A teenager from Whitley Bay has competed in his first national RS:X race – an Olympic class windsurf board.
Aaron Hobb recently attended the UKWA (UK Windsurfing Association) National Windsurfing Event, the Youth and Masters Championships at Grafham Water, Cambridgeshire.
This is the UK’s biggest windsurfing competition, held annually, with about 250 sailors taking part.
It was Aaron’s first time racing the technical Olympic class RS:X one design windsurfing board and rig.
The 15-year-old started windsurfing whilst on holiday four years ago and loved it so much he is now competing at national and international level.
He qualified for and participated in the Royal Yachting Association’s (RYA) North (High Performance) Zone Squad training programme for the last two years.
He trains at Druridge Bay Country Park every Wednesday from May to October and windsurfs as much as he can at weekends
Aaron’s aim this year is to continue to compete at a national level in the Bic Techno Class and start his transition to the Olympic RS:X windsurfing class.
He is going to be joining the transition programme provided by the RYA to help him with this transition from the Junior Techno board to the technical Youth & Adult RS:X board.
He attended more than 35 events last year alone, travelling 10,000 miles to do so. Over the winter he aims to train as often as he can and attend as many events as possible in order to start the 2016 season well.
Following the event at Grafham Water, Aaron said: “When we awoke at 7am on the Saturday morning there was not a single breath of wind. We rigged up and waited for the wind to pick up; unfortunately it didn’t.”
The wind picked up overnight allowing racing to take place on the Sunday after a disappointing Saturday.
“We managed to get four races in. I was pleased with my result, as I came ninth out of 20 in the Youth (under 20) category and 21st out of 33 overall.
“My competitors included the national Team GB squad including Bryony Shaw, world No.1 and Olympic bronze medallist in 2008, who is aiming for gold in Rio 2016.
“It was a great experience racing against this calibre of sailors in the RS:X class as I learnt a lot having to stand my ground on the start line and not be intimidated.”
Aaron’s next race will be in the sea in a couple of weeks at Stokes Bay, Portsmouth, and is the final race in this year’s UKWA national race series.
For more on windsurfing go to http://www.rya.org.uk/programmes/team15/findateam15club/Pages/t15northzoneclubs.aspx