Scott Norman: A Year in the Life!
Tacking and gybing up the ranks is a windsurfing schoolboy wonder! OTC Team Rider, Scott Norman is a Weymouth success story, benefiting from the support of The Will Mackaness Trust and Wey Valley School. If you haven't heard his name before it is only a matter of time before you do! Aged only 15, the sublime success of this year has reflected his dogged determination and heroic hard-work, he has been rewarded with the National Title for the Light-Wind Foil (Amateur Fleet) and came fourth overall in the Amateur Fin Fleet. An incredibly proud slalom sailor he has the water of Portland Harbour running through his veins. Scott is one to watch as he keeps pushing, striving, digging deep to fulfil his ambitions!
By Emma Nicholson.
I asked Scott what has been the stand out highlight for him this year? Scott said: "Winning the National title for the light wind foil (amateur fleet) and coming fourth overall in the amateur fin fleet that has been the highlight, as I focus on slalom as my main discipline, it’s so nice to get a result at the end to have something to show for all the work put in that isn’t seen. it’s been tricky to decide some days as foiling has become more important but I have managed to keep an even balance between both foil and fin, trying to push my limits on each and every session I have!"
"A bad day at the beach is better than a good day doing nothing."
I went on to ask Scott how does he get ready for competitions? He said: "Getting in the right mindset for competitions I find is a big challenge which I struggled to get over at first, but now as I have progressed I am now more relaxed on race day and even when the flags go up and I have the wrong sail rigged or the wrong board on the beach I know I have time to get ready, focus, and get on the start line."
Chatting with Scott I asked him, when he started windsurfing, did he ever think he would achieve what he has? Scott said: "When I started windsurfing I always wanted to be a slalom sailor, but as I began to progress I felt like it was going to be impossible, but now I am a slalom sailor, it’s so cool to look back and see how much I have progressed since then!"
"There’s always such a great vibe at the OTC."
"I’m a Portland Harbour sailor through and through, not only does it provide bliss conditions in summer and winter, but also every slight change in wind direction gives you new conditions to overcome and learn to sail in, meaning not only is it a perfect place to learn, but also to progress and develop your skills. There’s always such a great vibe at the OTC there's always someone to chat to or sail with which makes it a real community."
"Motivation is a key part to success in my mind, as when you’re having a bad day and you don’t feel like having a session, I always tell myself it will be worth it and remember the goals that I’m aiming to achieve and the hard work it requires, and if I feel like I had a session where I wasn’t sailing my best, I remember that a bad day at the beach is better than a good day doing nothing.
"Having some of the best slalom sailors in the country surrounding me as I develop has been a big help as it gives me something to aspire to, and it also gives me the ability to ask questions if I’m unsure of something or need help to optimise my kit or technique."
"I think having inspiration is very important to get people into a discipline, as when I was a new keen windsurfer, I’d see some of the top sailors training and pushing their limits, and watching them come in and tune their kit a cm at a time and then go straight back out and go 3kts faster, that for me really inspired me to start slalom as the smallest changes can make the biggest differences, and having that challenge to not only optimise your kit but what you do with your kit really appealed to me."
"Don’t give up. It’s that simple, no matter how far you feel you have to go."
"After a busy session on the water or a competition, as I’m sat in the van afterwards driving home I always think about the main highlights of the day, what made them good and also the bits that need work and how I can make them better, so then next session I know what I need to do to push my level further. This allows me to maximise every session and push to the limits. My family are very active so when I’m not on the water I’m normally mountain biking, climbing or walking my dog."
What advice would Scott give to young people who have big dreams like him to become a part of the top of the Windsurfing scene? Scott said: "Don’t give up. It’s that simple, no matter how far you feel you have to go, as long as you're willing to put in the work and hours you’ll get there eventually, so when you have a bad session just think of the bigger picture and that you have learnt from it!"
"I take the best opportunities that the course throws at me."
When Scott hits a bump in the road, how does he find the strength to carry on and face the next challenge? He said: "Whenever I hit an obstacle the best thing I find is just to get out on the water and it just gives me a couple of hours to focus on something else that can take my mind off it, and when it comes to the time I need to face it, I will have a clear mind and will be ready to move forward and learn from it to try and prevent it from happening again."
"I’m a Portland Harbour sailor through and through, it provide bliss conditions in summer and winter."
I asked Scott what goes through his mind as he approaches the starting line of a competition? He said: "When it comes to racing, not many conscious thoughts happen as my watch ticks below the 1 minute mark, as at that time I’m 100% focused on hitting that line as close to 0 as I can, and then going flat out for 3-4 minutes straight making sure I take the best opportunities that the course throws at me."
"With the support of my teammates it makes it easier to train and compete with minimal stress, as all I need to do is my best, and it’s just how good my best is that is down to me, so just keeping in the right mentality is what it comes down to for me."
"I don’t see myself as a role model and I don’t think I ever will, but if someone else is inspired by me that’s amazing. I’d always be happy to help out the next generation of little shredders getting into this epic sport and if they need tips or help, I’d always make sure that I’m someone they felt comfortable to ask.
"I find the water provides so many benefits to mental health, it can provide a break from the stresses of normal life, I find it makes me forget about the other aspects of my life, such as school, and just lets me focus on me and my kit against the elements."
"The smallest changes can make the biggest differences."
I asked Scott about his passion to encourage other youngsters into the sport? He said: "I think having all levels of participation in a sport is essential as it then provides a cycle of fresh faces into the sport, especially with a sport like windsurfing where there’s many different disciplines that need new people in. There are so many demands and pressures on young people and doing any sport whether it's windsurfing or tennis is so important."
"I’d always be happy to help out the next generation of little shredders."
And finally! What does 2023 hold for Scott? He said: "My goal for 2023 is to win the amateur national title for fin as well as foil, just to make sure I’m ready for the next step, and after that the plan is the pro fleet as long as all goes to plan. Just need to keep pushing my limits and not stopping until I get there!"