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27th of April 2012

Easter weekend saw the annual round hayling island race take place, light winds but glorious sunshine kicked the season off in style for this, and the BSA racing that followed. [more]

Aqua Sports: Beginners Paradise

A - View of the Lake

In the heart of the Surrey countryside is a small but perfectly formed windsurf centre, Aqua Sports.


It runs RYA Start Windsurfing and Fastfwd Intermediate Courses, for both adults and juniors. As well as offering instructor courses, equipment hire, various memberships, a watersports shop, and have a successful Team 15 club, Aqua Sports Aquanauts.


Group Taster Sessions are a great way of giving windsurfing a go, Aqua Sports taster sessions can either be for those who have never tried watersports before and want to get a 'feel' for one of windsurfing, or one of the other watersports on offer at Aqua Sports and/or they could be just for fun, perhaps as a hen weekend, a corporate group activity or just a day trip with the girls? In any event, tasters are short, fun sessions in which groups get to try one, two or all three of our watersports activities. No experience is necessary - after a short demonstration you will get out on the water to try for yourself, under careful supervision. You can even top the day off using our barbeque facilities. For groups of between 8-20 people. This gives you a chance to try a sport first from only £18 per person.


Photo courtesy of Aqua SportsPhoto courtesy of Aqua SportsSituated close to London, it is the ultimate playground for those wanting to escape the city and try a new sport or polish up those essential skills. Louise Jackett learnt to windsurf at the lake, and has since introduced many more girls and guys to windsurfing at Aqua Sports, we catch up with her to find out more about the location:


Aqua Sports is situated at Mercers Country Park near Redhill and has been open for over 15 years. The first thing you will notice is the warm welcome from the staff who are all avid water sports fanatics. They offer courses and hire for windsurfing, sailing and paddle sports and also have one of the cheapest membership rates around for you to launch your own kit. Within the last few years they have renovated the club house which includes toilets, warm showers, a training room, seating area and some snacks and drinks are also available. There is also a small shop selling wetsuits and accessories as well as the chance to buy new and used kit. In the summer time they also have a BBQ available for guests to use (provided they have obtained permission before hand) which overlooks the scenic lake.


Having learnt at Aqua Sports I can definitely recommend it for any beginner and have held a few taster days there for Royal Holloway (University of London) Sail & Board Club. Our last taster day, and my last as president of the club, proved to be an awesome day for everyone. Surprised by the rare, hot and sunny English weather we all struggled into the wetsuits provided by Aqua Sports and headed over to the demonstration area where everyone was given the basics of windsurfing. Before we knew it everyone was out on the water attempting to up haul and to stay out of the trees. As expected everyone spent more time in the water than on the board but left with big smiles and a new found love of windsurfing. The staff were there to provide safety cover and support with their upbeat and friendly attitudes really making the difference. After two hours on the water we were able to enjoy a tasty BBQ and a few beers whilst chilling out on the grass overlooking the lake.


cooling down after a windsurf: photo courtesy of Louise Jackettcooling down after a windsurf: photo courtesy of Louise JackettAqua Sports is definitely somewhere I would recommend. The only downside is that the amazing warmth of the staff can't alway make up for the fact that the wind conditions here are not always suitable for those wishing to progress through the intermediate level. It does get windy on the lake, working best in Southwesterly/Westerly or Northeasterly/Easterly directions but being an ex sand quarry it is always a bit gustier and a few notches less than it would be, say, at the coast. Of course with the trees too, you have to make sure you start turning around before you reach the edges of the lake or the trees kill your wind. In short once you start to crave for planing conditions, unless the forecast is for strong southwesterlies, the lake can be hit or miss making it harder to progress onto stronger wind manoeuvres. Nevertheless Aqua Sports is the perfect environment for beginners, especially if they are planning on doing their RYA Start Windsurfing or Intermediate course for improvers. The friendly staff and tamer conditions makes it much easier to learn and to improve on the basic moves.


Samantha Smithson, one of the Aqua Sports Company team adds: 'We also have a large club house with spacious female changing facilities and hot showers!!. Our small cafe does 'the best cheese and ham toastie in the area' and also the best coffee too. We are proud to offer lovely 'muggachinos' of the excellent Nespresso coffee brand! '


For more information and to contact Aqua Sports visit click the banner to head straight to the site