Ding is Sharing her Love of Windsurfing at Jamie Knox Windsurfing in the Maharees
I met Ding a few years back and was in awe of her vigor and energy on the water, so I just had to meet up with her and find out who was behind the sails and what made her tick.
How does windsurfing make you feel?”
FANTASTIC. I am always challenged by the changing conditions and that makes a good blast all the more satisfying..
How many years have you been windsurfing?
Only 13 years. I had dabbled as a teenager and I met Jamie Knox on a family camping trip when I was 46 and of course he wanted to teach me how windsurf properly, and I haven’t looked back since.
Did you feel insecure or different in any way when you were learning amongst younger beginner sailors?
I found it very hard to learn at first as my knowledge of the wind was limited. I learn through a hands-on approach, so I asked Jamie to break it down into little chunks and I learned step by step.
I built up my skills slowly and that has helped me to understand how others learn and has really helped me in my own teaching now as an instructor.
Do you encourage other women to windsurf?
Yes. We run alot of windsurfing lessons for children and I love to encourage the Mums to come and join us on the water. So instead of dropping their children off for windsurfing club, they join in with their own course.
Do you see many girls keeping up windsurfing into adulthood?
I find the girls that team up all keep it up. They create a social circle and they love light-hearted coaching with plenty of fun and chats.
What outcome do you see from parents being involved?
The dynamic in the family changes, as they find themselves talking about windsurfing all the time … board size, sail size, wind direction, force etc. It becomes a conversation of numbers!!
What do you think are the biggest challenges for someone to take up windsurfing?
Weather, wind and tide, but you work out ways to around them.
Then the cost of kit is expensive if you are taking it up as a sport for yourself, so having centres like Jamie Knox Windsurfing you can rent the kit to suit the conditions and the added support of supervision in the area helps a lot as you are learning.
What is next for you?
With the support of the Irish Sailing "Take the Helm" campaign funded by Sport Ireland, I joined a team of fellow windsurfing instructors on the very first Irish Sailing Windsurfing Foiling Instructor’s course in Oysterhaven back in December 2019. It was a fantastic opportunity to join fellow windsurfers and learn together how this new type of windsurfing could and should be taught. I upskilled that weekend and revalidated my instructor qualification for another 5 years.
I am now experimenting with winging. It is so light.
What is winging?
It is like kitesurfing without the strings and a little more technique. You can do it on a sup to start of with and aim to do it with a foil board and go wing foiling, which feels like you are flying!!! I have found I enjoy it on a 180 windsurfing board. You need a good understanding of the wind, but you don’t need the upper body strength that kitesurfing or windsurfing may require.
A massive thanks to Ding for taking time off from the beach to talk to me on a lovely breezy day in the Maharees.
If you would like to learn to windsurf with Ding, head on down to Jamie Knox Windsurfing or choose from one of the centres below.
Go for it 😊
Go Windsurfing Scheme Centres
- Co. Kerry, Jamie Knox Windsurfing, www.jamieknox.com
- Co. Cork, The Oysterhaven Centre, www.oysterhaven.com
- Co. Mayo, Colaiste U.I.S.C.E., www.uisce.com
- Co. Wicklow, CP Adventure, www.cpadventure.ie
- Co. Waterford, Dunmore East Adventure Centre, www.dunmoreadventure.com
- Co. Donegal, Gartan Outdoor Education & Training Centre, www.gartan.com
- Co. Leitrim, Lough Allen Adventure, www.loughallenadventure.com