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 Aug 2015

Training at Siblyback

Video of myself training and having fun with my brother and sister at Siblyback lake during June-July…….enjoy!

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19 Jun 2015

2015 Ergo Hestia Raceboard World Championships

I was really looking forward to the Raceboard worlds this year. Last year I was not able to compete in either the Worlds or Europeans due to work/university commitments so instead I committed to doing the full UK tour for the first time. Fortunately, the worlds this year didn’t clash with any other commitments.

Unfortunately, it started 4 days after my final exam, which came at the end of a really busy final year at university, particularly late March-late June was pretty full with writing my masters thesis and studying for my final exams. The result was driving off to Poland with virtually no training! Luckily I had managed to find time to enter the Round Hayling Island Race, and the first UKWA event of the season, which was good preparation. I just had to stay calm, not put too much pressure on myself, and enjoy the event in the knowledge that my technique and kit was well ready after 2 seasons of getting faster and more tuned up. To be honest, I would have been disappointed with anything outside the top 10, and set the same ultimate goal as I did for the 2013 worlds: a top 5 finish.

Worlds 1

On the startline at my last worlds in 2013 (photo by Martin Hales)

I walked out of my final exam, and after a brief celebration for completing my degree, got straight on with packing. I was to drive to Sopot, Poland with Lewis Barnes and Chris Willetts the next morning. I received a text from Chris saying that he’d injured his leg and couldn’t really walk on it, uh oh! That meant I’d have to drive all of the 1200 miles (1900 km) myself, as Lewis doesn’t have a driving license. I just had to get on with it I guess.

We weren’t in a rush, camping near Gent and Berlin on the way, and with a huge stack of CD’s and Lewis’s ability to talk for a few hours at a time, the miles ticked away and we finally arrived at my friend Jan’s house in Gdansk on Sunday evening. It was really nice to be able to stay at his house by the forest at the edge of the city, and 20 minutes from the sailing club: close enough to be easy to get to every morning, but nice to escape the sailing club every day and relax away from the racing area.

Worlds 2

Camping near Berlin en route to Gdansk

Monday was registration day, and me and Lewis got out for a bit of training. It was and onshore breeze, 6-9 knots and fairly choppy, really useful training, as we did quite a lot of racing in these kind of conditions, and I hadn’t sailed my raceboard for a while, especially in light wind conditions.

Worlds 3

Starboard Phantoms registered and ready to go.

There was a healthy entry, with 70 men (unfortunately a little lower than the 103 competitors in 2014), and 11 women. 6 from Argentina, 2 Australians, 11 Czechs, 1 from Denmark, 7 from Finland, 3 from France, 2 from the UK, 17 Germans, 5 Latvians, 20 from Poland, 1 from Portugal, 1 Swiss, 4 Slovakians. As is usual for an international event, most competitors registered a light wind 9.5 and a strong wind 9.5, I registered, as usual, my Tushingham XR Race 9.5, and Lightning 8.5. I use the XR Race in all wind conditions, and with the forecast looking pretty terrible, I didn’t see myself needing the 8.5!

The first day of racing looked like it would have the best wind of the week, with a 10 knot forecast (yes the rest of the week really did look that bad!). By the end of the day the wind had built nicely, and we got 3 races in, two of them planing. I started my event with a conservative start in the middle of the line, and finished 11th, quickly realising that playing it too safe wouldn’t be enough if I was going to challenge for the top. With everyone going so fast, and a relatively clean and consistent wind strength and direction, getting a good start was really vital to get in front and stay in front. I put this right in the second race, and pushed for the pin end. I had decent speed and finished a solid 4th. Nothing really went wrong in the last race, but I just felt tired and unable to get the speed that I wanted upwind, but finished 8th.

Max Wojcik and Piotr Nowacki, showed that they were the ones to beat in the event, getting 3 firsts and 3 seconds respectively. Fabian Grundmann of Germany was also really fast in the planing conditions, as was Juha Blinnikka of Finland.

I ended the first day in 9th, but the top 10 were really tightly packed with just a few points separating us, so it was a good start to the regatta, I just had to keep getting consistent top 10 and top 5 results.

