The Royal Navy held its first official RN Wakeboard Championships last month at Boxend Park, Bedford – only a year after the sports first team was created.
Over 20 wakeboarders, from complete beginner to seasoned rider, took part in the two-day cable competition, which comprised grassroots coaching and mentoring on day one, followed by a full competition on day two.
Chairman of the RN Wakeboarding Association, Surgeon Lieutenant Commander Stephanie Ingram said: “The interest in RN wakeboarding has been astonishing. In addition to winning an Inter-Service title at our first competition, the progression and development of the riders throughout the season has been incredible to watch.’’
This competition was successful in attracting new talent and enthusiasm to the sport – with an all-inclusive event covering camping, kit, food and tuition. Results from the RN Wakeboard Championships 2017
The results Royal Navy Men’s Champion – Marine Tony Evans (of 45 Commando in Scotland), RN Men’s Runner Up – Chief Petty Officer Matthew Ellison (Devonport Naval Base), RN Women’s Champion – Sub Lieutenant Lucy Ingram (Institute of Naval Medicine, Alverstoke, Gosport) and RN Women’s Runner Up – Surgeon Lieutenant Commander Steph Ingram (HMS Albion).
Wakeboarding has evolved from a combination of waterskiing, snowboarding and surfing. The rider is either towed behind a motorboat, or in this competition, a being towed on a closed-course cable system. Largely a ‘freestyle’ sport, edging techniques are used to move the board and perform jumps, either using the natural wake of the boat or artificial features such as kickers or sliders.
At last year’s Inter-Service competition the newly formed RN team included seasoned rider Marine Tony Evans who then won gold in the boat competition.
Since then the sport has continued to attract new thrill seekers and service personnel who see the benefits of being involved in this extremely versatile, energetic and fun sport.
Wakeboarding is currently categorised as a ‘non-recognised’ sport in the RN, and the association’s entry into the inter-service competition last year and this year’s RN Championships was only made possible due to grants from the Sports Lottery.
The association, which has Matthew ‘Beano’ Ellison leading the men’s team and Lucy Ingram leading the women, was established last year and now has over 120 members. It welcomes both beginners and experienced riders to join the club, in addition to waterskiers.
Anyone interested should join the Facebook group Royal Navy Wakeboarding for further information.