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National Windsurfing Championships 2018
Iona receiving her trophy from Guy Cribb having come first in her fleet (4.5m)

The Guru's Guru

Duncan reveals his suspenders
Date Date: 26/01/10
Well, John laid out the challenge in an email - who would be man enough to take the people we look up to as the Gurus of our sport and show they have feet of clay? Who had the bottle to tell it as it is, not how the glossy brochures tell it? Harty, Cribby, Jem Hall and Simon Bornhoft - who?s the Daddy? (in fact I think all of them, apart from Jem, are actually but this is about windsurfing, not impregnating women!).

Maybe the first thing to do is lay out my qualifications for the job. Having worked in training and development in the UK for the past 15 years, I think I know a bit about training and development, and windsurfing instruction in particular.. As far as windsurfing goes I am currently a level 5 instructor with all the twiddly fast forward endorsements and 6 seasons under my belt. I've been on a couple of Simon Bornhoft clinics, I've worked with, and tested boards with Jem, I've shot a video with Harty and seen Cribby in action close up in Margarita. So here's the deal!

The first thing to say is that joking aside they're all very good. They are technically very good sailors (compared to normal people like us rather than Ricardo!) they have an excellent understanding of the fundamentals of the sport, huge enthusiasm for what they do and coaching methods that are tried and tested over a number of years. You can't go far wrong with any of them. What varies is style. Pick the one whose style best matches you and you'll have a blast and learn a shed load!

I've decided to compare them over a number of vital categories, score them and then total it up at the end. Here goes.

1) Sailing ability.

Splitting hairs I know as they can all carve gybe and what else do you need! Cribby is the standout wave sailor, Jem the freestyle Guru. Harty's well old school (bit like myself!) and Simon's solid all round.

Points. Cribby/Jem 4, Simon 2, Harty 1

2) Innovation.

Real tough one. Harty wrote the original RYA scheme (that was the one written in the days when it was thought appropriate to send people onto the water with at least 15 coaching points per manoeuvre), Simon the new one (where you only get 5 words for everything and coaching is just shouting random combinations of them at people in the knowledge it's unlikely to make them worse!). Cribby has his own language 'Use the down force while you boomshaka Luke'. Jem lags a bit although he has developed a whole coaching vocabulary based on kidney punching.

Scores Cribby/Harty/Simon 4 Jem 1

3) Exposure

Impossible to separate. You can't open a windsurfing magazine without one of the following happening:
You're blinded by a shot from a test trip where the sun is bouncing off Jem's head.
You're confused by another random term from the Cribby vocabulary e.g. At the end of the manoeuvre do your boomshaka. (I think he means flip the rig!)
You read another article by Harty about the carve gybe (that's 22,356 and counting and we still all drop off the plane halfway through)
You get Simon telling you the place you just booked two weeks in has no wind at this time of the year.

Score All 4.

4) Experience.

Well OK I mean age. Not sure about this as they do say experience is the ability to repeat the same mistakes with ever increasing confidence. Based on age though the scores are.

Scores: Harty 4 (hundred and six I think), Simon 3 Cribby 2 Jem 1

5) Enthusiasm

As I said they are all very enthusiastic about their sport but here Jem stands out. He has in your face enthusiasm. Talking of which he was in Vassiliki a few years ago when we had an earthquake while he was in bed with his woman. His response to the whole room shaking (the gent) was to pull her on top of him to provide protection.

Scores: Jem 4 Others 2

6) Availability ( a category for the ladies!)

Simon, Harty and Cribby are all married so score low. Cribby scores extra low as he's been married twice and they've both been foxes so I hate him. Jem isn't married so form an orderly line (and wear shades, that head really reflects!).

Scores: Jem 4 Harty/Simon 3 Cribby 2

Totals: All scored 14, how amazing!!!

Well, in truth, it's not amazing at all, as I know and like these guys and want to carry on talking to them. But more than that they are all very good at what they do, it comes down to personal preference on what sort of style you like. If you like real 'in your face' enthusiasm you'll love Jem, if you like organisation 24/7 you'll love Cribby etc. Ask your fellow club members how they got on, we've used all of them in the past - and maybe for a small fee I can be persuaded to give a more candid verbal assessment!

Last updated: 26/01/10 21:47 By: johng
Views: 1644