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100 members milestone at Trent Windsurfing Club

by Karenza Morton 10 Sep 2017 14:16 BST 10 September 2017
Mastering the basics at a Trent Windsurfing Club training weekend © Trent Windsurfing Club

Trent Windsurfing Club (TWC) has smashed through the 100 members milestone – doubling the number of people regularly windsurfing in Long Eaton in five years!

Jonathon Harrison from Ilkeston became the 100th person to sign up to the club in July, with membership now at 105 and still time to still learn to windsurf this autumn.

While the rest of the country was going London 2012 mad five years ago, so that summer was also decisive for TWC as the club secured a £10,000 Sport England grant to invest in making the sport easier to get in to and take part in.

In came 10 new boards and rigs, alongside training more RYA qualified Start Windsurfing instructors and powerboat safety drivers plus a refurbishment of the club's containers to create new changing rooms and board storage space.

The result has been a boom in club activity that not only takes place in Long Eaton Country Park, but which sees members travelling to some of the UK and Europe's best windsurfing spots, including, Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands, Tiree in the Hebrides and Vassiliki on the island of Lefkas in Greece.

Sam Maw, TWC Secretary, explains: "We're over the moon, getting over 100 members is monumental! In 2012 we recognised we needed to grow membership by attracting new people while retaining our existing members by offering them more and making it easier to get onto the water.

"The Sport England funded kit made it quicker and easier to get on the water. Now there's always kit available and members can turn up, grab a board and a ready-rigged sail from the loft and be on the water in minutes.

"Having good standard kit has enabled our members to get the best start in their windsurfing. Great boards, with maximum buoyancy that resist dents and scrapes, mean everyone gains balance and confidence quickly, and good, reliable sails ensure learners have every chance of being able to sail upwind and then back to shore."

TWC now offers training with fully RYA qualified instructors for every level, from regular three-hour taster sessions for people interested in joining, to beginner training and improver training, which is open to all members. For more advanced sailors the club also gets in external expert coaches.

As part of the RYA Push The Boat Out, national 'have-a-go' festival of sailing and windsurfing, in May, TWC ran two taster days with 12 people joining the club from those sessions.

Social media has also played a massive part in building the TWC community, with popular Facebook and Google groups where members regularly post messages, photos and location ideas as well as letting others know when and where they are heading off for a sail so they can go together if they wish.

Nathan Washington, from Tamworth, explains what makes the club special. He said: "The training is brilliant, whatever your level, and the social scene is also excellent as we have lots of camps and training weekends. It's excellent value for money."

Yet for all the club's recent success, Sam admits TWC aren't resting on their laurels.

She adds: "As the club's grown so we've been able to expand our arsenal of beginner kit, wetsuits, buoyancy aids, shoes and we've also bought two new containers for storage But we still want to add a fully-stocked intermediate locker, separate changing rooms and get some light kit for young people and smaller women. We've seen the local appetite for windsurfing is there if we give people what they want."

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