Gordon Squibb: Kind Soul!
Anyone that has the pleasure of knowing Gordon, will know he is one of the most genuine, kind windsurfers you will meet. He will always help you in anyway he can, relatable and always has the time to listen. The dedicated family man, still chasing that elusive planing carve gybe finds his happy place with the kindred spirits he finds within the windsurfing community! If Carlsberg made windsurfers you don't need to look any further than Gordon. One of the nicest windsurfers in our community, a kind soul!
By Emma Nicholson.
I started off by asking Gordon, What is your job title?
Gordon said: "At 55 years young, I've had numerous jobs. I joined the Royal Navy at sixteen, spent almost twenty years working in the criminal Justice system and more recently joined the Environment Agency and after 18 months training, I am now a qualified Environment Officer."
"The ability to get out in the water and simply forget about all the baggage that comes with work is very therapeutic."
Can you talk me through your windsurfing journey, from the beginning, right up to today?
Gordon said: "I first stepped onto a windsurfing board back in 1982 when i was 15 years old. It was a classic 'Windsurfer' a massive chunk of plastic that belonged to a friend’s dad. We tried to sail it in small waves at the Pier bandstand in Weymouth but failed miserably, as the wedge style deck plate kept on popping off the board. I tried again mid 1990's, I bought a Mistral Escape and dabbled again for a short while. Work and family commitments meant that I had very little spare time.
"My 'break' came when two of my children, Maisie and Josh completed a Start windsurfing course with Tris at The OTC just after he relocated to the UK, it must have been 2009’ish. The course was organised through the Will Mackaness Trust whilst they were at the Wey Valley school. I met Tris and we struck up a friendship and I’ve spent the last fourteen years talking the talk but not necessarily walking the walk. My windsurfing ability is mediocre to say the least, but I love the craic."
What is one of your best memories, watersports related?
Gordon said: "My daughter Maisie. Learnt to windsurf with Tris at The OTC. She then started to help in the centre, eventually becoming an instructor. Maisie ended up doing a few seasons, working for Club Vass in Greece. My youngest son, Jaiden and I were lucky enough to travel to Club Vass and we had the best time. Maisie arranged it so that she had the ‘Young Guns’ group for the week that we were there, and it was fantastic to see the speed of Jaiden’s windsurfing progression, blasting around the bay with all the other kids, it was an amazing time. Maisie and Jaiden have always been close and I think that they both relished that time together, definitely peas in a pod."
"My windsurfing ability is mediocre to say the least, but I love the craic."
What watersports do you enjoy the most and why?
Gordon said: "I've only ever dabbled in watersports and am a classic jack of all trades and master of none. I love windsurfing and surfing on my stand-up paddle board equally as much. More recently I have been trying my hand at wing foiling, though that is a work in progress. I do not have a competitive bone in my body and just love being out on the water with no pressure to perform.
"I spent almost twenty years working in the criminal justice system, much of which was in quite negative environments and the ability to get out in the water and simply forget about all the baggage that comes with that line of work is very therapeutic."
What do you think the benefits are to people’s mental health by taking part in watersportsactivities?
Gordon said: "It’s well known that taking part in sports can be of great benefit to people’s mental health, exercise promotes the release of endorphins that reduce stress and pain, giving a sense of wellbeing.
"I believe that this is enhanced again by being out in the great outdoors, particularly when you are surrounded by like minded people. The social aspect of the sport is just as important, taking the time to chat about the sport and life in general."
Alongside working, how do you find time to fit in windsurfing?
Gordon said: "I was quite fortunate that for several years I worked part-time, and this enabled me to do other things outside of the day job. There is a popular misconception that I spent all of my time windsurfing. That could not be further from the truth, I did spend a lot of time over at the OTC, but I’d be found doing everything, apart from windsurfing. I had a great time helping Tris out, literally building the centre. I like a chat and a catch up as much as the next person. My kids windsurfed too, so I spent a lot of time being a caddy Daddy."
"The social aspect of the sport is just as important, taking the time to chat about the sport and life in general."
What is your favourite spot to windsurf in the UK?
Gordon said: "It’s a tie between Portland Harbour and Overcombe in Weymouth. I started off just sailing in the harbour. It’s consistent winds and flat water make it an ideal playground. I love the feeling of being able to blast across the harbour on a long run ( I hate the corners!!) There’s also the safety aspect of the harbour, if something goes wrong then there is generally someone around who can offer help.
"Overcombe is my local beach and if the conditions are right, I feel confident enough to go out and play in the waves. There is something about being out in open water, an extra buzz that I do not get in the harbour."
