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The OTC Team Rider Lilia Yelland; My 2023!

This year The Official Test Centre Team Rider Lilia Yelland found herself sailing into new waters, it was unchartered territory as she had to find the balance point between her studies and windsurfing. 2023 has been full of discoveries for Lilia as she continues to navigate the national and international race circuit. Lilia has achieved podium success and really is a shining light as she strives to always be her best version and stands out with her superior skills and tremendous talent, what a year it has been for The OTC Team Rider Lilia Yelland; My 2023!

By Emma Nicholson.

Lilia carries her windsurfing kit
The OTC Team Rider, Lilia Yelland

What has been your highlight this year?

Lilia said: "Got to say race four in Alacati was my highlight! As I was ill on that day I was super tired and stressed about the day of racing ahead, contemplating whether it’s a good idea to race or whether it would do more bad than good. After a phone call to my mum I thought 'screw it, might as-well give it a go'. And that’s exactly what I did! Wind has filled in to about 22kts I tuned into my 7.8 as that’s all I rigged, and sent it. Start was bliss, gybes were bliss, it was just a super good race! The best part was that I managed to score a second in the race and I was over the moon! And so were my parents back home, who were watching the live stream."

Formula windsurfing
Lilia has the right formula

What have you learnt this year?

Lilia said: "This year was my first full year on the UKWA slalom circuit with a big range of wind, so I’d be lying if I said it was easy. It was pretty intimidating I can’t lie especially in Christchurch. Trying to tame my board in the chop, and to maintain control throughout gybes was interesting to say the least. But what I have learnt throughout this year was to just go for it! By being timid it meant doors were left open at the marks and I would just miss out on good positions. So at Stokes I put it together and left the event very happy with my results."

Collecting a prize
LIlia at Weymouth Speed Week

What’s been your best memory?

Lilia said: "I must say, my best memory is the internationals as a whole, despite the unfortunate lack of wind for two out of the three, it was so good to be back with my friends and catching up!"

Lilia smiling
Lilia in her happy place

What has been a difficult part of the year?

Lilia said: "Balancing my education alongside watersports is definitely up there. As I’m now in my final year of A-levels I have had to 'slow' down within my windsurfing. During this year, when I’ve been off to compete/train internationally it has meant I have missed out on a fair amount of work. And when racing my mind is fully scheduled for the racing day, from what time I wake up, what time I eat breakfast and what time I need to be rigged, and then what time I will be asleep. There is no time for schoolwork as my mind is just so occupied and oriented towards my racing! But despite this difficultly I am all caught up (somehow) and achieving the grades I want! Although this balance has been difficult I would not do anything differently, no regrets, as this experience has been so thrilling!"

UKWA prizegiving
Standing proud at the UKWA

What’s the best advice you were given this year?

Lilia said: "'Ask for help!' Is one that I constantly get told by a fair few people to say the least. Whether it’s trouble with your kit, technique or just with yourself and your mindset, asking for help never hurts anybody."

Standing next to a union jack
Lilia represents GB at an international event

Where has been your favourite place to windsurf this year?

Lilia said: "Definitely Alacati is my number one place to go, everyone is super friendly and helpful there and the sailing spot is just soooo good! Cant wait to return there next year for the IFCA Europeans and the PWA youth and junior World Cup!!! Hopefully even a cheeky holiday beforehand."

Carrying her sail
Sail away

What are you most proud of this year?

Lilia said: "Definitely Weymouth Speed Week, this year I have been training so hard to go fast and I was capped at 27 knots which was super frustrating for me and others who I was sailing with!! So to be able to get a 29.3kts over a 500m was sooo good. I was so shocked when they announced it at the prize giving, still over the moon about it, and I can’t wait to do the whole week next year as I’ll be finished with A-levels!!! So proud of myself and it really shows that when you put your mind to something you can surprise yourself."

sitting on a rigging mat
Rigged up and ready

What will you do more of next year?

Lilia said: "Hopefully I’ll be able to do more sailing abroad next year as I would have finished school, and would be so nice to try new waters and gain new experiences throughout my travels within windsurfing."

windsurfing one handed
sign of the shaka

What are your hopes for next year?

Lilia said: "Next year I hope to be participating in more of the internationals especially when I finish school, might dip my toes in a PWA event. I also hope to do well in the UKWA slalom circuit as I was super close with the lads this year."

Why not start your windsurfing adventure with us here at The Official Test Centre? Book a taster by calling 07817 717904 or go online and sail into 2024 with a new hobby!

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