Words and pics: Russell Groves
Young windsurfers are the lifeblood of the sport – that much is clear. Some choose to take it further than simply pootling around their local patch. In this instance, young gun Josh Lane is about to go through a change and make the leap from Techno racing to full on slalom and wave sailing. Russell Groves has been one of Josh’s mentors since the early days of the young lad’s windsurf career. Here Russell gives us a bit of insight into the switch from Team 15 comps to wave and slalom.
I cannot believe I have been coaching Josh for five years. It has gone by so quickly and each year there has been a huge jump in his ability. It has not been just his jumps either! His change in size has also been glaringly obvious.
So why the jump into the national wave and freestyle categories? I think it comes down to needing to progress and to feed his thirst for competitive windsurfing.
Josh joined Team 15 when he was nine years old, which was the same year I met the family. They came on holiday for dad to have some fun and Josh and Jake to learn to sail smaller boards. So my involvement started there. Both brothers had plenty of natural talent and their progression was quick
The next year Josh moved into the East/South East zone squad. Which was all about his BIC Techno 295 training and racing. Intensive years of monthly technique camps and competition. But every year he would come out to me for his short board fix. All the skills learnt on short boards are transferable directly back onto race boards, after all.
Josh competed in the Bic Techno Nationals every year from 2010 to 2015. He went to the 2015 Worlds in Sardinia, where he was placed middle of the fleet, and to the European Champs in Poland in 2016 where he was unlucky as there was no wind for the competition.
Josh is big, so strong breeze is his forte. Slalom recently became his passion. The Techno class sees youths tending to be light – the wind during comps also tends to be light. His position in the fleet really depended on the strength of the wind. Strong wind, top of the fleet; light wind, below middle. A change was definitely needed as his stature increased.
For the end of the season in 2016 Josh competed in the slalom event at Tenby and at Weymouth Speed Week. He then plans to do all of the UK slalom series in 2017.
In the Canaries he feeds his passion for waves – and this has created a hunger for competition. Josh will compete in the Cornish Wave Classic and Avon Wave Classic – both have been on his radar for a while. He also plans to do all of the UK’s wave events in 2017.
Josh also loves a challenge and this summer we got him involved in foil windsurfing. He took to it extremely well. I wish him success in his move into the slalom and wave events – I’m sure he’ll do just fine.
Josh is sponsored by 4Boards, Tabou / GA and Vandal sails for wave.