10 Reasons to apply for an RYA Zone Squad
If you're a young windsurfer and have Windsurfing aspirations in any direction then this could well be the best route for you.
With the UK’s biggest Windsurfing competition coming up aimed at almost all levels of Junior Windsurfer. It seems like a good time to see what coming along to the National Windsurfing Championships could also give you access to.
So What is a Zone Squad?
“A Zone Squad is a regional team that meets up through the winter months to do extra training then compete more nationally the following summer.”
Who is it for ?
Any young Windsurfer between the ages of 10-16 can apply. Many come from T15 clubs but you can also come direct into a zone Squad.
Would we need kit for Zone Squad?
Some T15 clubs lend out kit during the winter months for Zone Sailors, but all windsurfers in the squad will need to bring kit to each training session. Grants and subsidies are also available through the Techno 293 UK Class association and the John Merricks Sailing Trust.
10 Reasons to apply
Here is a quick look at some of the benefits of the squad. It’s important to note that whether your aspirations are in becoming and instructor, going on too becoming a wave sailor, heading down the British Sailing Team pathway or just windsurfing as much as you can. This may well be the best way to supercharge your route.
1.You Go Windsurfing (a lot).
Many clubs and centres pack up during the winter months, but this is where Zone squad kicks in. Coaching and training weekends run from November through to April/May the following year so give you lots of time on the water that otherwise you might miss out on.
2. It’s all about Skills.
Whilst there are racing events you can attend the following summer, the winter is all about skills. From getting in the harness and footsteps, through to Carve Gybes, Duck Gybes and beyond. Core skills learnt at T15 and Zone will give you Windsurfing options a plenty.
3. You’re in it together
With squad sizes between 14 and 30 there are plenty of other windsurfers your age you can go windsurfing with. With lots of people at different levels there are others to learn with, learn from and also lots of chances to make new mates. Many of the great outcomes in zone come from collaboration between other windsurfers your age.
4. You’ll get better, quicker
If you just got on the water more, with lots of like minded windsurfers your age you’d definitely get better. Zone facilitates this but also adds in a coaching team. The coaches are there to help drive your progression. Many are ex-zone sailors themselves, as well as current and former members of the British sailing team and top instructors to help you get the most out of your experience.
5. You’ll be part of the British Youth Sailing Team
By being a member of zone squad you’ll be a part of the wider British Youth Sailing Team. You’ll be a part of the mist successful Sailing Nation in the World.
6. More than Just Windsurfing Development
You won’t just learn lots of windsurfing skills you’ll also be taught about nutrition, fitness as well as other parts of mental and physical preparation.
7. A Stepping Stone
If you’d like to keep progressing towards a National Junior Squad then Zone is you’re best route. You be sailing regionally but then also once a year at a residential Easter Camp with sailors from all squads. You’ll also be training alongside national Junior Squads so a get a feel for the level you need and also a great chance to learn off some sailors a little further along than you.
8. Progress at your pace
Juniors find windsurfing at many different ages. Whether you’ve been lucky enough to start when you’re really young or come into it in your teens it’s still worth applying to Zone Squad. Many of our National Junior Squad sailors, top windsurfers and British Sailing team Windsurfers started ‘lather’s a Junior and have still gone on to great things.
9. Duke of Edinburgh
Many zone members now use Zone activity as part of their Duke of Edinburgh assessment. Using it as either skill, physical or even both. You could then look at becoming an assistant instructor at your local T15 club and get the volunteering side signed off as well.
10. It’s Fun
Going windsurfing, with your mates, in lots of different locations. Doesn’t need much explanation really.
How to get involved
You can apply on the RYA website or follow the link below.
You’ll need to then attend a couple of events to get selected. The Zone Championships in your Region and Also a Class open raining day where you’ll get coaching from your zone coaches and get a feeling for what a weekend might be like.
The best way to start is get yourself along to the National Windsurfing Championships. You can come as part of a T15 club or an individual. It’s the UK’s largest windsurfing competition and along with skills challenges and racing on the water there a host of fun activities in the evening a well.
If you’re not sure if it’s for you, or you’re a parent and need more information don’t hesitate to drop me an email and I can help guide you through.