"My kids windsurfed too, so I spent a lot of time being a caddy Daddy."
What has been the toughest thing to learn with your windsurfing?
Gordon said: "Do you really need to ask, it’s that holy grail of windsurfing. The planing carve gybe, in my case its generally known as the carve splash. I am not a technical person, I’ve had instruction, watched a plethora of videos on You Tube, but it still eludes me. It is not for want of trying, I even managed to break the big toe on my right foot in six places after a full on attempt, bloody footstraps."
What is your favourite brand of windsurfing kit and what is your favourite set of gear?
Gordon said: "I've had the chance to try virtually every brand that that has been available in the UK for the last twenty years or so but have always leaned towards Tabou boards and more recently Ezzy sails. At one point I had two slalom boards with a quiver of freeride sails, plus a dedicated wave board and a quiver of wave sails but could not justify the expense, so downsized my quiver to a Tabou 3s Plus 116, a board that does it all for me and a few Ezzy sails, a couple of Zeta’s and a couple of Cheetah’s."
"I love the feeling of being able to blast across the harbour on a long run."
What is your biggest achievement with your windsurfing?
Gordon said: "I’d like to think that it’s the small part that I’ve played, being involved in Tris’s and the OTC’s journey since the business moved from Tenerife to the U.K. To see The OTC and now Surf Doctor grow into a leading player in the windsurfing /watersports industry is amazing and a testament to Tris and the teams (past and present) hard work and commitment."
Why do you think The OTC and Surf Doctor is so successful, as a brand and a place of business?
Gordon said: "If Carlsberg did windsurf centre’s? It’s genuinely that simple. The passion and knowledge that Tris and the team have for not just windsurfing, but all wind water sports is phenomenal. The amount of experience in all thing water sports that they have is unsurpassed. Being able to ‘test drive’ pretty well all the main windsurf brands in one of the U.K’s premier watersports locations is a win win for all enthusiasts.
If money was no object what watersports kit would you buy?
Gordon said: "That’s a tough one, but at my age I think I’d stay with my tried and tested kit."
"The amount of experience in all thing water sports that they have is unsurpassed."
Who inspires you?
Gordon said: "It’s not something that I really think about, but I would probably say those young guns that I’ve known since they were young kids, my daughter Maisie, Sam Anstey, Scott Stallman, James Faley just to name a few. I’ve loved following their journey and development, not just in windsurfing but as individuals. They are just such well rounded human beings who love what they do. Their attitude and commitment to all that they do is just such a positive thing."
"If Carlsberg did windsurf centre’s? It’s genuinely that simple. The passion and knowledge that Tris and the team have for not just windsurfing, but all wind water sports is phenomenal."
What is the biggest lesson you have learnt throughout your windsurfing journey, so far?
Gordon said: "Coaching, do not try to do everything on your own. Good quality coaching can save you months of frustration and heartache. You cannot put a price on having an experienced instructor work through a move with you. Practice, Practice, Practice there’s no surprise that the best guy’s on the water are the ones that put the hours inweek in week out in all conditions."
Do you take part in watersports as a family?
Gordon said: "Yes, we do, all four of my children learnt to windsurf through The OTC supported through the Will Mackeness Trust. My two eldest, Maisie and Josh have worked for Tris and qualified as windsurfing instructors."
Where is your favourite spot to windsurf abroad?
Gordon said: "Easy one really as I’ve only ever windsurfed abroad in Greece, Turkey and the Cook Islands. The Cook Islands take it as I was on Honeymoon with my wife Keri.
It was just so surreal, windsurfing in a tropical lagoon, with crystal clear water, on twenty year old kit. Fantastic memories."
What is the best advice you have been given for your windsurfing?
Gordon said: "Take up tennis."
What is your biggest motivator?
Gordon said: "The need to get out of the office or away from domesticity and put the world to rights with friends."
"Being able to ‘test drive’ pretty well all the main windsurf brands in one of the U.K’s premier watersports locations is a win win for all enthusiasts."
The future for your watersports what does that hold for you?
Gordon said: "Much more of the same, I’ve had a great time over the last twelve years or so being involved with the guys at the OTC. I’ve met met some great people and made some amazing friends. I just need to kick myself up the backside and get out on the water more."
Jump on board, with us! Get yourself some coaching with us here at The Official Test Centre, by calling 07817 717904. Looking for advice on kit? Call Surf Doctor 07944 254561 and speak to our team and sail away happy!