National Watersports Festival makes a splash at Rutland Water
Warm weather, sunshine and a full list of events drew water sports enthusiasts from around the country to Rutland at the weekend for the National Watersports Festival.
This is the second time the event has been held at Rutland Water after it was staged at Hayling Island for many years.
Event founder Alan Cross said they had decided to move the festival inland to appeal to broader range of participants in the various disciplines.
Alan said the event had originally been aimed at windsurfers but has grown over the years to include other watersports such as kayaking, sailing and stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), one of the fastest growing sports in the UK.
"I always wanted to create an event that accommodated the intermediate participant as they are the ones who make the industry," he said.
"One of the NWF objectives was to get people of all ages into the sport."
Alan said water conditions at Hayling Island had not always favoured less experienced water users.
"We looked at our options and after careful consideration decided to move to Rutland Water," he said.
"It's a fantastic, central location, and offers a safe environment with easy access to the water."
Alan said while this was only the second year of hosting the festival at Rutland Water, the future was looking promising.
"It will take some time to build it up again but the general feedback has all been positive."
Visitors were able to to experience dinghy sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, SUP and diving as taster sessions ran throughout the weekend, supported by the RYA.
Will Kirstein, Rutland Water park manager said the weekend had been "really good".
"Sunday was probably the busier of the two days as it was warmer but overall it was great weekend," he said.
"The sailors and windsurfers would have liked a little more wind but we had about 800 people take part in the tasters sessions which is fantastic."
In addition to the taster sessions there was also racing, demos, live music, local food and camping available on site.
Meanwhile, for more experienced sailors and windsurfers there was the chance to have a go at the new foiling phenomenon with free foiling tasters both in boats and on boards.
Two RS Aeros, adapted with foils by Glide Free Design, were used for the dinghy sessions under expert supervision.
Junior windsurfers were able to take advantage of the popular Team15 Windsurfing Skills Clinics, run by RYA National and Zone squad coach Sam Ross on Saturdy and Sunday.
Peter Atkinson, director at The Grainstore Brewery and main sponsor of the event said: "There was a cracking atmosphere at the event again this year and everyone who came and supported it had a great time.
"The taster sessions across all disciplines were full by lunchtime each day and it was incredible to see so many people of all ages trying something new and enjoying themselves.
"This was the second time the event has been held in Rutland and we’re learning with each year.
"We’ll debrief this week and start planning an even better experience for watersports enthusiasts and the Rutland community next year.
"Thank you to everyone who came and supported us and the other local businesses involved."