I rolled up to Barrow after charging across the country straight after work on the Thursday evening, there didn't seem to be a great deal of wind on the jurney over, but when I drove into Barrow, it was blowing a full on hoolie. A couple of people were out on sevens, the wind was blowing 35 knots plus, and the seas were huge, but after a week of work I was well up for a session before getting some food in.
The wind on Friday was a little calmer than the previous evening, but most of the pro's were opting for 7m kites. They were a judge short for the Pro competition, and was asked if I could do it, which I was happy to oblig. It was a real eye opener for how it works behind the scenes and the difficulties the judges face when watching 3 people simultaneously whilst noting down moves at the same time.
The Pro competition ran very smoothly, the wind was great and all the heats and finals were over in a couple of hours, leaving loads of time on the water with all the competitors and crew.
Saturday soon came around, after sinking a few beers the previous evening. As the wind was fairly strong they opted to put the seniors in first, and I was drawn in the first heat against Dave Williams and Kevin Matthey. I opted for a 9, but the others played safe and went for 7's. I had a decent heat and landed a decent amount of my core tricks, yet failed to get any handlepass out of the bag. The other guys were struggling with the conditions somewhat, and I was put straight through to the final. Pete Whiteley won the other Heat and Marcus Hawkins won the Playoff, which set the final up nicely.
The wind was fairly consistent 9m weather now, and all of us opted to use our 9's for the final. I opened up with a few good moves, but crashed out on a couple also, Marcus seemed to be struggling with the conditions a little, but Whiteley was showing how it was done with great consistency. I failed to land my switch shifty to wrapped and also an s-bend, but when our time was over we weren't sure who'd taken it.
In the evening event we were informed that Whiteley had taken it with me second and Marcus taking third spot. Richard Gowers 'entertained' us all with a rendition of Barbie Girl on the Karaoke, but nobody was asking for an encore :)
After a loong night out in Barrow Town, we awoke the next day to yet more wind. It took a while for the tide to go out, but an expression session was run, to provide a show and clear our heads! It was manic with all of us riding so closely together, boosting high and generally messing around, but also amazing fun. It must have been a great spectacle for anyone watching from the beach.
Shortly afterwards we all packed up followed by the award ceremony, then made our way home with memories of a truely incredible event.