Reaching to the finish (Robert Hajduk, shuttersail.com)

Worlds 4

Reaching to the finish (Robert Hajduk, shuttersail.com)

The wind was more or less the same direction for the second day, but lighter, mainly non-planing conditions of 6-10 knots. I initially struggled to get a good angle upwind, but changed my setup a little, and then felt really competitive both upwind, and downwind, where keeping the board surfing down the swell/chop was really important. After a bad first beat, I was fighting my way back up the fleet in race 4, but finished a great 5th place. In race 5, it was the opposite, I started the second beat in a good position, but played it too safe up the middle of the course, and lost some places because of that. Without much in the way of gusts and shifts, you really had to have good speed and commit to one side in clean air without loosing distance by tacking too much. I got a perfect start, great speed, and good tactics in race 6, and finished an awesome 2nd, I was really happy with that.

Max stayed dominant at the front, and Piotr was still comfortable in 2nd, but the rest of the top 10 had a little shuffle as Fabian and Juha, who were flying on day 1, struggled a little in the light wind. Meanwhile, Daniel Blinnikka, myself, and Jan Maszkiewicz had a solid day, ranked 3rd, 4th, and 5th respectively at the end of the day, with just two points separating the three of us!

Worlds 5

Tight mark rounding (Robert Hajduk, shuttersail.com)

Day 3 looked a little different, with flat water and a cross-offshore westerly breeze, which lead to two races in almost unbelievably gusty (5-14 knots in the same race!) and shifty conditions. This made it really tough: tactically because you had to manage risk and try and stay on the right side of the shifts and in stay in the gusts as much as possible, and physically because you had to pump like crazy downwind in the lulls, and hang on to a lot of power upwind in the gusts. I was glad that my sail is so versatile and tunable, and I was adjusting my downhaul and outhaul continuously during the race (even sailing upwind with the outhaul rope in my hand).

It was hard to be consistent, but Daniel and Fabian were super solid in these conditions with two 6ths, and a 2nd and 4th respectively. Piotr wasn’t so in tune and finished outside the top 10 in both races. I was consistent enough, felt quite fast but found it really hard to get the gusts and shifts right. There were times when I’d look in an awesome position, but the round the windward mark around 10th, then jump up to the top 5 again, only to go down the last downwind stuck in no wind whilst a group of windsurfers were flying down the course in a gust by the shore.

Lewis was loving the conditions, I think it reminded him of lake sailing in the midlands! He was challenging for the top 10, and even the top 5 at times, and just lacked a little downwind speed compared to the top guys, but got awesome 13th and 9th, which was a great help after not finding his form in the choppier opening days.

We were sent in for lunch, and a nice 12 knot sea breeze appeared from the east. The race officer decided to run a long distance race. However, by the time we got to the start line and had a general recall, the wind was more like 9 knots, and by the time we finished it was about 4. I arrived to the windward mark in a good position, just behind Daniel. Max flew downwind, and Jan and Piotr also overtook us both, I arrived to the leeward mark in 4th, just ahead of Daniel. The last upwind leg back to the start line was very light and tricky, but I managed to round the final mark in 2nd, with Piotr and Jan breathing down my neck. I couldn’t really find a comfortable or fast way of reaching in these conditions, and lost my place to Piotr and Jan just meters from the finish line! 4th is still good, but 2nd would have been better!

I ended the day in 5th, tied with Daniel, and one point off Jan in 3rd. It seemed like there was very little between us, so the pressure was on for the final two days.

 Worlds 6

Shifty conditions made for a super tight reach to the finish. (Robert Hajduk, shuttersail.com)

The forecast for day 4 looked really bad, maybe peaking at about 6 knots if we were lucky! Luckily, we were extra lucky and race 10 got underway in a clean 11-13 knot sea breeze. I didn’t have a great start, struggled to get a good angle and speed upwind, and couldn’t make up for it downwind, so finished 10th, Daniel had a great race, and finished 2nd, Jan didn’t finish the race, I think something broke.

The sea breeze started to get very patchy indeed, with some big shifts as well. It was really difficult to see any pattern in where the holes were, but I got good starts and managed to stay in the gusts well and got two 6th places. Jan and Daniel did pretty badly, which lead to Daniel ending the day in 3rd just one point ahead of me, and Jan now out of podium contention.

