Andy Chambers, aka Bubble, spent the winter windsurfing in Cape Town. Dedicated to the sport of windsurfing from a very tender age, Andy is now a pro-windsurfer and a level 5 windsurfing instructor, which is the highest level of instructorship available. He is one of England’s most recognised faces in the windsurfing world.
He got his Level 5 Instructor’s certificate at the age of 18 – the youngest person ever to have done so. He is one of the most respected instructors within the industry being gifted at teaching others the complexities of getting a windsurfer to dance on water. As a result he has a large following of young, upcoming sailors as well as older clients who regularly request him as an instructor and support him at the events he competes in. Hardly surprising; if you watch the following video you will see some fairly awesome windsurfing which many an aspiring windsurfer would LOVE to be able to do!
Bubble, as he is known, made his debut on the windsurfing circuit in 2005 although prior to that he had already notched up a 2004 British Freewave Series and a British Championship to his name. He repeated this achievement in 2005 and is now a name to be reckoned with on the pro circuit.
He’s a year-round instructor for Club Vass, and is lucky enough to be able to work in the best locations around the world. When he’s not instructing he’s competing… somewhere. The PWA World Tour has just ended at Lac Bay, Bonaire on the Dutch Antilles in the Caribbean. This bay has steady winds of between 15 and 25 knots, warm blue waters and perfect windsurfing spots. The shallow water and sandy bottoms are a great place to learn to windsurf, but, with its flat water, its also ideal for freestylers and freestyle competitions. When conditions are right you can find some waves just the other side of the riff.
It is worth knowing that the wind is generally most reliable between January and July.
Having said that, the wind for the PWA World Tour in Bonaire was unpredictable to say the least, putting the competition constantly on standby. But it came to a close yesterday with Andy Chambers happy with his joint-13th place. Next stop – Aruba, for the 2011 PWA Aruba HiWinds Grand Slam – a special 25th anniversary of the famous Pro-Am event that’s been missing on the PWA schedule since the 1990s.
Aruba is a 33km long island, a part of the Lesser Antilles in the Southern Caribbean sea, 27km off the north coast of Venezuela. It is blessed with constant trade winds coming off the Atlantic which keeps the temperature at aroundabout 28C. The combination of warm, crystal clear water and consistent wind (around 20 knots all year round – apart from June, the windiest month, when it can get up to 30 knots) make this island a windsurfers paradise.
The 3rd day of the PWA Grand Slam concluded yesterday in challenging conditions. The trade winds were obliging with a good breeze which continued to build as the competition went along. On day 3 the gusty wind was blowing between 15-20 knots and so the PWA decided to extend the heats to nine minutes, and it was decided the best three out of six moves in either direction would count toward the sailor’s scores.
It was a day full of surprises… a number of highly ranked sailors lost out unexpectedly in the early heats as they struggled with the unpredictable conditions including Andy ‘Bubble’ Chambers who was beaten by Tilo Eber. Russian Yegor Popretinskiy fell to the young Bonaire go-getter Youp Schmit, and in the same heat the consistent Canadian, Phil Soltysiak was unable to hold his own against Julien Mas.
In the finals Steven Van Broeckhoven and Jose ‘Gollito’ Estredo were both hungry for victory. “Van Broeckhoven opened with a funnel, which was upstaged by Estredo’s double. The sailors then embarked on a game of one up man-ship as the opening minutes of the heat flew by. Van Broeckhoven separated the pair with an enormous kono, Estredo took that as his cue to unleash his more ferocious moves, landing an incredible spock culo and a burner 900 in quick succession. Both sailors fought tooth and nail, busting out everything in their armour of tricks but ultimately a 3-2 decision from the judges crowned Van Broeckhoven as the winner.”
The women’s final was a battle between Sarah-Quita Offringa and Laure Treboux, both very experienced competitors. It was Offringa who carried the day, “I feel great, I started the day helping with the commentary on the beach so that really relaxed me and I didn’t worry too much about my heat. My first heat was good but the second heat was great. I sailed really well landing all my switch moves and a shaka, I really enjoyed it. In the final I was quite nervous and I didn’t sail as well as I could, but I still landed some big moves and I won. I am really happy with the result.”
The final day of the freestyle will start today at 9:30 am local time, with the sailors meeting on the beach and a first possible start to competition at 10am. Good luck to you all.
Photo courtesy of Beachy