool around a buoy and back, is a lot harder than it sounds, especially since the ladies initially had less practice time than the men. Hotly tipped for the top spot, Louise Emery came a close second with former racing champion Sonia Pavelin taking third place.
The men’s jump, freestyle and slalom finals took place on Saturday with Andy Funnell continuing his success on the ramp and coming first. John Hibbard took second and Paul Hunt third place. The slalom competition was predictably won by Nik Baker. UK indoor windsurfing champion Ben Proffitt, a newcomer to the indoor scene, took second place with Xavier Ferlet in third. Finally the freestyle round was won by Chris Audsley, also new to indoor windsurfing, with Nik Baker and Ben Proffitt in joint second place.
Events are continuing today with a match between the UK Windsurfing Association and the Professional Windsurfing Association. Many international riders have arrived especially for this event. More news tomorrow.