INSPIRATIONAL YOUNG WINDSURFER REACHING FOR THE STARS!
In our series of interviews with the parents of the next generation of up and coming windsurfing talent, we talk to Kerry Knight, proud mum of Finnley Knight, aged 11. Finnley took to windsurfing like a duck to water, he is following in his parents footsteps and has a natural talent for the sport, soaking up every drop of advice that is given to him and setting his sights on big goals for the future, we have no doubt he will achieve great things with his devotion for windsurfing and with the unconditional support of his parents and the OTC.
Kerry said: “When we take family holidays, top of the priority list is a destination that is windy. Finnley’s Dad has been a windsurfer since he was child and he always said that Finnley should get into the sport. We took a holiday to Fuerteventura when Finnley was five, and this is the first time he stepped onto a windsurf board. Finnley also spent hours playing on beaches watching his Dad windsurf and would always nag us to let him have a go. When he turned eight, he took some 1:1 instruction from the team at the OTC. From the first session on the water it was a sure thing that this was Finnley’s sport. He needed no encouragement and very quickly joined the OTC T15 club.
“As a parent of a young child, it is natural to worry about putting them out on the water, with a bit of wind and some kit that they are unfamiliar with. Don’t let this be a barrier; you are safe in the knowledge that the team at the OTC will take care of you child every step of the way."
“In the very beginning it was essential for Finnley to have those first few goes on a 1:1 basis with a qualified instructor from the OTC. Finnley is a strong swimmer so I have no concerns in that respect. His first lesson took place with him being tied with a rope to the instructors board, this gave him confidence knowing that he wouldn't drift off too far. Once he had mastered the tack and gybe he was quite keen to be let loose and practice his newfound skills under the watchful eye of his instructor.
“As a parent of a young child, it is natural to worry about putting them out on the water, with a bit of wind and some kit that they are unfamiliar with. Don’t let this be a barrier; you are safe in the knowledge that the team at the OTC will take care of you child every step of the way. All children must wear a buoyancy aid when windsurfing, when they fall off the board (which happens often) they will pop straight back up. Hopefully with a smile on their face.
“We are lucky that Finnley took to windsurfing literally like a duck to water. He needs no encouragement to get down to the water and sail. You could say that Finnley is a windsurfing addict and whenever the conditions are right he is gone with his Dad and a van full of kit. Windsurfing has challenged Finnley at various points throughout the learning process, he spends time talking to the OTC team about how to improve on his skills, and he respects their advice and enjoys spending time in their company. Finnley thoroughly enjoys all aspects of the sport from the freedom on the water, the social scene and the physical strength that he has gained over the last few years.
“Finnley gets pure enjoyment out of windsurfing, he loves every minute of every session. He loves speed and testing out new equipment. He has gained physical strength over the past few years and takes a keen interest in healthy living. This summer Finnley has learned to Windfoil, this has tested him mentally as well as physically and provided him with the next challenge.
"Windsurfing has challenged Finnley at various points throughout the learning process, he spends time talking to the OTC team about how to improve on his skills, and he respects their advice and enjoys spending time in their company."
“Finnley loves the social side of the sport and can be often spotted hanging out with his best friend Finn who is also a T15 member. The boys started learning to windsurf at a similar time and they both love windsurfing together then having a good old chat about the session afterwards over a cup of hot chocolate. Overall Finnleys passion for the sport has strengthened as the years have gone by. I can't wait to see where it will take him in the future.
“The hobby is not expensive at all, there is an initial 1:1 session, the yearly membership to the OTC is £20 and each session after this is only £5. Wetsuits, buoyancy aids and equipment are all provided.
“Finnley and his best friend Finn, have a grand plan to buy a campervan and join the PWA world tour when they are older. Finnley is very keen to continue progressing on the foil and would like to represent the UK in the Olympics in 2028 in Los Angeles, he’ll have to take some time out of the PWA tour and his campervan that year to fit it all in!
“Having interests out of school is very important, Windsurfing has helped Finnley with confidence, communication skills and physical strength. He has also been able to use his passion for the sport in some of his literacy work within school.
"Finnley gets pure enjoyment out of windsurfing, he loves every minute of every session. He loves speed and testing out new equipment. He has gained physical strength over the past few years and takes a keen interest in healthy living."
“Finnley has taken part in two UKWA master blaster competitions both at Weymouth, last year he took first place and his proudest moment (and mine) was him stepping on the podium to be presented with his medal and prize from his Ross Williams. He also took a few gold’s in T15 events hosted by the OTC.
“My proudest moment was probably the 1st in the Master Blaster competition. Finnley has so far always raced against kids who are quite a bit older than him and with more experience. He works so hard in these events and his true determination and competitiveness have never let him down so far.
“As a family we are all regulars at the OTC, Chris (Finnley’s Dad) has windsurfed since he was a little boy. We lived overseas for many years and had the opportunity to windsurf in warm waters. When we moved to Weymouth in 2008 I hung up my harness for a while, as the water was too chilly. In June last year I invested in a warm wetsuit and got back on a board. I've thoroughly enjoyed being back on the water again although I am nowhere as good as the boys and can never keep up with them.
“As Finnley’s parents there have been so many proud moments. From the first session tied by a rope to an instructor, to his first jump on a wave board, his first gold in a T15 event and his 1st place win at Master Blaster. The most recent proud moment has been his determination to windfoil; he’s cracked that and is now working out how he can go faster and save his pocket money, as he would like to own a foil of his own one-day.
"Windsurfing has helped Finnley with confidence, communication skills and physical strength."
“I’ve stood around the slip ways in storms, torrential rain and blazing sunshine. It’s never a chore to watch Finnley progress in the sport. As long as you are dressed for all weathers and have a cup of tea close by you will be fine. During T15 sessions the kids are supervised by the OTC team, it's parental choice if you stay to watch. As Finnley has gotten older he is happy to be left and to sail with his friends.”
If Finnley’s story has inspired you to start your windsurfing journey, why not book yourself or your child on our Two Hour Windsurf Taster that costs £59.00. Contact the centre to find out more by calling these numbers 01305 230296 or 07817 717904. Alternatively, you can book online https://otc-watersports.com/book/