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The OTC Team Rider Simon Winkley; My 2023!

As we reach the end of 2023, the new year symbolises a new chapter, a new verse, ultimately we write the next chapter, the choice is ours! Happy New Year and here's to writing a best seller, a page turner, cheers to all of you, may all your dreams come true!


In the last of this series of blogs, where I asked The OTC Team Riders how was 2023? The final word goes to Simon Winkley...


The Official Test Centre Team Rider Simon Winkley is a lifelong learner, a knowledge seeker. He has a strong desire to acquire skills, intellectually curious and always striving for excellence. Committed, effective and a memorable instructor keen to spread positivity and genuinely enjoys teaching and engaging with his tribe. This year The OTC Team Rider Simon Winkley; My 2023! A time for reflection and gratitude for all that has passed and what is yet to come!


By Emma Nicholson.

Simon windsurfing
Reach for the stars!

What has been your highlight this year?


Simon said: "So many – I will have to list more than one! It has been an amazing year of windsurfing and wind/wingfoiling with loads of coaching at The OTC including running RYA Intermediate and Advanced Instructor courses for Neilson. I qualified as a RYA Wingfoil Trainer, enjoyed trips to Rhodes, Cyprus, Lesvos and Fuerteventura and had a brilliant week after the Prasonisi clinic to work on my own wing skills, with 1:1 top coaching from local legend Julek Lewandowski."

Simon windsurfing
Simon in warmer climes!

What have you learnt this year?


Simon said: "In winging I got my gybes dialled and made solid progression in tacking. As a coach, every day is a school day and, with things like advanced carving manoeuvres, I still find that I am discovering tiny details and connections that I can pass on. The learning just continues…"

Simon windsurfing trick
Flying high!

What’s been your best memory?


Simon said: "For me it’s all about the stoke of people who are enjoying their time on the water and improving. It’s the look of satisfaction and relaxation in the eyes of the client when they know they had a great day – maybe they made a small gain or even a significant breakthrough. Many of my Weymouth regulars had a really solid year with big gains in their windsurfing. Those are good memories!"

Simon windsurfing
Aerial view!

What has been a difficult part of the year?


Simon said: "Being out on the water a lot, working away and running the wing school as well as RYA work, first aid training and a boat repair business - it’s sometimes a challenge to get all my admin, promotions and photo editing done on time. I don’t like to keep anyone waiting for things. So, over the winter, I am overhauling my website and adding a brilliant new online booking system (Sailia – the one used by The OTC) to get the deskwork done more quickly and efficiently."

Simon windsurfing
Living his best life!

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


Simon said: "‘Control the controllables’. As an RYA Advanced Windsurf Trainer I read widely about elements of performance on the water such as:

·      Communication in a performance coaching environment

·      Resilience, strength and stamina

·      Approaches to coping with fear and feeling confident afloat, especially when out of your comfort zone

·      Strategies for applying pressure and for coping with pressure

·      Dealing with (and achieving performance gains from) failure

·      Accepting change, fostering a growth mindset and taking positive actions

·      Debunking the myth of talent in favour of purposeful practice to nurture permanent improvement

·      Psychological motivation in working towards realistic goals

 

"Recently I also became interested in the teachings of Stoicism from Ancient Philosophy. Specifically, how we can ‘control the controllables’ and not worry about trying to control the uncontrollables. Epictetus was a Stoic philosopher. He reasoned that all external events are beyond our control so we should calmly and dispassionately accept whatever happens. Epictetus also believed that individuals are responsible for their own actions which they can examine and control through self-discipline.

 

"As an example, think about going windsurfing when it's cold, gusty and choppy - so less-than ideal. You can’t control the uncontrollables (the temperature, the wind and the sea state) yet you can control the controllables (wearing a good wetsuit, selecting the right kit, how positive you want to feel in that session and the adaptation of your technique to suit those conditions). We all have a finite amount of energy and focus. If we give too much of this energy and focus to stressing about the conditions being less-than-perfect (which we can’t do a single thing about) then we have less resources to put into our strategy and technique and our performance deteriorates as a result. Focusing on things we can control will truly improve our wellbeing and technique. This can apply to freeride, speed and competition as well as life in general."

Simon windsurfing
Having a blast!

Where has been your favourite place to windsurf this year?


Simon said: "Portland Harbour is always wonderful with the level of stoke through the roof and Queen Mary Sailing Club (QM) is my local spot which is an awesome training ground with a great community. I also have to mention Prasonisi in Rhodes – a true gem of a place to windsurf and wingfoil with flat water and wave conditions right there. My 2024 clinic dates for Pras are 21-28 September (windsurf) and 28 September – 5 October (wingfoil)."

 

What are you most proud of this year?


Simon said: "I own and run a wing school at QM and we have seen a really busy and successful year. Myself and the other instructors have helped hundreds of people get into the sport in 2023. Whilst I work very closely with QM, ‘Simon Winkley Marine’ has just gained its own RYA Training Centre recognition which has been the goal this year."

Simon winging
Winging it!

Who has been your biggest influence this year? 

Simon said: "This year I would say the windsurfer that I admired the most is Starboard/Severne rider Lennart Neubauer. He came back from injury to become European Freestyle Champion, Vice World Freestyle Champion and winner of PWA Sylt (freestyle) in 2023. His style is so well-crafted from all the practice he puts in. The smoothness of his technique and the way he pops is next level. Another shout out as well to top wing coach Julek at the Pro Centre in Prasonisi for influencing my winging this year, being super-positive and really dialling into my mindset."

Simon gybing
On a different tack!

What will you do more of next year? 


Simon said: "1) Windsurfing along the South Coast to get more time in the waves; 2) More winging to perfect my foiling tacks and improve jumping; 3) SPEED! I have added a new clinic to my OTC programme: the Weymouth Speed Week clinic will see me supporting up to 10 clients during all 7 days of Speed Week. It will be for regular fin windsurfers who want to experience going fast down the course with coaching, support, mentoring and fun socials. I am very grateful to Simon Pettifer (the 2023 Speed Week Champion) for supporting me in getting this off the ground. Clients can use any kit whatsoever – no specialist speed kit is required. I will be using production freerace kit, namely Starboard Futura 105 and 120 as well the new Severne Moto sails 6.4, 7.2 & 8.4 and Gator/Blade freeride/wave sails when it gets really windy. 2024 will be the year of the Apple Watch Ultra 2 to focus on performance and speed gains. It will be fun to see what how fast we can all go when all the big guns come to Portland Harbour in October!"

Simon wing foiling
Hang on! Flying!

What are your hopes for next year? 


Simon said: "To continue to enjoy as much time on the water as possible, to push my windsurfing and winging and to help current and new clients to improve. I also want to play around with the new Starboard Acefoil downwind SUPfoil board with huge high-aspect wings and – at the other end of the scale - to get comfortable on the new 50l Wingboard with smaller front wings. Plus more focus on promo stuff/video edits. I am all-in for 2024…let’s gooooooo!"


Interested in attending one of Simon Winkley's Clinics, here are all the dates you need for next year!

 

2024 OTC Clincs

20/21 & 22/23 April

24/25 & 26/27 June

7/8 & 9/10 September

23/24 November & 25/26 November

12-18 October (Speed Week Special)

 

2024 Overseas Clinics

Prasonisi, Rhodes

1-28 September (windsurf)

28 September – 5 October (wingfoil).

Sotavento, Fuerteventura

8-15 June

 

 

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