Aaron on the crest of a wave after podium place in national event
A windsurer from Whitley Bay is on the crest of a wave having finished third youth section of the Tiree Wave Classic (TWC).
The achievement of Aaron Hobb, 17, is all the more impressive as it was the first time he had tried wave sailing.
He was up against stiff competition, having to compete head to head in elimination rounds against other more experienced wave sailors.
Hobb held his nerve throughout, in challenging conditions, to impress with some awesome jumps and radical wave riding.
At Tiree, a small island off the west coast of Scotland, Hobb competed at one of the most well known wave sailing competitions in the world.
The event saw Hobb involved sailing different equipment, low volume short boards and small sails of 3.5 to six metres, to that he normally sails, RS:X, which is a one design board and 8.5 metre rig, which is designed to plane and a requires a different set of windsurfing techniques.
The first two days were training with RYA Scotland and Hobb soon got the hang of things as he was able to combine his windsurfing and surfing skills.
On competition day the winds were slightly lighter than those he had trained in. After a number of head to head elimination rounds and heats, Hobb pushed hard and had several wins, eventually finishing third youth overall.
The TWC closed out a year of competitions where Hobb finished fourth overall in the UK Windsurfing Association (UKWA) National Cup Series 2016, sailing an RS:X – an Olympic Class One design windsurf board and rig which the double silver medallist Nick Dempsey competed on in London 2012 and Rio 2016.
Hobb narrowly missed out on a podium place by only three points.
The UKWA Cup series saw Hobb racing in the sea at Bridlington, Yorkshire, Weymouth in Dorset, Pwllheli, Wales, and Stokes Bay at Portsmouth, where he had to contend with tides, waves and on occasion almost gale force winds.
To compete at this high level takes a lot of dedication from both Hobb and his family as there are no local facilities for training at this level.
The vast majority of winter training takes place at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, Dorset, which means a weekend round trip of 830 miles for his dad, towing a trailer, but at least the sea is a couple of degrees warmer than Tynemouth.