Watersports festival makes return splash

The National Watersports Festival at Hayling last year
The National Watersports Festival at Hayling last year
More than 20,000 people took part in the Great South Run

PICTURE GALLERY: The Great South Run

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IT’S ONLY days until thousands hit the coast for a weekend of spectacular action on the water.

The National Watersports Festival will return to Hayling Island for its 10th anniversary this weekend.

The three-day festival takes place from Friday until Sunday.

From small beginnings, the festival has gained momentum over the years and now attracts 500 competitors from around the world, watched by 10,000 spectators.

Organisers hope this year’s showcase will be the biggest yet – as they celebrate 10 years hosting on island.

This year’s event will focus on windsurfing, alongside one of the world’s fastest-growing sports, paddle boarding.

To mark the anniversary, organisers are putting on live music and new attractions including climbing walls and a Lynx helicopter.

And there will be taster sessions, food and drink stalls and other activities.

Events director Allan Cross said he has seen 
the event grow to one of the most renowned in the industry.

He said: ‘We’re absolutely thrilled to be bringing the event back to Hayling Island for a record 10th year.

‘Over the past decade we’ve welcomed some of the biggest names in the sports and we’ve helped to encourage thousands to enjoy, first-hand the sports of windsurfing, with many also rolling their sleeves up and getting out on the water themselves.’

Furthermore, residents in Havant can try out watersports for £10 to coincide with the festival.

Havant Borough Council is offering subsidised taster sessions for residents in the borough.

Participants will receive one hour of tuition from qualified instructors in windsurfing, stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking.

All equipment including wetsuits and buoyancy aids are included and participants must be aged over seven.

Councillor Leah Turner, cabinet lead for communities, said ‘The borough is proud to be supporting this event again, which is the biggest of its type in the country.

‘The discounted taster sessions are a fantastic opportunity for residents in the borough to experience watersports in a safe and capable environment.’

Visit nationalwatersportsfestival.com for more.