Words: Mark Dowson
Pics: Kyle McGinn
Regular Windsurfing UK contributor Mark Dowson scored an awesome result last weekend during the Cornwall Wave Classic. In a hard fought battle Mark took the masters division victory in some tough conditions. Following on from his Mastering the Masters Rhosneigr article (featured in Windsurfing UK’s summer 2017 issue) we caught up with MD to get the lowdown from Cornwall.
Tell us about the conditions you faced – were you comfortable or was it a challenge?
Windsurfing wise it was comfortable when we sailed our particular heats. Luckily for us the sun was out and we somehow missed the low tide dumpers that the other fleets experienced. There were plenty of ramps to jump off, however, finding decent sized waves to ride was a tad trickier as the spot was constantly changing! Saturday saw lighter wind and I needed a 5.7m on my 101 Severn Nuevo Twin with K4 fins. On the Sunday 5.3m was perfect for all my heats except the second one where I was a tad underpowered. Steve Laddiman was on his 5.0m on both days and 90 something Moo Quad again with K4 fins. On a free-sailing day I would have really enjoyed it.
The biggest challenge? Well that would have to be the 10 hour drive down (it plays havoc with a back injury I picked up last year).
Did you have a podium finish in mind or were you just having fun?
I’ve been doing as many events as I can fit in with work for a few years now and I just love the people involved in the BWA events and everything about competition wave sailing. Chris Sykes and I first came down together and we had a lot of fun free-sailing the week before the comp and that pattern has continued. My previous best position in recent years was 5th so my goal was to get into the top 4 and I wasn’t expecting to win or feeling the need to (though the boys don’t believe me when I say that!). Dave White had inspired us to enter at a Juice Boardsports demo and his advice was to just go and have fun and I’m so glad he sent me down the wave comp path.
What was the toughest part of the comp and why?
I think sleep or not enough of it and free-sailing for too long is probably the toughest part for me – I get so excited about going sailing, especially when it’s a comp, that I wear myself out too early. I had to restrain myself and resist going out first thing in the morning. This event was not hard because the guys in the fleet are a great bunch to both socialise and sail with.
At what point did you think you may stand a chance of nabbing victory?
There are so many great sailors in our fleet it wasn’t till after they’d announced the result on Saturday that it really began to sink in. I also fully expected to be knocked down to 2nd by Steve as he’s such a solid rider. We have free-sailed together a lot this year and he rips.
Who was your closest rival and why?
Steve Laddiman (he’s become a good friend) was the closest rival with his classic high back loops and solid riding style. Also Graham Pettit, Kyle McGinn and the rest of the guys in the fleet are all capable of taking a heat win. Others in the past include Graham Gump Turner (Juice Boardsports), Pete Tye, Alex Tritten, Daniel Ramsden, Alan Cockerill, Dave Buckland (Funsport), John & Paul McLarence, Justin Dennington, Dave White and of course Dave Ewer (Reactive Watersports) have also been a pleasure to compete against.
Anything you feel you need to work on for next time?
Errrr… I plan to work on everything, but especially starboard tack sailing! I’ve sailed it a few more times (3 or 4) this year ready for Avon so that should sort it. Ha ha!
Final thoughts and thanks?
Well, I’m so glad I gave competition wave sailing a go. It’s allowed me to meet some amazing people and sail in locations and amazing conditions that would have otherwise remained a closed book.
Thanks must go to so many people and I should thank everyone as I probably will never be in this position again! Basically the everyone who knows me speech!
So my Bafta speech goes something like: “Thanks to the BWA team who made it all possible Ian Ross, Nicky, Dale Pearce, Paul Monnington, Charlie Gillman, Geoff Hautman, Nigel Treacy & Ben Granata (jet ski dude!), Jack Pettit (the best dryrobe caddy in town!), Rachel and Steve North on beach timer duty. Photographers John Carter, Joe Cockle and the dudes from Red Handed TV.
Sharp’s Brewery supplying my favourite tipple prizes, Animal (Timo Mullen), Cornwall Council, R+B Sails, Pura Vida and Sunset surf (great grub). FP mailing (George Bevin Snr)
All the Masters Fleet – especially Steve Laddiman!
You cannot forget Graham Gump Turner at Juice Boardsports, Ezzy Sails UK, Steve Thorp at K4 fins, Russell Groves (Cool Canaries Coach!), Tez Plavenieks at Windsurfing UK, John Robinson who’s kept me afloat with countless repairs to my boards and everyone who has helped me and inspired me to try to improve over the last few years ( Dave White & Brad White no relation!) … Phil Brown (the coolest boss in town), Aunty Brenda for accommodation & deluxe lattes, Mum & Dad James Dowson, Alison Dowson and lovely nephew Luca Dominique Glover and most and for importantly Helen Glover for putting up with ‘the windsurfing’ for all these years!