Connect to Windsurfing/Team 15
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Every sport needs a "grass roots" scheme - a programme that introduces new people to the sport; and the best possible place to build a strong base is amongst the impressionable young. Children are eager to learn and can progress very fast in the right environment; parents will be happy to see their children taking part in purposeful and healthy activity.
Windsurfing can be a rewarding experience for all involved; but How and Where to start?
Team 15 could be the model for you follow; to adapt and modify to suit your needs and resources.
Team15 is . . . the windsurfing club revolution
A nationwide network of windsurfing clubs where young people aged 15 and under can get together every week to learn new windsurfing skills and have a laugh with their friends on the water. Since the same faces come back every week, youll definitely make new friends as well.
Whatever your skill level, regular windsurfing sessions will improve your windsurfing ability very quickly. If you've never tried it before, you'll have the basics mastered in no time. From first time windsurfer to a relative expert, Team15 clubs welcome all levels.
Team15 offers young people two opportunities; to be part of the weekly club sessions plus participate in the inter-club challenges. It's your call whether you take part in one or both. But it's the challenges that give Team15 its name. Each club can enter the inter-club challenges with a team of up to 15 people aged 15 and under; Team15!
More about Team 15 (powerpoint presentation)
More about Team 15 (pdf)
History of Team 15
RYA Team15 – the future for club windsurfing
The Team15 initiative has been one of the biggest and most successful projects our sport has seen and still growing strong. Find out about all the successes, opportunities and how not to miss out HERE …
Tadhg Al-Hassan, with the Oxford Zoomers,Techno 3.5
West Kirby Warriors claim the Team15 Champions Cup 2013
Just under 90 young windsurfers from seven teams across the UK took to the water for the decisive stage of the Team15 Champions Cup 2013.
After dominating in their West Zone regional heats, the Warriors won their place in the final and, despite fierce competition, they continued to perform at a very high level.
"It's amazing and we've come so far, I don't think we really expected it to be honest as it was really tough competition at first. We wanted it and we went for it and it feels really good to win as a team. That's what matters!", says Milo Callaghan, West Kirby Warriors captain.
Racing was split between the four windsurfing classes (3.5m, 4.5m, 5.8m, Techno 6.8) with a total of 37 races taking place throughout the weekend on the two courses.
The Spray Sprites, Pugneys Pirates and the West Kirby Warriors all claimed victory winning first place in their classes.
Team15 Champions Cup 2013 Final Results:
1. West Kirby Warriors
2. Pugneys Pirates
3. Axbridge Animals
4. Spray Sprites
5. Pitsford Pirates
6. Polkerris Pirates
7. Loch Insh Monsters
View the Video
Getting to know the Axbridge Animals
The Axbridge Animals are certainly no strangers to the Team15 Champions Cup. They have been lucky enough to qualify for the national final five years in a row, making it onto the podium in 2012 just behind current T15 Champions, the Hythe Hotshots.
Head coach, Mark Smith aka Smudge, believes its not just the trophies but the 'buzz' that youngsters get from windsurfing, that keeps them coming back each year.
"From the moment they get out of the car, to the moment they leave the club, the kids are taking about windsurfing. They are mad for it. When they get off the water you see how much they are buzzing" he explains.
. . . Read more on Boards
Inspiring the Next Generation
The RYA and Team 15 is all about getting youngsters onto the water, Boards learns more about why the next generation are loving windsurfing from future star Kieran Martin.
Introduced to the sport simply because his older brother did it, RYA National Youth Squad member Kieran Martin, took his first tentative steps into windsurfing at Carsington Water when he was just eight years old.
Now 10 years later, despite being rated as one of the world's most promising young talents and having multiple junior and youth level World medals to his name, Kieran can still recall the excitement and adventure he felt that very first time he got off and running alone.
It's a feeling that is replicated across the country by hundreds of rookie youngsters every year and it's the reason windsurfing is more popular and accessible than ever for kids.
