Louis Morris

Race

2014 Raceboard National Champion and Inland Champion, 3rd at the 2013 World Championships using the XR Race. Off the race course, Louis can often be found chasing wind and waves around S. Wales and the westcountry with his Rocks.

"I started sailing at the weekly kids club at Siblyback lake when I was 8, but I found windsurfing too hard! When I was 10 I rediscovered windsurfing, and went sailing and windsurfing alternate weeks until I got planing - then I was hooked. I went to the occasional Team 15, but it took me a while to get really keen on competing.

My first UKWA event was on 4.5 in 2006, but I started UKWA racing properly on Techno 7.8 two years later, and got into the National Squad. I switched to RSX at the end of 2009, and although I didn't go for any squads, I really enjoyed it, and got 6th at the RYA Youth Nationals in 2011. I figured that I didn't have the time for an Olympic program, I just wanted to have fun racing, so I switched to Raceboard, knowing that there is always plenty of friendly competition. In 2012, I had my best year ever, and won 3 of the 4 UKWA events I entered. I'm currently a Chemistry student at the University of Bristol, and I'm the Student SWA racing champion.

Besides racing, my recent discovery is wavesailing, and love to get out in the Cornish waves at home whenever possible. I've worked as an instructor for a few years at Siblyback, where I first started, and I'm really keen to promote Raceboard windsurfing to up and coming young ex-Team 15 and Techno windsurfers, and everyone else! Future plans: compete internationally, win some UKWA, push my wavesailing, maybe try slalom in a couple of years if I have time".

Louis Morris

5 May 2015

Christchurch UKWA Raceboard 2015

Saturday saw winds of about 11-20 knots, with plenty of bumpy swell and chop to go with it. It had been a while since I sailed a raceboard in windyish, wavey conditions like this, but I’m glad of the sea …

Saturday saw winds of about 11-20 knots, with plenty of bumpy swell and chop to go with it. It had been a while since I sailed a raceboard in windyish, wavey conditions like this, but I’m glad of the sea training I did the last two summers at Polkerris and St Andrews. It actually wasn’t as windy as it looked, just really bumpy for the wind strength.

I didn’t time my start perfectly in the first race, which let Mark Kay and Tom Naylor lead up the first beat. However, I tacked off and found some good breeze out to sea, and rounded the windward mark just a few board lengths behind Mark. I caught up with Mark and took the lead for the second upwind, but couldn’t keep Mark behind me upwind for long, and settled for 2nd in that race.

I got a much better start in the second race, but Mark and Tom had the best upwind speed and were first to the windward mark. I passed Tom downwind, but then he passed me again upwind, before a poor layline let me pass. Then I hit a wave and fell in, but pumped hard downwind and all down the reach to take the race win by a couple of board-lengths ahead of Tom. Mark was disqualified from that race for crossing the start line too early.

The wind built considerably by the last race, I felt pretty quick in this race, having tweaked my technique a bit to keep the sail and board driving upwind whist still staying in control and letting the board sail freely over the waves, and this was enough to keep Tom at bay, but I couldn’t keep up with Mark’s blistering high wind speed.

Conditions on Sunday were less choppy, but very gusty with a sizable cross-swell. We managed one race in the morning before threatening fog gave us an early lunch. It was incredibly close between myself and Mark, coming down the top reach less than a board-length apart. I lead down the last downwind, but gybed a little too early and left the door open for Mark, handing him the race victory.

After a lunch break, visibility was good enough for another race, and this time it really was windy! Tom changed down to his 8.5, Rob stuck to his 9.4, and me and Mark wished we were on 8.5, but clung onto the same 9.5’s we always use! My start was ok, but not the best, and remarkably, with max downhaul and outhaul, mast track at the very front, and a slightly lower boom, I felt fairly comfortable, and stayed in touch with Mark Kay and Andy Gibson who lead upwind. After an exciting downwind and some decent gybes, I was within about 5 board-lengths of Mark. Whilst he continued in towards the shore, I tacked back out to sea, and took advantage of the stronger tide to take back the lead and managed to hold it all together down the reaches and downwind to win the race.

Final results: Mark deservedly won the event, just one point ahead of myself. Tom took 3rd place with an excellent and consistent performance, clearly ahead of the rest of the fleet. Rob Kent, like Tom, had opted for the easy handling and incredible upwind speed of the 9.4 Tushingham lightning, but these weren’t quite his conditions, and he finished the event 4th.

