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James Faley: A Year in the Life!

This year has been incredible for the windsurfing phenomenon that is James Faley, aged only 19 and currently studying Yacht and Powercraft Design at university it has been a truly inspirational journey to watch James achieve so much. Each year he just gets better and better. The world is his oyster and he made his debut at the PWA this year! Life hasn't been plain sailing for James, but that has made him the man he is, positive, determined, humble, ambitious and courageous. We raise a glass to your success James and can't wait to cheer you on as you keep sailing your best life!

By Emma Nicholson.

I started off by asking James, what has been the standout highlight for him this year? James said: "2022 for me has been an incredible year. This year I have not only managed to become UKWA Vice National Champion, but have also attended my first PWA event where I placed 24th, which I am really pleased about being a first-time youth. For me being on the same start line with all the top dogs in the amazing sunshine and great winds in Croatia must be the highlight."

"My inspiration is my dad. I do what I do for myself obviously, but I love to make him proud."

James has an incredible training ethic; how does he get himself ready for competitions?

He said: "It’s no secret that I do a LOT of hours both on and off the water however, I never do this because I feel like I must, I do it because I love it. Throughout the year I will focus on different aspects of my training often relating to what I have coming up the soonest. Off the water, winter is often all about building muscle mass and the spring is all about putting the hours in on the bike to get that cardio up. On the water the goals change, with the sport we do it's very hard to just focus on one thing, therefore, I pick the skill that I want to work on depending on the type of conditions I have on the day."

When James started windsurfing, did he ever think he would achieve what he has achieved? James said: "No, you cannot simply predict what you will achieve when you first start. All I knew when I started windsurfing was that I love it and I always want to do it. It’s all about fun, if you find yourself taking it too seriously then you’re doing something wrong."

Where is James's favourite place to windsurf? James said: "That’s a tricky one… I am so lucky to have been able to travel quite a lot to compete. Whilst I love the incredible and consistent conditions that we get in the harbour my ultimate place must be El Medano in Tenerife because I love the tricky conditions there and all the amazing top sailors that train there in the winter."

"When I started windsurfing I loved it and I always want to do it."

What motivates James? He said: "The passion. I love the sport and I want to be a role model as much as I can for the up-and-comers of the sport. Looking at the talent around I have little doubt they will be miles ahead of me in a couple of years!"

What or Who Inspires James, he said: "My inspiration is my dad. I do what I do for myself obviously, but I love to make him proud. I know that he wanted me to follow my dreams and be happy. Well, I’m chasing them!"

"Going to university is my biggest challenge to date."

What does James do to unwind? He said: "Unwinding for me is probably what I struggle to do the most however I have recently got into winging, however, a sit on the sofa with a good film never goes a miss!"

What advice would he give to young people who have big dreams like him to become a part of the top of the UK Windsurfing scene? He said: "Having fun is the fastest way to improve. Try not to focus on results. Windsurfing is all about fun and if you’re having the most time and fun on the water then the results will naturally come."

When he hits a bump in the road, how does James find the strength to carry on and face the next challenge? He said: "Nothing is ever just easy. No matter what it is we do it is always going to be challenging. For me, it’s often important to look back and analyse why something has been hard and learn from that. I often reflect on what I’ve achieved and use that to motivate myself to get back in the gym and train even harder."

What goes through James's mind as he approaches the starting line of a competition? He said: "I am known for being super friendly and approachable on the land, but when it comes to race time, I have laser focus. I block out all distractions and just focus on the race."

"Windsurfing is my therapy. It’s taken me through both the darkest and best times of my life."

How does James balance the pressures of being a Team Rider for The OTC and university? He said: "Going to university is my biggest challenge to date. As always, I’m pushing my body to the max but also now my cognitive ability. I am so dedicated to my training that I’m in the gym most days and usually average about 3 water sessions a week. I’m committed to doing both entities proud."

How does he feel about being a role model? He said: "I’m not sure I’d call myself a role model, but I would like to think I’m able to share the stoke with as many up-and-comers as possible."

"Nothing is ever just easy. No matter what it is we do it is always going to be challenging."

What are the benefits to the mental health of being on the water? He said: "For me, windsurfing is my therapy. It’s taken me through both the darkest and best times of my life. It is total escapism where you are totally at one with the elements and for anyone that hasn’t tried it, I can tell you it is a very humbling feeling. It allows me to compartmentalise and put all my thoughts into perspective."

James is passionate about supporting young people entering the sport, I asked James it must feel good to use his achievements to better the lives of those young people? He said: "I just want other young people to get the same joy out of windsurfing as me. I recognise that some people can be apprehensive about getting into it for a multitude of reasons, but I ask you to challenge your fears as it is truly life-changing."

What does 2023 hold for James? He said: "2023 is another year full of opportunity. My intention is to do as many PWA events as possible and am hoping to carry on my success from 2022. Also hope to get on the water as much as possible and have fun with all my old and new friends on the water."

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