Josh Coombes: Legend of the Bay – 27/28 April 2015

One of the UK’s most unique sports events ‘Legend of the Bay’ returns to Watergate Bay for its second year on 18 & 19 April 2015 – a multidisciplinary competition combining stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) and kitesurfing.

Our very own instructor Josh Coombes from The Extreme Academy will be entering once more, aiming give competitors a run for their money.

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Legend of the Bay is the first collaboration and event of its kind between the British Stand Up Paddleboard Association (BSUPA) and the British Kitesports Association (BKSA) – and if the last event is anything to go by, we’ll some of the UK’s finest sportsmen and women descending on to the Bay.

Competitors can enter either individual competitions in their favoured sport – a wave jam kitesurf event, or a SUP surf competition – or they can challenge for the coveted title of ‘Legend of the Bay’, which will be awarded to the competitor with the highest combined score from both disciplines.

We caught up with Josh to ask him a bit about his career in watersports and how he feels he will fare against his competitors.

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How many years have you been kitesurfing and stand-up paddle boarding?

I have been kitesurfing for about 13 years, since I was eight, but I learnt to surf when I was five. SUP is very similar to surfing, so I guess the ability to SUP has been with me since a young age. If I’m not kitesurfing, I’m surfing. If I’m not surfing, I’m stand-up paddle boarding. I spend so much time in the water that it’s all training for an event like this.

What do you enjoy most about kitesurfing and SUP at Watergate Bay?

Watergate Bay is a very special place as I grew up here and learnt to surf and kitesurf here – it’s pretty much my childhood playground. Now I work and teach the sports here too with the Extreme Academy, who also sponsor me. Watergate Bay is probably the best spot in Cornwall to kitesurf and we get world class waves at times. It’s a very open beach which picks up a lot of swell and it works on most wind directions.

What kind of speeds can you reach when kitesurfing?

The World Record is 56 knots but I’m not sure how fast I’ve gone. That’s something I should look into measuring, I’d love to know what speeds I can reach.

Tell us about your recent travels…

I’ve just returned from New Zealand, Indonesia and Australia and scored some great waves. I took one surfboard with me and my kitesurfing equipment and maned to do some surfing and wave riding (kitesurfing on the same surfboard but without any straps). My surfing definitely improved in New Zealand, and i’m generally feeling a lot fitter from running too, so i’m in a good spot the competition.

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How do you feel about competing?

This is only my second time in a kitesurfing and paddle board competition – I’ve often steered away from competing as I enjoy the freedom of just being out on the sea with friends. The great thing about Legend is that I know most of the people competing so it’ll be a fun friendly vibe out there. I’m really excited and think it’s going to be a great contest. Hopefully I’ll do well!

How do you think you’ll fare against the competition?

I think I stand a good chance considering I know Watergate Bay well, but there are a lot of good names competing. Ex Extreme Academy instructor Dom Moore, who won in 2013, will be one to watch, as will local guy Will Bennet.

What would the ideal conditions be like for the event

For me, I’d like 20mph northerly winds for kiting, and small but clean waves for SUP. Like all the other competitors, I’ll be hoping to select the biggest and best waves, riding them for as long as possible and landing as many tricks as possible.

Finally, if you were stuck on a desert island and could only take a kitesurf or SUP, which one would it be?

That’s really hard, but i’d have to say kitesurfing. It’s more fun and I might be able to escape off the island using it. Although, i’d probably not want too…

Thanks Josh and good luck!

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Entries for the competition are now open via: www.webcollect.org.uk/wcws

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