I was pretty pleased with the performance of my sail in the medium-strong wind; it was really flying downwind and I could go upwind with great speed and angle, and especially by the end of the weekend, I was keeping up with powerhouse Mark Kay, who weighs about 15kg heavier than me. I used a 46cm fin, which worked great with my Phantom 377: plenty powerful enough in the lighter conditions, but with a higher top speed and easier handling in the waves than my big fin would have given me. I was really happy with my board speed, which is definitely improved compared to say, two years ago, when I really struggled in stronger winds and waves. Now, I really love these conditions, and can’t wait for the next 20 knots race J.

Next event for me is the World Championships! Probably not going to be so windy in Poland, but you never know…

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22 Apr 2015

Spring 2015

It’s been a busy couple of months for me. But mainly a studying kind of busy rather than a windsurfing kind of busy. With the end of my degree on the horizon, I’ve had to sacrifice some on the water time, but that doesn’t mean I’ve not been windsurfing!

I almost forgot! I never wrote anything about the last SWA event I went to!

It was Pondlife in Nottingham = all the fun for everyone! We had decent medium wind on Saturday which was perfect for all the beginners and inters to brush up their skills, and for me to enjoy some fun blasting on the 7.8 Bolt. I can’t even remember what the sail feels like, that’s probably a good thing, it just let me forget about it and have fun!

Spring 1

Cruisin’ on the Bolt 7.8 twin cam freeriding machine.

With the wind building (although still pretty gusty), there was some fun slalom racing to be had. And I won, yay! :)

Spring 2

Cameron Coghill gatecrashed the racing on his RSX! Photo by David Eberlin

With just enough time and wind for a bit of freestyle on 5.2 and 86 Kode to end the day :).

Spring 3

Freeeeshtyle! Photo by David Eberlin

Sunday started mega windy and sunny. But in classic SWA style, it was early afternoon before the freestyle competition got underway, by which time, everyone was somewhat underpowered on their small sails rigged from earlier. It was hard, super gusty, and in a very confined space. Alex Mitchell deservedly took the win with a clean e-slider and kono, and amazingly, I took 2nd, with a forward, an almost-spock, and a vulcan.

Spring 4

Forwarding the 86 Kode and 4.2 Rock to 2nd place in the freestyle comp.

Then a few fun wave day trips: super fun logo high 4.7 Gwithian with all the (x)swa crew. Also a fun session in South wales, ending in a sore ankle after being a bit too optimistic on the size of wave required for a table-top. Full power Bigbury, the best I’ve had it, cross shore, up to head high.

Spring 5

I’m somewhere in the middle of that sunny Bigbury scene. Photo by Chris Mortimer.

Scored a rare easterly day at Pendower. Soooooo good, 3.7, decent waves, crashed backloops, a couple of long-ish wave rides, a crashed arial, and a good crowd of windsurfers out.

Spring 6

Loop at Pendower. There were bigger waves than that, honest! It’s just my mum couldn’t hold the camera straight for long it was so windy ;) Photo by Emma Dales

And then racing. Yes, racing. I trained a few times this winter, but to be honest, not as much as I should have done. I’m also feeling much less fit than last year, because I have been studying and only exercise has really been occasional wave sessions. The first event was the Round Hayling Island Race. I’ve always wanted to take part in the legendary event, but this was the first time I got round to it. With contradictory forecasts, fog, and of course all that tide, it was pretty interesting! I took off with a knackering non-planing downwinder to the bridge, leading ahead of Rob Kent. Then I got a bit of a wake up as Rob slowly reeled me in upwind. He and Alan Jackson overtook me by the ferry point, and whilst I got past Alan pretty quickly, Rob disappeared off into the distance as I struggled to keep my speed upwind along the seafront into a short chop in about 3-5 knots. Anyway, I got 2nd, which isn’t bad, it’s just I’ve either got slower, or Rob got faster upwind compared to last year!

Spring 7

Round Hayling Island.

So there we are. 

This weekend is the SWA/BUCS Nationals. Which is the last SWA event of the year, wind looks ok, although a teeny bit more would be nice. I’ll be competing in racing (slalom), and freestyle, and I have a chance to finish on the podium for both of those, and probably the overall prize as well. We’ll see how that goes. Then weekend after that is UKWA National Championship series event 1: the first course racing event of the year. Really looking forward to getting back into it. It’s also pretty important, because it is the only preparation event I have before the worlds in Poland, which happen the week after my exams in June. I’m not going to be nearly as prepared as I was two years ago, but I’ll just have to stay focussed and remember how to set my kit up!

Keep an eye out for my report from SWA nationals.