Worlds 7

In the mix off the start (Robert Hajduk, shuttersail.com)

The top two places were well out of reach, so I was ready for a battle for 3rd on the final day between myself and Daniel. However, it wasn’t that simple, as if we did badly, 3rd place could be snatched away by former world champion Patrick Pollack, who had been chipping away at the points, with a series of consistent top 10 results just held back by a couple of not so good discards, and Portugal’s Pedro Corte Moura who was really flying upwind in all conditions.

We waited for 2 hours for the wind to pick up to 6 knots, then had two races in really light conditions, right on the limit of what was race-able. The fleet pushed the start very hard, and we had a general recall with a black flagged second start. My start was quite good and I was in a good position, with Daniel buried in the fleet. He tacked off to the right hand side of the course, but I didn’t see and continued to the left. Daniel rounded in a good position, and I had a lot of work to do. I worked hard, and had a good second beat, then just managed to overtake Pedro at the finish line, finishing one place behind Daniel.

This meant that to take 3rd place overall, I would have to beat Daniel by at least two places in the final race, and ideally in the top 10. I started near to him and had a great start, then tacked with him, sailed to the layline and rounded with windward mark with several sailors between us. I again covered him up the second beat, but lost some places at the leeward mark. I almost managed to overtake Petr Kucera on the final downwind, but it wasn’t enough, and all I could do was rely on somebody finishing between me and Daniel. He was really pushing hard downwind and reeling in some places. In the end he finished just ahead of Patrick, only one place behind me, handing him 3rd place, one point ahead of myself in 4th.

Worlds 8

Ready for the start (Robert Hajduk, shuttersail.com)

I’m happy with how I sailed, I didn’t make too many mistakes, managed to be fairly consistent, and was fighting really close for the podium right until the last seconds of the championship. We managed 14 races, which was pretty impressive given the forecast, and I felt quite fast most of the time in the wind between 4 and 15 knots that we had during the competition. I knew before entering that it could be a tough battle between myself and Daniel; he finished 3rd in 2012, I finished 3rd in 2013. It was an enjoyable and testing event, and I feel really motivated and ready for the rest of the national events this summer. I was not planning on heading to the Europeans in Cadiz this September, but now I’m a bit tempted, we’ll see. Anyway, the 2016 worlds are in Brisbane, Australia. I’m not sure I can make it to that, but I’m fully up for the 2016 Europeans in Brest, France, and I’ll train hard and push for the podium.

I should also say that my training and travel buddy Lewis found another gear and posted some more great top 20 results, even in his least favoured light, choppy conditions to finish in 21st, an awesome result for the 17 year-old in a senior fleet of his first international competition.

Congratulations to Max, Piotr and Daniel for their awesome performance in the championship. Thanks to the race officer Ewa Jodlowska, and all of the on and off water crews who made the event happen. And of course, Robert Hajduk for taking all the incredible photos.

Worlds 9

Mens top 3: Max Wojcik, Piotr Nowacki, Daniel Blinnikka. (Robert Hajduk, shuttersail.com)

Worlds 10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Team Tweets

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RT @JoWright592: Picked up all my new kit for the year on Saturday! Thankyou for the continued 8 years of support @TushinghamSails http://t…
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Jo Wright picking up her new kit at the weekend! http://t.co/9HTXLa5AX6
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Great second day with the Techno Class Association at Queen Mary Sailing Club, everything from 70 litre wave... http://t.co/L6ASfeg1z4
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All seasons in one day at Queen Mary Reservoir today. Big storms but still plenty of water time, round 2 tomorrow.
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The Neilson Holidays clinic are filling up fast, great to see so many returners but also some new faces.... http://t.co/QpY2MXhlr4
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Tushingham Key Players

Roger Tushingham
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Dave Hackford
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Ken Black
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Paul Simmons
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Luke Green
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Sam Ross
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Peter Hart
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Tushingham Team

Rachael Ince
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Sara Kellett
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Luke Smith
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NEW CLINICS, HOLIDAYS & ADVENTURES 2014!
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NEW CLINICS, HOLIDAYS & ADVENTURES 2014!

SIMON BORNHOFT MAURITIUS 2013
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SIMON BORNHOFT MAURITIUS 2013

Louis Morris
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Jo Wright
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Tristan Haskins
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Sam Sills
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Jamie Drummond
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Alan Jackson
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Rob Kent
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