Tiree Wave Classic 2018
The Tiree Wave Classic is the longest running professional windsurfing event in the world. It was founded in 1985 to the present, showcasing the best of the UK’s windsurfing talents from across a number of fleets. It ranges from the Juniors to the World Cup Professional Windsurfers.
The event has been hosted since 2015 by Wild Diamond Watersports, a company based on Tiree who have been involved in the competition since its conception.
This years competition was off to a slow start due to a delay brought on by the weather disruptions with Cal Mac following storm Callum. While a majority of the competitors arrived on the island on the Saturday evening boat, An Talla was transformed into the event headquarters for the week of the competition.
Both the Elephant’s End pop up café and the Windswept Brewing Co. pop up bar returned this year in An Talla, while the Gertrude’s Grub food van and the Windswept Brewing.Co van followed the action outdoors to provide both competitors and spectators with refreshments at the competition sites.
The main hall featured several local run stalls with merchandise, including Tiree Chocolate, Wild Diamond and Hebri Boards. The event HQ at An Talla has been opened up for both the competition spectators and island locals to enjoy.
This years competition brought in the highest number of competitors on record with a total fleet of 86 including Masters, Pros, Amateurs, Womens’ and Youths’ resulting in a 21% growth on last years event which had 71 entrants. Participants have travelled from around the globe, including Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales, the Chanel Islands, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Spain and Australia, to take part in Tiree’s based competition, bringing business and activity to the island, before the wind down to the quieter Winter season.
“This is such a fantastic place – first time on Tiree and lovely weather with great waves and great wind… it’s going to be superb! I can’t wait to come back already!” Tim Lawes, Masters Fleet.
“Amazing vibe, it’s wicked there are so many competitors!” Adam Lewis, Pro fleet winner for Tiree Wave Classic 2017 (Ranked 5th in the World)
Sunday 14th saw An Talla filled to the brim with the competitors for the morning briefing. Breakfasts flew from the cafe’s doors as the sun greeted Tiree with blue skies and light, variable winds which were unsuitable for the competition.
Monday 15th had the Pros at Gott Bay supporting the Future Pro’s youth fleet, which had 19 competitors taking part including three local children. The Future Pro’s initiative established at the Tiree Wave Classic some 15 years ago, is now a national initiative at all the British Wavesailing Association events in the UK. Training camps nationally include tuition from Wild Diamond as well as support and advice from the pros. Participants will have some of their first experiences in the waves while others will receive training for competition.
Tuesday 16th presented the competition with idyllic weather for wind surfers! Contest activities started at the crack of dawn to make the most of Tiree’s wind and waves.
Wednesday 17th further competition was attempted in warmer, sunnier conditions without success while competitors revelled in Crossapol’s picture perfect waves which were great for surfing and paddle boarding. The occassional puff of wind just tantalized competitors.
Competitors representing Tiree included Stewart Cowling and Gavin Dunlop in the Amateur Fleet, Mike Archer in the Pro Fleet and Charlotte Vale, Eddie Maclean and Magnus Robinson in the Youth Fleet.
Other events from the Wave Classic included ‘Meet the Pros’ night, a movie night, a curry night at Ceabhar and the closing prize giving ceremony followed by live music with some fantastic local musicians. The event media outputs include:
? A 28 minute movie covering the 2018 competition for Sky Sports and cable networks.
? Numerous magazine articles, newspaper articles.
? Numerous radio and TV interviews.
All of this assisting Tiree’s visibility worldwide. Event sponsors included:
Argyll & Bute Council, Calmac Ferries, Red Bull, Event Scotland, Windswept Brewing, Scottish Salmon Company, Tiree Community Development Trust, Argyll Estates, Gordon Castle Gin and more! The event will end a day early this year on Thursday 18th due to a lack of Cal Mac capacity with the growth in the Event. Tiree seems to get a bit busier every year and it would appear that the success of the Event, and its growth run hand in hand with Tiree’s popularity as a visitor destination.