Tag Archives: surfing

Second Meeting, Still No Decision On Beach Hut

beach hut

Councillors have met for the second time to discuss the retrospective planning application of the Beach hut located in Balevullin and have yet to come to a decision regarding the future of the hut.

You will remember that back in November, Argyll & Bute Councillors and planning representatives held a public meeting on Tiree to discuss the issue, with no decision being made. Following on from the meeting in November, the result was to complete an Area Capacity Evaluation (ACDE) which would hopefully give a more detailed evaluation of the structure and site where it is situated. The result from the most recent meeting, held in Lochgilphead, was that Blackhouse Watersports, the client, should be given more time to study the ACDE report and the decision was put off till the next Planning Protective Service and Licensing Committee.

At the November meeting we learnt that the retrospective planning application for the second hut, located on Gott Bay had been removed and Blackhouse Watersports had agreed to remove the structure, which has since been done.

A harrowing escape

I was clearing out my old emails and I’m embarrassed to admit I have overlooked this
editor’s letter.
I thought you may like to read about the reader’s frightening experience and relief to
have been rescued by local men.

I would be pleased if you could send out a heartfelt thank you to two amazing people, Adam Milne from Beachcomber and Suds from the surf school.

Saturday 9th August 2014, my boys aged 16 and 10, wanted to go wave jumping in Balevullin beach, the waves looked great and the water crystal clear. We picked a spot in the middle of the beach and jumped in and over the waves, within a few minutes I noticed that we had drifted a great deal to the left of the beach and were heading rapidly towards the rocks. My husband on the shore, called for us to swim back up the beach. I took hold of my youngest and propelled him sideward and my husband swam out and helped both boys ashore.

Unfortunately, I was not managing to make any progress and was just swimming with all my energy and getting nowhere. My husband raised the alarm on his way to shore with the boys and Adam Milne tried to rescue me but very soon we were both stuck and being pulled towards the rocks. I was also panicking by this point and my head kept plunging underwater. My husband swam back out to us both with a boogie board and we gratefully grabbed it and all 3 started swimming for shore.

Meanwhile, Suds headed out toward us on a surf board grabbed me on board and headed across the water and out on a wave. I came in to hugs from my boys and my dog. Suds explained that the place I had been pulled to was one of 2 rip currents that appear on the beach at high tide.

I have grown up next to the coast and lived near the sea all my life but was unaware of how to react in a rip current. Rip currents can move up to 8 feet per second, faster than any person can swim! They are caused by a break in the sand bank. I was unaware how to get myself out and was becoming panicked and exhausted. I would be pleased if you could tell my story to raise awareness of how to react in a rip current, and send my thanks to two people who came to help me and saved me from going under.

Thank you! – Allison Leslie

For those that are interested in learning more, here are a couple of links that explain rip currents and how to escape them:



From Russia With Love For Wind, Sea and Sand

Russian surfersTwo young Russian women have been telling how they flew from their home city of Moscow to take lessons in surfing on Tiree.

The women. both in their early thirties, have been staying in the Millhouse Hostel while receiving instruction from the staff of surfing firm Wild Diamond. Anastasia Poganova and Alevtina Balushkina, left for home yesterday after spending two weeks on Tiree, but they vowed they would be back.

Said Alevtina who speaks excellent English: ”Apart from the beauty of the island the main attraction is the people who are so friendly and welcoming. ‘We both have had a wonderful time here and we plan to come back soon on our holidays again. Apart from learning to surf on different beautiful beaches we did a lot of walking. It is so safe to walk here and so pleasant to meet the local residents.”We went to the Church of Scotland and met Elspeth the lady minister and everyone was so friendly. We attended a wedding in the church and we had dinner in someone’s home after being invited. ”

Anastasia, an accountant with a big firm in Moscow, who surfed in Portugal last year, said, ”I felt that I needed more lessons to upgrade my standard and taking lessons here was ideal. Although the water in Portugal is warm compared to Tiree we were supplied with wet suits and that kept us snug and warm. We both have had a wonderful time.”

Alevtina, whose father worked in Russia’s oil industry before retiring to a cottage in the country outside Moscow, lived with her family in Siberia from the age of six until she left age 16 to go to university in England. She is now manager of a large firm based in Moscow. She said “People keep telling me about the long hard winters here on Tiree – but in Siberia winter lasts for nine months – and has sub zero temperatures”

Story and image by Ian Sharp

A Profile Of Tiree’s Kitesurfing Champion

Helen_kitesurfIt was with great pleasure that I heard it was our own local resident Helen Thompson who was the BKSA Womens Champion 2013. My kite surfing friends had spoken highly of her and were impressed by her use of a strapless board and her apparent natural affinity with the ocean.

