Just hours before the women's final in the first UK indoor windsurfing competition, Hannah Emanuel talks to pro windsurfer Camilla French on the way the competition has been going so far.
Just hours before the women’s final in the first UK indoor windsurfing competition, Hannah Emanuel talks to pro windsurfer Camilla French on the way the competition has been going so far.
Camilla is predominantly a wavesailor, so the conditions at the London boat show are nothing like they would be in her usual idyllic riding locations. Having just returned from Maui, Hawaii, the indoor pool couldn’t be more different. Camilla explains:
“Most of us are used to sailing in the sea which is a lot more buoyant. Here your equipment sinks. Also, it’s super windy on one side of the pool and calm on the other. The actual windsurfing is very difficult because the pool is so short and the building is too small so the wind is bouncing off the sides and it comes from all around when you’re in the middle.”
So was it an impossible task to prepare for this competition and does this make the event irrelevant in the windsurfing calendar? Many people have said that it is more to do with achieving recognition for the sport and Camilla echoes these views.
“I didn’t really prepare for the event because I didn’t know what equipment I was going to be using or what it would be like, so there was no real way you could train apart from general fitness. This competition doesn’t really count towards anything; it’s just a display and an event on it’s own. I think it’s great though. It’s brought hundreds more visitors to the show and it’s great to introduce windsurfing to people who have no idea what it’s about. It’s fantastic for the sport.”
As the women’s final is about to kick off, what are Camilla’s predictions for the trophy?
“As a former racing champion, possibly Sonia Pavelin or maybe Louise Emery. Here it seems so much down to luck.”
So how have the girls compared to the boys in this first indoor windsurfing competition? It has been widely acknowleged that weight seems to be a make or break feature in the indoor competition here with the lighter riders doing significantly better and many of the heavier riders pulling out altogether. Surely this should give the girls an advantage?
“I think it has made a difference,” Camilla answers, “but unfortunately I’m one of the heavier girls, so I’ve been at a disadvantage compared to some of the lighter younger girls. Overall, I think the girls were doing as well as the guys in the practices, especially considering the fact that we had much less time to practice.”
The slalom and freestyle ladies finals are today and Sailpower.com will keep you updated with results over the weekend.