Windsurf event stirs crowds

PUBLISHED: 15:52 01 August 2008 | UPDATED: 09:25 10 June 2010

FRIDAY, AUGUST 1: EXMOUTH seafront came alive to the sights and sounds of the town's first ever Windsurf Festival on the year's warmest, busiest summer weekend. A real success story for summer 2008 saw a marathon event entice 34 of the country's top windsurfers into Exmout

EXMOUTH seafront came alive to the sights and sounds of the town's first ever Windsurf Festival on the year's warmest, busiest summer weekend.A real success story for summer 2008 saw a marathon event entice 34 of the country's top windsurfers into Exmouth. A packed beach watched the action, tried windsurfing for the first time, and stayed on to party at the Pavilion.The event was organised by Exmouth windsurf institution Waterfront Sports, owned by Pete Manfield. The festival proved a huge boost for charities the National Coastwatch Institution and Exmouth Beach Rescue.Mr Manfield said: "We brought a lot of people into Exmouth. The weather made the weekend busy, but with the Festival it was doubly so."We had fantastic sun and, though we could have done with a bit more of a breeze, people loved to watch the windsurfing."The weekend's main event, a windsurf marathon to Torquay and back, was shortened due to wind conditions. However, a 10-mile round trip still proved a tough endurance test.Champion windsurfer was Keith Russel in 1 hour 36 minutes. The event marked a winning return to Exmouth for Keith, who set off on his board from the town seven years ago on an around-Britain ultra-marathon.Second place went to Paul Simmons, with Marie Buchanan third, and top Exmouth competitor Dave Thomas in fourth. The endurance award went to Mark Burgess, who completed the marathon in a gruelling 3 hours 35 minutes.Mr Manfield, who hopes to satisfy public calls for a second festival in 2009, thanked sponsors the Pavilion, the Starboard and Tushingham Sails windsurf manufacturers, and Exeter's Fat Face store.

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