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18 Feb 2015

SWA 2014/2015 Wave Champion

I’m really happy to win the student wave series. It was a shame to not have conditions at the final event at Cardiff, but we had wind and waves at the first two events where I finished 1st and 4th, so can’t really complain too much.

The SWA has been a really good introduction not only to wave competition, but wavesailing in general. When I started attending these events as a fresher 3 years ago, I couldn’t bottom turn, but the friendly atmosphere of the events and high level of the top guys really motivated me to improve, and so my obsession with wavesailing happened!

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“Training” at Marazion. Photo by Mel Splashography​

I didn’t expect to win. In fact, I think it is the same in racing, sometimes my best results come from when I have no self expectation, then I’m more relaxed and can focus on just windsurfing!

The conditions at both events were pretty hard, for different reasons. At the first event at The Bluff, it was lighter than it looked on the inside, so I spent a lot of the competition underpowered, which wasn’t ideal, because it was almost bolt onshore with some big lumps of whitewater to get through. I felt lucky to get as far as the semis, but then found me feet, and landed some big jumps, table tops, and forwards with some back and frontside waverides. I knew I’d sailed quite well, but I had no idea if I’d won, it’s a bit different to what I’m used to for racing. In racing you can always see if you are winning or not, in a wave heat, usually I never see most of what my competitors do!

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In competition at Rhosneigr. Photo by Jim Brooks-Dowsett

At the second event at Rhosneigr, it was a little less onshore, but a similar wind strength, perfect for my 4.7 Rock. The thing I found hard at Rhossy was finding decent ramps and wave-rides from the relatively soft gentle waves there. I had a decent semi-final, but in the final I struggled to find a good second wave.

The level at the top of the fleet is really tight and pretty high, with all the top 4 at Rhossy getting consistent forward loops and fluid wave rides even in the tricky onshore conditions we had on the tour. Yet these events are also perfect for anyone new to wavesailing. As long as you can waterstart, you can give it a go, Tushingham and Starboard provided 4 sets of 2015 gear at the first event, so you might not even need your own wave kit.

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What could have been at the Cardiff SWA event if there had been wind and waves! Photo by Ben Bulson.​

I definitely want to compete more in the BWA amature fleet, I did Rhosneigr and Gwithian last year and they both a really good experience with great conditions. I’d definitely recommend any of the SWA wavesailors who are at a level where they can get out, do a jump and catch a wave to come along. Unfortunately, the Rhosneigr event this year clashes with the SWA/BUCS National championships, but I’ll definitely be at Gwithian, I’d love to get to Tiree as well, but I’ll have to see how that fits in with my uni work. A few things are for sure though! You will see me at all the SWA wave events next year, and at a few UKWA events and the Raceboard world championships this summer (yes I can still race, I think…).

At both events I used my trusty old 74 liter waveboard with 4.7 Tushingham Rock (except in one heat at The Bluff, where I used a 4.2), which is a combo that rocks in all conditions!

Thanks to the SWA and especially Jim Brooks-Dowsett from Puravida for running a great wave series, and also to Tushingham Sails for supporting my windsurfing. I can’t wait for my next session, it looks like the wind is returning soon, there must be time for windsurfing alongside writing my masters thesis surely!

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Team Tweets

TushinghamSailsTushingham Sails
@TushinghamSails:
RT @JoWright592: Picked up all my new kit for the year on Saturday! Thankyou for the continued 8 years of support @TushinghamSails http://t…
16 months ago
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@TushinghamSails:
RT @BOARDS_Magazine: Team15 is amazing, read about some awesome kids: http://t.co/KwUVXXd9vF @RYASW @polkerrisbeach @StarboardWind @Tushing
16 months ago
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@TushinghamSails:
Jo Wright picking up her new kit at the weekend! http://t.co/9HTXLa5AX6
16 months ago
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@samrosswindsurf:
Great second day with the Techno Class Association at Queen Mary Sailing Club, everything from 70 litre wave... http://t.co/L6ASfeg1z4
16 months ago
samrosswindsurfSam Ross
@samrosswindsurf:
RT @windsurfmag: Need a technique brush-up? Our Gurus’ comprehensive guides listed here might hold the magical key you’re looking for! http…
16 months ago
samrosswindsurfSam Ross
@samrosswindsurf:
All seasons in one day at Queen Mary Reservoir today. Big storms but still plenty of water time, round 2 tomorrow.
16 months ago
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@samrosswindsurf:
The Neilson Holidays clinic are filling up fast, great to see so many returners but also some new faces.... http://t.co/QpY2MXhlr4
16 months ago

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SIMON BORNHOFT MAURITIUS 2013
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