Mum is a Champ!

Probably Janine Guest - by the way one of our most loyal readers ("I check the magazine every day") - is just a better role model for a windgirls' dedication to her beloved sport than any world champion, any pro, could ever be. As a mother of two the North Wales (UK) local had come out of her way and learned to loop. And finally even won her first competition ever. For windgirls.com magazine Janine tells her story.

A few years ago I got stuck in a rut with my windsurfing. I could sail competently in all the conditions presented by my local beach, Rhosneigr in North Wales, UK, but I wanted to do so much more. Then, Ben Proffitt (K800) turned up, followed by other talented professional sailors & suddenly I was surrounded by people, inches from me, doing forward loops & hitting the waves with power & aggression. I was inspired! About that time, Chris & I started our family - I had two baby boys, 14 months apart. Although I kept sailing as long as I could whilst pregnant, naturally I had to miss quite a few months of sailing. I watched Chris starting to do nice forward loops himself. I decided that’s what I wanted to do too.

Leon & Sam in Portugal 2007

Once our first son Leon was 3 weeks old, I could go sailing again. How amazing it was just to be on the sea! I loved it more than ever, & the freedom of being out windsurfing again turned into a determination to get a lot better. Every time it was windy, Chris & I took it in turns to go out for an hour and a half. Instead of sailing round and round, we started to pack more moves into our sailing.

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Janine table-top

Around that time, Ruth Elliot (K696) started sailing at Rhosneigr. Ruth was really going for it, and I watched her enviously starting to do forward loops! I wanted to do that, but didn’t know how to start. Ruth didn’t hold back & that put me under pressure to give it a go. At the same time, ‘loop fever’ hit the windsurfing population of the UK! - Peter Hart was offering to take a group of ‘hopefuls’ out to Fuerteventura to learn to loop for his new video, & he asked me to go along! Wow! What an opportunity.

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Team Loop 2004 (photo: Peter Hart)

The day before the loop class started, the wind was great & there were good-sized ramps, but the next day and the ones that followed, it got really hot & there were few chances to sail and no waves. (I didn’t like the idea of trying on flat water). Watching the others throwing themselves about, I made a few lame attempts. But I’d started at last!

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Janine & Ruth looping

Back at home, in big waves, I started to do some wild loop attempts. Peter Hart said we had 6 months to get one on camera for his ‘learn to loop’ film, and I suddenly broke through the fear barrier. It took me & the others quite some time to learn forward loops - but the DVD of our journey to success is due out any day soon!

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radical frontloop

At my local break there are now quite a few women windsurfers, including top UK sailor, Louise Emery (K306). Louise has done a lot to encourage British girls to get into competition, and she and Ruth have been competing successfully for several years. Its great to be able to freesail with them and the other girls, to get a little friendly competition going, & to swap tips. This year I was really keen to enter a competition. Lucky for me the conditions at the UK Wave event in Rhosneigr in May were pretty much perfect for me - port tack, fun-sized waves, 4.7m weather (for me at 50 kilos!). The three of us - me, Ruth and Louise had 3 ten-minute heats. They told me how the heats worked, to stay up-wind, and to do moves right in front of the judges. We set off on our first heat. I’d never sailed that intensely before - going for stuff when the set-up didn’t feel right because there were only a few minutes to impress! I was quite tense & gripped the boom too hard, & fell off a few times. Ruth struggled in the light winds. Louise stylishly rode the best waves & won the heat. In the second heat, I relaxed a bit, picked up a set wave and got some decent angles off the top. This was fun!

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I won the heat, so the final heat was between me & Louise. The wind dropped a little & I found it hard to get any height in the jumps. Ruth meanwhile had found a gust and was sailing impressively. She won the heat. It took me sometime to sail back upwind at the end. I was exhausted! Then the amazing result - I’d won! It had been a great sail with my friends, and to have won the competition as well was fantastic!

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Janine & Louise with Ben hiding!

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text: Janine Guest, photos: private, Peter Hart  windgirls 2007