Windsurfing with Dave's Waves!2021 and the months are racing past, leaving us behind in their dusty trail. Do you remember last summer? It may feel like a distant memory from a curious time long gone but it definitely happened! John from Island Escapes looks back fondly at a hot day in sunny Port Erin, when he attempted to harness the mighty wind.
The sea is flat as a pancake. Gently glistening and still as the sun beats down over Port Erin Bay. It doesn’t exactly feel like windsurfing weather, I think. But Dave has the conviction that fills us with confidence. I’m here with my friend and colleague Jamie - from our partner company Island Cottage Care. Jamie’s firm manages all Island Escapes’ housekeeping and cleaning. Ironic really, as when I look over, he’s busy picking up litter from the sandy beach!
Dave hands me a grabber and I join them, crouching down and wincing as I pick up discarded crisp packets. Dave explains he too is a Biosphere partner and this is part of his pre-lesson pledge. It is not what I was expecting, but it is heartening to see. Jamie and I comment that we’re feeling limber and loose. Ready to go. What a great warm-up!
“All in good time”, says Dave. Jamie and I look at one another, bewildered. What else is there to do? Dave from Dave’s Waves has a plan. The Island’s self-professed Mobile Windsurfing Instructor has the aura of a wetsuited sensei and we bide our time, patiently waiting for our turn to tackle the non-existent wind. He is warm, funny and engaging. Even so, the man who takes us to the optimum places on the Island for windsurfing - “all subject to the tide, wind strength and direction on the day” - is now talking to his board. Still, I trust in the sensei. Dave knows what he’s doing.
I’ve been excited about this basic windsurfing tutorial for a while now and am itching to go. I’ll admit I’m feeling pretty confident. It’s in my blood after all, this windsurfing lark! My Dad entered the Bacardi World Cup when it was held on the Island in the early 1980's. I hadn’t tried windsurfing since an infuriating lesson with my dad in my early teens - an admittedly disastrous time of falling in the water and moaning about the wind - but still...I’m hoping the windsurfing gene has been inherited!
A crack course tutorial in all things windsurfing follows. Dave runs through the basics and terminology. He has clear respect for the act, the equipment and the elements. I would love to say I remember more but ‘nose’ ‘rails’ ‘centreboard’ ‘clew’ and ‘tack’ are the main things that have stuck in my head. Don’t ask me to explain them though....
Finally, it is time for us to tackle the gods of wind and ocean! …..On the beach.
The still sea shimmers, still resolutely static. It feels like it’s mocking us.
Bemused passers by watch with arched brows as I perform my stuff with what was certainly a grace befitting more than a mere beginner. Dave senses our eagerness to get into the water and put this to the test. I say senses, one of us may have uttered “When shall you let us conquer the sea, sensei?”
It was time. Hoping to put all Dave’s wisdom to good use, we carry our boards in hand and march into the unsuspecting waters like soldiers of fortune.
It didn’t take long for these soldiers to be toppled by the gentlest of gusts, the faintest of whispering waves. Turns out this is really bloody tricky! My cocksure confidence is rapidly fading as I begin to resemble a drunken Dad at a wedding.
Feeling thankful for the lack of wind, thanks to some excellent instruction from Dave, Jamie and I start to get into the swing of things. We avoid the swimmers, paddleboarders and sailing dinghies, cruising along, carried by a blissful breeze. It was euphoric, tranquil and exhilarating in equal measure. It was now clear that the light breeze was all we needed to have a lot of fun, and the time spent on the beach had prepared us for the challenge of being on the water! Dave even suggested we were both ready for the next stage! Which, one can only assume is the next tropical storm in Gansey.
We retired to the Bay Hotel, exhausted and buzzing from the experience. A pint of Bushys and a La Gusto Pizza waiting for us. The three of us sat on the wall, basking in the wonder of a Port Erin sunset. Dave summed up aptly “Living the dream boys!”.