Helen winning the championship was a source of pride to us all. Aged 27 years, Helen IS originally from Killearn near Glasgow, but has lived on Tiree for 11 years. Visiting Tiree with her family in 1993, Helen learnt with a friend to windsurf on Loch Bhasapol – the place to go on Tiree if interested in this increasingly popular sport. Going on to learn surfing and kite buggying, Helen eventually had her first kite surfing experience in 2003 and that is where her interest has stayed.

Although Helen has not competed for four years, she is no stranger to competition and winning. She was British Amateur Champion in 2006, British Overall Kite surfing champion in 2008, British Wave Masters Champion in 2009 as well as South African National Cable Wakeboard Champion in 2009.

Helen a cheerful, friendly lass, started her own Tiree kite surfing academy in 2010 and gets a real buzz teaching a wide range of age groups, a skill that makes being in the water much more fun. Catching up with Helen at Crossapol beach after the weekend celebrations I asked her what the competition had been like for her.

“Well the weather conditions were amazing. Absolutely fantastic. We completed the competition a day early with three full rounds of all categories. We had cross off from two different tacks over the week and decent 20+knots. Tiree really lived up to its reputation as a world class venue. Elsewhere you can wait for days for the right weather conditions to occur. My favourite kiting beach is Crossapol; off shore, cross shore, its brilliant with waves in all directions, and although I have travelled extensively I would probably say that Tiree is my favourite place to kite surf as I haven’t been anywhere in the world that offers as many options in different conditions.

I had the best week I have ever had on Tiree and as I haven’t competed for 4 years it was great to see all the familiar faces again and I realised I really love competing. The camaraderie is great and we all get on. Of course we take the competition seriously as we all want to win, but even during the competition we are always chatting, exchanging thoughts on kit selection and analysing the weather conditions. Usually it’s the conditions you have to battle against not the competitor in your heat. You just have to go out and do your absolute best.”

As Helen and I sat on Crossapol beach drinking our hot chocolate I asked her what winning meant for her and if anyone inspired her. “Winning is a great feeling, it’s the clarification that my hard work training has paid off. I’ve been out on the strapless board in all conditions this year; on flat days, on massive days trying to dial in my feet and it has paid off. And as for inspiration, well other successful kite surfers inspire me, at the moment my Slingshot team mate Patrick Rebstock is a great inspiration.” As I prepare to leave Helen checking out the waves and the wind direction, I suddenly remember what advice would I want if I was contemplating taking up kite surfing. Helen smiles. “Well I would say to you the same as I tell my students; training, practice, keeping fit and trying to avoid injury, and fun, it’s fantastic fun and not just for the young.”

Thanking our new British Kite surfing champion for her time, I depart thinking of Alastair Mathieson (The Green). A keen kite surfer now in his early 70’s, Alastair is living proof that adrenalin sports aren’t just for the young and you’re never too old to have fun and keep fit at the same time.


A.J Sutherland

Windsurfers will descend on Tiree for 25th Anniversary of Tiree Wave Classic.

Tiree Wave Classic

The Tiree Wave Classic is the most prestigious and longest standing windsurfing event in the British calender, this year celebrating its 25th Anniversary and looking back over the event’s history.

The event will play host to Britain’s best riders in Pro, Amateur, Masters and Women’s fleets with a fantastic prize fund guaranteeing the top Pro £1000 and as well as many other top prizes, a newly launched Pura Vida Custom Quad to the amateur judged to deserve it most!

It will be an unmissable, adrenaline fuelled week of competition and entertainment set against the breathtaking backdrop of Tiree’s spectacular scenery. Who will pull the Scottish Broadsword from the sand?

Andy Groom who’s back on the event team and was the founder of this Wave Classic way back in 1986 said “ It will be great to have guests like Farrel O’shea, Nik Baker and Duncan Coombes among other past legends there this year. To see such a great event and the standard of sailing that we’ve hit over 25 years has been amazing, I can’t wait to enjoy this milestone”

Simmer rider Ben Proffit, the 2010 BWA Champion, said: “I absolutely love taking part in this event – for me it’s one of the highlights of the year and can deliver any conditions. The championship could be anyone’s at the moment and I’m super keen to win here and have another shot at the title”

Organisers Pura Vida Boardriders are honoured to be involved with the Tiree Wave Classic and promise to deliver an outstanding event for this special 25th year. Jim Brooks-Dowsett, Event organiser said: “Tiree is one of those stunning locations you really have to visit at least once, and the waves can be awesome! Since the competition was founded by Andy Groom 25 years ago it’s always been the one to watch and read about in the magazines, and with the return of a few past legends this year will be a week to remember, stoked to be involved!”

Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer at EventScotland, the national events agency said: “ We are delighted to be supporting the Tiree Wave Classic for the eighth year as it celebrates its 25th anniversary. It is great to see the increasing attraction of Tiree as a water sports’ destination as it has certainly proven over the years to be a perfect stage for this event.”

The Tiree Wave Classic will take place from 8th – 15th October 2011, more info can be found at www.tireewaveclassic.co.uk, all enquiries: [email protected]

Tiree Wave Classic Confirmed


After months of uncertainty it has now been confirmed that the Tiree Wave Classic (TWC)will be held from 9th to 15th October.

Now in its 24th year,competitors from all over will compete in some of the most difficult conditions in the UK in order to win the “Tiree Wave Classic” title.

Entrants will also be hoping to pick up points to improve their chances of winning the BWAUK Wave Championship.

The TWC is open to professionals and amateurs, and the event on Tiree is as well known for its on shore entertainment -especially the prize giving dance -and its friendliness, as for the sport.

More details will be revealed in future editions of the newsletter.

Tiree Wave Classic and Coll Challenge


In endurance sports, they say that if you’re not living on the edge then you’re taking up too much room. The annual invasion of the tiny Hebridean island of Tiree by windsurfers from all over the world (including many top-ranking professionals) brings with it some of the most focussed, single-minded athletes you could ever wish to meet. But even though these surfers (or should it be sailors?) come to compete against each other they do it in a spirit of camaraderie and community.

They also like a bit of fun, which is as well because after the first day of the Tiree Wave Classic, sanctioned as a World Cup event since 2007, the Isle of Tiree decided not to live up to its reputation as one of the windiest places in the country.

For most of the week the little island, 14 miles long, 6 miles wide, was well and truly becalmed. Nice if you live here. Nice if you’ve come on holiday with the family. Not so nice if you’ve travelled, say, thousands of miles to get to the Tiree Wave Classic only to find there is not so much as a breeze and very little in the way of waves.

Timo Mullen (Ireland) effectively won the Wave Classic on day one of the competition. But these bare facts don’t paint the whole picture. The Tiree Wave Classic is so much more than a competition. Many ancillary events play an important part in making this 23-year-old competition a hit with islanders and competitors alike. For instance, the Tiree Team 15 Junior Racing Event, held at Loch Bhasapol, was a great success. 17 rounds of racing were completed with the junior racers prior to finally announcing the winners of the event. William Angus MacLean, of Wild Diamond Windsurfing, said ‘Overall the day turned out to be a great success, even with the light winds that we had over the course of the day. This is an event which we hope to grow for next year to involve more young windsurfers in racing and give them the opportunity to interact with the top stars in the sport.’

The highly anticipated Coll Adventure Challenge had to be ‘tweaked’ in view of the lack of wind. However the brave souls who took part were enthusiastic and the large crowd of spectators did their utmost to cheer them on. After a 6k run on the beach the competitors raced paddle boards in Gott Bay (instead of windsurfing to Coll). After the paddle board heats were over everyone piled into a Rigid Inflatable Boat to be ferried to Coll for the mountain bike stage. This was the second year in which this very special triathlon has featured at the Wave Classic and hopefully it is now a permanent feature. George Shilitto won the C.A.C. in spite of falling off his bike while going round the half-marathon course on Coll.

A host of peripheral events and activities ensured noone would be stuck for anything to do. This included a community drinks reception in which the public were extended a warm welcome to come along and find out more about the Tiree Wave Classic. In addition, the Tiree Lodge Hotel ensured there was something different on every night including two full to capacity gigs by local bands Trail West and The Defenders. And this is where the bit about ‘surfers liking fun’ comes in. There’s no doubt about it: if you want to be in the middle of a great party you had to be at The Tiree Lodge Hotel in the evening during the Classic! And whether you approve or not there’s no denying the fact that the photo-shoot at Gott Bay of three naked windsurfers certainly got the island into the news. There’s something about the combination of the words ‘nude’ and ‘windsurfer’ which causes internet search engines to go into overdrive. My own blog – Isle of Tiree Diary – had hundreds of hits within hours of my featuring a link to an internet report on the subject.

And so, the Tiree Wave Classic is over for another year. Undeterred by the unseasonably good weather here’s hoping these good natured, dedicated sailors – or is that surfers? – will come back next year. We’re looking forward to it already. And some wind to go with it, hopefully!

-Gordon Scott