Words: Mark Dowson/BWA
Pics: Mike Spencer, Mike Gibbens & Ollie Laddiman.
Round 1 of the BWA 2018 Tour for the Pros kicked off at Rhosneigr on the 11th of May. BWA Press Officer Mark Dowson caught up with the three riders who topped the podium and asked them about their competition, kit tuning and pre-season training. Interestingly, all of them were riding on K4 fins, so he also spoke to Mr K4 himself, Steve Thorp, who placed 5th on this exciting day of competition.
Adam Lewis Currently No 1 on the 2018 BWA Tour
As a current top ranking sailor on the PWA wave tour, how do you go about tuning and selecting your gear Adam?
Haha that’s top secret! No seriously, selecting gear is something that’s really important. I like to have a few spare bits and pieces on the beach just in case I need to change whilst competing. Selection wise I find it’s best to try a few different set ups and choose a few different fins for what suits my style and where I am going to sail. With K4’s that’s also now a viable and affordable option in that you can have a few different fin set ups and really get such a wide range of performance from your gear. Boards and sails around the event I’ll normally have around 3 different combos just to test out on the day and see what feels best. You need to have some back up gear in case of breakages or wind changes so it’s there anyway, just don’t be afraid to chop and change! I even changed boards in the final of the double elimination as the wind dropped!
Phil Horrocks Currently No 2 on the 2018 BWA Tour
The Rhosneigr event was a little unusual in the way you set up you gear Phil! You were on borrowed boards and was it also the first time you had used the K4 fins?
Normally I would always use my ‘go to board’, the Simmer Quantum, but I fancied changing things up a little, trying or getting new gear can often give you a little boost and makes you feel keener than normal! It just so happened that my boards were still bobbing along the Atlantic on a container ship when the event was due to kick off! Ben Proffitt was in Japan talking about PWA slalom and didn’t need his boards, so he left them in the UK. This was the perfect opportunity to have a go! I decided to go with the Cortex 84 and gave my brother the quantum 80 to try; he sailed that pretty well too, finishing 4th! The boards looked a little under finned to me, Ben’s quite a bit smaller than me, Steve Thorp was knocking around the beach as I was rigging and slipped in some of his K4’s for me to try. I’d tried them years ago when he first started making them and I wasn’t too sure, they were a little soft for me back then. However things have really come on, they felt great, the board was sitting high in the water with loads of speed, they flew upwind and were pretty loose. I was super impressed! I’m sure I’ll get some for my boards when they arrive. It’s always a bit of a gamble to try new things when it comes to contests, but at the same time, if you don’t try, you don’t know… It all worked beautifully, now it’s just the rider that needs fine tuning!
Andy ‘Bubble’ Chambers Currently No 3 on the 2018 BWA Tour
After watching your fightback through the double at Rhosneigr Andy, we all know how much winning and doing well in the BWA Tour means to you! How do you prepare your gear to make sure you are going to do well?
Training hasn’t been amazing this winter!! Cold, no wind and no waves! I managed to squeeze in a quick 2 weeks in Cape Town though so managed to get some jumping practice! Kit wise I’m still riding my faithful JP Slate and NeilPryde Combats. They just work so well in such a variety of conditions and are perfect for the UK. Especially for Rhosneigr!
Which K4 setup did you use for the Rhosneigr event?
I use the scorcher 18cm and Ezzy 2 degrees in my Slate 87, I find it gives me loads of control when it gets windy and choppy. Also means you can have more power in top turns without losing the back of the board. In onshore conditions the sail gets way more powered up in the bottom turn so the Scorcher really helps to control that.
Steve Thorp (MR K4) Currently No 5 on the 2018 BWA Tour
Steve you must be very pleased with recent K4 rider results!
Yes, it’s very cool to have the top 3 in the UK on my yellow fins, it does make me proud! It’s great to see them being sailed to such a high level at a place that I’ve sailed regularly for almost 30 years. With everyone on the wider Stubby style boards, they do seem to gravitate towards the stiffer Scorcher rears (18-20cm) and an asymmetric 10cm front in Tri mode. We’re doing a lot of front fin testing at the moment so what’s being ridden varies between Ezzy’s, stiff 30/70 profile and stiff full asymmetric. We’ll be launching whichever style the feedback suggests is best!
You can follow through the day via the BWA Facebook page which has short reports and videos as the day unfolded. Ben Proffitt, who was commentating in Japan, said he’d been able to follow the ‘whole thing’ whilst he was out there!
If you missed it check out Windsurf TV’s awesome event video:
Or if you want to know the dates for the rest of the tour check out https://www.facebook.com/britishwavesailingassociation/
Alfie Hart did a fantastic job, as was he was also competing whilst he made this awesome video of how it all went down!
The Pros are now looking forward to the rest of the 2018 Tour with Avon, Tiree and Cornwall left to run.