Mexome eyes world prize

SUFFOLK-based windsurfer Andrew Mexome says he has a great chance of winning the windsurfing raceboard world championships in September.Andrew, 34, competes in the event taking place in Largs in Scotland confident he can continue his remarkable run of form that has seen him remain undefeated all year.

SUFFOLK-based windsurfer Andrew Mexome says he has a great chance of winning the windsurfing raceboard world championships in September.

Andrew, 34, competes in the event taking place in Largs in Scotland confident he can continue his remarkable run of form that has seen him remain undefeated all year.

Andrew said: "I'm confident of getting into the top three and I have a sneaky feeling everything is happening at just the right time and I think I am going as fast I have ever done."

Windsurfing has played a large part in Andrew's life and he has been windsurfing for 21 years (competing for 15 of them) after being taught by his father.

"I had spent five or six years teaching windsurfing abroad and when I returned I got back into it for fun really, but for the last three years it has become more competitive. There are eight venues where you race on the national circuit and last year I was finishing in third or fourth place. This year has been different and out of six events I have won each one and qualified for the world championships, but I didn't start the year thinking I could qualify for it.

"You don't know who will turn up as there could be some hot shot from Australia or somewhere competing but I am confident enough in my own ability. Nationally I have done well but there hasn't been anyone to really push me and internationally it is different. "

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Andrew wants to move into training youngsters to windsurf and he said: "I would like to put something back into windsurfing and I have been approached to help with coaching the national junior fleet."

He said: "I have been training every day, I run twice a week and go to the gym a couple of times a week but experience is one of the most important things. It can be difficult training as if there is only a light wind then it uses a different set of muscles compared to strong winds but the only way to really practise is to be out on the water. Windsurfing is a very physically demanding event and I took part in a competition at Brighton over the weekend and it wasn't until Wednesday before I had fully recovered. I prefer it when it blows as hard as he can, the rougher and windier the better."

Andrew is competing in the unlimited fleet which means there is no restriction on the size of the sails and he is having a sail custom made from Australia in case the conditions aren't as windy as he would like. This sail will be 12 square metres large (they are normally six square metres) and having the right sail for the correct conditions is a crucial part of the tactics involved in the sport.

Andrew would like windsurfing to become more popular in this area as the future of the sport depends on the youngsters coming through.

"I am still competing against the same people that I was three years ago," said Andrew. "In East Anglia Felixstowe used to be a mecca with over 100 board sailors but that figure has died a bit. When learning to windsurf there is a very steep learning curve and if you came at the beginning maybe you would fall in 50 times and get soaking wet. People enjoy windsurfing in warm weather but the water is rougher and colder in England and you think it is not as good as you thought it was. But the best part of windsurfing is the freedom it allows you and it is one of the only events where you can go at 20 to 30 knots with you against the elements."

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