Pondlife at NCSC, February 2022
What a difference a week can make. The University dinghy sailors competing in the BUSA team-racing event last weekend battled with storms Eunice, Franklin and Gladys. They fought through the gales and driving rain to complete a tough competition. This past weekend, 26 and 27 February, the Student Windsurfing Association (SWA) touring event – Pondlife as it’s called when the University of Nottingham windsurfers host it at Notts County – were greeted by two full days of glorious sunshine, a good breeze, F4 on the Saturday and F3 on the Sunday, coming from an ideal cross shore, South to SSE direction. An ideal set up for the combination of beginners, intermediates and advanced sailors taking part in training, some quick-fire races, freestyle competitions or just fun blasting. As windsurfers are prone to do. With around 120 registered students coming from Universities all across the UK the event is an annual fest of fun, music, parties and some bracingly cold water to quicken the hangover recoveries from the previous evening’s socialising.
The fabulous weather built on the first-rate organisation by the Uni windsurfers working with the SWA, NCSC’s own Pauline and Keith, who supplied the much appreciated catering, and the NCSC Sailing Committee. Everything came together to produce another very successful event. Most people stayed outside enjoying the surprisingly intense spring sunshine, although finding a shelter from the cool breeze was important to enjoy the warmth. The small lake and hub area was festooned by small orange training sails as new starters to the sport could use the safe, relatively tranquil and secluded environment to take those early steps onto, and into, the water. The intermediates and advanced sailors were out on the main lake sailing on their own equipment or kit supplied by the SWA events sponsor Boardwise.
Pondlife is characterised by late morning starts, on the hoof event management, lots of cool youngsters and, very importantly, great beach music flowing out across the foreshore. This year the big addition was the multitude of Dryrobe® coats on display and after two years of pandemic driven event cancellations, it was terrific to see lots of smiling, chatty people enjoying the company and the bustle of the occasion.
There was some racing and a most entertaining freestyle event and the inter university competitiveness was obvious, but in good humour. I have no idea who won what, and frankly that really isn’t the focus for these events, although I really hope that Georgia (I think it was) in the penguin suit won the freestyle – the upside down sailing being a high point. You had to be there.
Of course, thanks to all from NCSC, notably the bosun’s team, who helped to make this a great event, presenting the club in a very positive light. We look forward to hosting future Pondlifes.