Boards catches up with another title winner from 2012, this time the BWA womens tour winner. A previous winner in 2010, Debbie Kennedy upped her game in 2012 to become overall champion yet again, as the womens fleet increased in size and showed incredible depth of skill at many of the events.
Name: Debbie Kennedy
Years competing in waves: Three
Best previous results: 2010 - 1st BWA Tiree, 1st BWA Cornwall, 1st Overall BWA
Title you have won this year: British Wavesailing Association Ladies Champion
Why and when did you first start competing in wave sailing?
It was completely by chance when a friend invited me to go to Tiree in 2010. It was not long after I'd started learning to wave ride but I'd always wanted to go so I thought, why not and I'm very glad I did!!!
As a kid did you dream of becoming a champion?
My sister and I were involved in longboard racing as kids, which was great fun and yes, I had all sorts of crazy windsurfing dreams but school then uni took over. When I started to kitesurf, chasing wind and waves became the norm and resulted in a move to Cornwall in 2009. I never imagined I'd start windsurfing again, so the last few years have been a total whirlwind for me with such a steep learning curve, there's been no time for dreaming, it's been a reality!!!
Did you love competition straight away?
I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the comps! I get quite nervous checking forecasts, choosing which sail to use and waiting for heats but when the green flag goes up, adrenalin just kicks in. Although it never feels like I sail quite as well as I would freesailing, as long as I know that I've done the best I can during those minutes I'm happy. Listening to feedback from the judges has been really encouraging and key for learning how to compete well - making sure to wait for the set waves!!!! The comps have really pushed my riding forward and I'm proud to be part of the growing popularity in girls' wavesailing.
What equipment have you used on the UK tour this year?
My sails are Hot Sail Maui Firelights, which are super lightweight and manoeuvrable but also powerful, I absolutely love them!!!! The Chinook kids boom I use has also been amazing because of its super skinny diameter, which really helps the problems I have with arm cramps and its incredibly lightweight too. During 2012 I had a pair of secondhand twin fin boards (81L and 68L), which I recently swapped for a 62l single fin for my trip to Cape Town because it was the smallest production board I could get. Ive realised how much difference the fin makes changing to a 17.5" Black Project MiniEpic fin and plan to spend more time testing out different set ups with the Black Project fins. I also hope to get another bigger board for UK summer conditions.
How and where have you trained for the series this year?
I don't "train" - I sail whenever I can because I love it!!! I taught myself to waveride by watching and copying the guys with a sneaky head start from my kite wave riding. In Cornwall the wind can be pretty light but there is usually the option to find a down the line riding spot. Sailing in these conditions has been key to learning to wave ride so quickly, giving me the skills of selecting waves, timing and making the most of each wave …add a bit of wind and it just gets easier! I started and finished 2012 in Cape Town, which has become an annual pilgrimage for me and I was also lucky to spend a few weeks of August in Sidi Kaouki, Morocco where we scored a couple of super wave days. Nowhere beats my home spots in Cornwall though where I rarely miss a session!!!
I don't have any plans for 2013 other than to keep enjoying being on the water as much as possible, riding the waves and avoiding jumping!!!! I'd like to say big thanks here for all the time and work that goes into the events, all the guys and gals I have so much fun sailing with and to Hot Sails Maui's Chris Freeman who has supported and encouraged me so much the last three years - you're all awesome!!!!
It looks like the 2013 women's tour will be hotly contested, we will of course have all the news and coverage from all BWA events right here on Boards.
website content © International Windsurfing Association, design by AWNet Limited © Christopher Gibson