Read More . . .
New kids on the block: the Team15 (T15) Kielder Kestrels.
Team Coach Brian Coates, tells us how they formed, why they have the perfect spot and how they will prepare for their very first season battling it out in the T15 Inter-Club Championship.
The Coates family, together with other keen windsurfers at Kielder Water Sailing Club, were keen to develop their own T15 club at Kielder having previously been involved with rival local club the Pugneys Pirates.
"Windsurfing at Kielder Water Sailing Club was set up by two of the oldest members of the club (both in their 80s) who were part of the huge windsurfing fraternity back in the eighties," Brian explains.
"The Kestrels only started last September and we had 20 T15 members. We are hoping to get even more youngsters signed up this season as for the very first time we are taking part in the T15 Inter-Club Championship.
"Kielder Water is a large lake, a great place to windsurf with plenty of space to learn, develop and to have fun, whether you have been windsurfing for years or just a few weeks. A small bay which is semi-enclosed by KWSC's jetty is ideal for beginners, after which the headland point is the target and then into the wide open space of Kielder Water for a blast across the lake," he continues.
Windsurfing certainly runs in the Coates family as Brian's daughter Christina (15) who is a freestyle expert, also instructs the newly formed Kielder Kestrels (when she's not competing with the team). Christina was awarded the RYA North East Young Sailor of the Year Award at the London Boat Show for her work volunteering with the club.
"I am looking forward to using my skills to help the Kielder Kestrels in their first year in the Inter-Club Championship. Everyone is really looking forward to a full season of windsurfing, racing and freestyle at Kielder," said Christina.
The Kestrels will be competing in the North Zone alongside current T15 Zone Champions the Pugneys Pirates from Wakefield, the team which Christina previously competed with and gained her valuable windsurfing experience.
"I do think there will be some friendly rivalry with the kids from Pugneys, we have as we will have some of their members competing including me!" explains Christina.
But for the Kestels it's not just the winning that counts. "For us it's about the fun! This will be the first year that we will take part in the Inter-Club and we see it as a fantastic opportunity for the youngsters to advance their windsurfing skills and have fun out on the water. The great thing about racing is that competitors have to learn to use the wind in the correct way to get an advantage," said Brian.
Not only will it be the first time the Kestels compete but they will also be welcoming junior windsurfing teams from across the North when they host the North Zone Event 3 for the first time in July.
"We are a little nervous about hosting a T15 event for the very first time," Brian Admits. "However it will be great to be able to showcase our venue and I'm sure the kids will be pretty excited about it! Hopefully we will have a bit of an advantage too on home waters."
With the new season just around the corner the club were delighted to find out that they has been awarded a grant of over £2,250 from the Eric Twiname Trust to purchase the final pieces of windsurfing equipment needed for the Team15 sessions.
"We are hugely grateful for the funding provided by the Eric Twiname Trust and our thanks go to the trustees not only for their support but for the straightforward way in which you apply for the funding. Having decided to take part in the Inter-Club it came to the rescue just at the right time and will provide us with six new Dino rigs."
The Kielder Kestrels will be busy preparing for the season with Team15 sessions taking place on the fourth of Saturday of every month followed by a race day on the Sunday.
"Although the Kestrels are only open to junior windsurfers of fifteen years and under, everyone from beginner to expert is welcome at Kielder. We are open to windsurfers of all abilities from complete beginner upwards," Brian concludes.
Supported by industry leaders Tushingham/Starboard and Neil Pryde, T15 was set up by the RYA to help make windsurfing more accessible and appealing to youngsters at a grass roots level. Fun and informal training sessions take place at T15 clubs all over the country for kids up to the age of 15, which are run weekly by specialist RYA coaches.
For more information about Team15 and locate your nearest local club visit http://www.team15.org.uk/ or contact the RYA 0845 345 0400.
To get involved in windsurfing at Kielder Water Sailing Club visit http://www.kielderwatersc.org/