Stunning beaches, clear blue seas, fantastic waves and great wind
conditions all combine to create the ideal windsurfing venue on
the island of Tiree off the west coast of Scotland.
The often wet and windy western isles may not be the obvious location
of a sporting haven but with the accolade of being the windiest
place in the UK Tiree is the perfect location.
It is nearly 20 years since the concept of the Tiree Wave Classic
competition was born and after a five year absence from the island
the National Wavesailing Championships return for a week of top
class competition from 12 - 19 October 2002.
Tiree was first discovered as a premier windsurfing location in
the early 1980s and quickly became the venue for the UK national
championships but the competition was lost to Ireland and Cornwall
the late 1990s.
That was until the new owner of the Tiree Lodge Hotel Colin Beattie
started a campaign to have the championships returned to the island
a year ago and after enlisting the help of former organiser Andy
Groom the championships were soon heading north once more.
Their efforts were successful in bringing a whole host of backers
on board including worldwide TV coverage, VisitScotland, local councillors
and other funding bodies and now everyone is looking forward to
welcoming the event back home.
"It has taken a year (to get the championships)," explained Andy.
"Colin Beattie realised that raising the profile of the island
and increased footfall was good for business for him and the whole
"I said it was not as easy as that but ten months later here we
"Local councillors Ian Gillies from Tiree and Campbell Cameron
from Oban drove it forward from their end and managed to help us
get funding from VisitScotland. That enabled us to secure the TV
broadcast deal and once we had that secure it was a lot easier to
fill in the building blocks.
"The difficult part was getting the national body (UK Windsurfing
Association) to accept it as the national championships again and
hopefully it is going to be the start of a regular return to Tiree."
The cream of windsurfing talent will be travelling to Tiree to
take part in the event and with three from the top six in the world
currently hailing from the UK the very best standards of competition
"We always keep it to 32 competitors and to get an entry is difficult
as you have to go to a lot of qualifying rounds," continued Andy.
"It is the cream of the sport and without doubt competition will
be at the top level as three of the top six in the world at the
moment are British and the standard of windsurfing is incredibly
"There is also a fun flight so people can just turn up and compete
and there will be another 20 - 30 taking part in that," he added.
The return of the Tiree Wave Classic will help provide a boost
to the island which has seen a downturn in windsurfing visitors
in recent years and Andy said they aimed to give potential visitors
as much information as possible on the area.
"The website is set up with travel very much in mind with details
of how to get there etc." said Andy.
"The number of windsurfing visitors to Tiree has gone down over
the past few years and we just need to keep getting the message
"The championships will bring a threefold boost for tourism. Firstly
it is just at the close of the season and secondly raising the profile
especially by TV coverage and that will make a huge difference to
the area's tourism.
"Thirdly and more importantly probably is that in an area as remote
as Tiree the kids don't have a lot of facilities to do sport, there
is no swimming pool, tennis courts or pitches, so why not get them
involved in a sport on their doorstep?"
Andy says that everyone is excited and enthusiastic at the prospect
of Tiree once more becoming the home of the UK Wavesailing Championships
and they were all "without question" looking forward to a fantastic
"The difference in running the event this year is that everyone
is enthusiastic about getting it off the ground and giving support.
For the first time everyone was pro the event instead of anti it
which was very, very refreshing," Andy added.
More information about the Tiree Wave Classic is on the website