Hayling’s watersports event will make a splash

ON THE SEA  Hayling is to host a watersports festival
ON THE SEA Hayling is to host a watersports festival

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BUSINESSES are being urged to capitalise on the country’s biggest watersports festival.

Hayling Island has hosted the National Windsurfing Festival for the past eight years.

But it has become so popular that this year it will encompass so many different sports it will now be called the National Watersports Festival.

And organisers say there is nothing like it elsewhere in the UK.

Thousands will be heading to the island from August 30.

Councillor Andy Lenaghan, who represents Hayling on Havant Borough Council, said: ‘I’ve supported it from the word go.

‘It’s been a bit of a battle sometimes but it goes to show that it’s taken off now.

‘It’s a great event for Hayling and long may it continue.

‘It just gets bigger and bigger.

‘I would really encourage businesses to make the most of it.

‘Lots of people will be heading here and we need to show that we are well stocked up on everything and we are ready for business.’

This year’s festival will include kite surfing, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding (SUP).

It is unique in that anyone can take part in any of the competition – you do not have to be professional.

It is renowned for its atmosphere and sense of community with thousands staying in camper vans and pitching tents across the island.

Last year, over 7,000 spectators enjoyed watching hundreds of competitors, of all ages and abilities, taking to the water for the first time or joining in the fun races.

Highlights include free taster sessions from professional coaches in all of the featured sports and races for all levels of competitors, with hundreds of prizes.

There will be beach parties with live bands and a night-time event where professionals perform stunts under floodlight.

Peter Hart, former British and world champion windsurfer said of the event: ‘There was sun, camaraderie on a huge level, great performances, crazy dancing and a sea of smiling faces.’

It is based between Funlands and Inn on the Beach. Go to {http://www. nationalwatersportsfestival.com|nationalwatersportsfestival.com}.