Words: Windsurfing UK
Pics: Colin Dixon, PWA/Carter
Remember back in the day when PWA (Professional Windsurfers Association) coverage featured the live ticker? You know, text updates from whoever was on the ground observing the action? Well, if you haven’t seen PWA coverage of late perhaps it’s time to take a second look.
As much as we’re fans of ‘real world windsurfing’ there’s something appealing about watching the pros do their thing. It may be a world away from what many people call windsurfing but with how coverage stands there’s a fever level that once was non-existent.
Two main reasons why PWA live is more engaging than ever: the fact you can see the action on the water as it happens and the commentary. A bunch of different sailors provide insight and comment to help viewers follow event proceedings – a large contingent of UK riders we hasten to add! What was once a confusing spectacle is now easier to understand – whether you know the names of sailors/moves or not. The commentary team are all great but we have to admit it’s the UK’s ever colourful Mr Ben Proffitt who is the main draw.
Ben’s no stranger to competition himself, and has had plenty of success. It’s his enthusiastic, insightful and top draw delivery that wins time and again though. You can tell Ben simply loves windsurfing – whatever the discipline. His stoke comes across during PWA live streams. Even during lulls in competition he does an awesome job of keeping viewers engaged and baying for more. And when we finally have kick off he’ll have you right there, on the beach, in the moment, jumping up and down like an excited grom.
To be fair props should also be given to the camera operators. We recall when PWA event live streaming first started. It was pretty awful, although we appreciate teething problems always occur with something new. But these days they do a sterling job – we appreciate it’s not easy capturing all the action in one go. Especially when sailors can be spread across a large comp area.
Another nice touch is having impromptu visits to the commentary booth from pro sailors in between heats. This really gives insight in a relaxed style. Sounding more like a bit of post session chitchat at the bar you get a real feel for what’s going on during each event and in the minds of competitors. Again, this is testament to the relaxed approach.
One of the best bits of PWA live coverage we’ve recently experienced was during the men’s slalom elimination as part of the Fuerteventura World Cup. In what was a super windy event (gusting 40 knots by all accounts) the stoke drummed up by Ben and the team was tangible. Big crashes were ‘oooed’ and ‘aahhhhed’ at while titbits of info about what it takes to be a World Cup slalom sailor were delivered with suitable aplomb. All in it kept attentions and eyes glued to the screen.
If you’ve bypassed pro windsurfing competition of late, and in particular the PWA live stream, then maybe it’s time to give it another go. Even with most sailors being worlds away from the action depicted on screen it’s worth a watch and may provide inspiration. After all, most of us drive cars, but not like Formula 1 drivers. And yet large portions of us tune in to see Hamilton, Vettel and crew do battle…
Ben Proffit comments:
Glad to hear you guys are loving the live stream. It makes all the effort worthwhile when you know people are enjoying it. I hate writing hence the talking and commentary – I much prefer the chat, as you can probably tell! Haha! I do take too many things on though – I’m so flat out. But I love windsurfing and all forms of it – even the beginner stuff, it doesn’t matter. It’s all good. In my opinion it should be a much bigger sport and I’d love to help get it to a wider market. That’s what I’m trying to do, as are a few others. If this doesn’t happen, never mind, we will just be the lucky ones. Haha!