Tribute to Andy Funnell
Andy was born on the 25th November 1982 in Seaford
near Newhaven, his Dad, Trevor Funnell was a keen
windsurfer. When Andy was 10 years old Trevor
took him and his daughter Kara to a RYA Windsurfing
Rally at Ardlingly Reservoir. Further Rallies at
Siblyback and lessons at Chichester and Rye Gravel
Pits were where Andy learned to sail and fell in
love with the sport of windsurfing that was to
become his life.
Andy’s first competition was over Easter
weekend in 1996 at a BWA Racing
Event at Marazion in Cornwall when he was 14 years
old. As his father recalled, it was howling, 40-50knots
northerly and so cold that it occasionally snowed!
Andy was on a Fanatic Rabbit and a Tushingham 3.5m
attempting to do downwind slalom. For many, it
would have put them off sailing for life, but for
Andy, he loved it and this was the start of his
fearless nature that would make him a British Champion.
He also loved to go and watch the Baker boys,
Nik and Ant, sailing at Shoreham beach and would
go with his father to watch the PWA Racing events
at Brighton in which the Baker brothers always
As he started to get older, Andy didn’t
want to rely on his Dad every time he went sailing.
So Trevor adapted a trolley he had at work big
enough to carry one boy’s windsurfing kit
and able to be pulled by Andy’s mountain
bike. At 16 years old Andy would
ride to Tidemills beach some 20mins away to go
sailing independently. But there was one problem,
the trolley was designed for pushing not towing
and tipped over all the time. After many arduous
trips to the beach and back Andy learnt to drive.
Andy continued competing on the racing circuit
but after his first trip to Maui in 2001 he was
set on becoming a professional wave sailor.
In 2001 he competed in the UKWA Wave Series,
finishing 16th overall. This result was helped
by an outstanding performance at the UKWA Wave
event in October that year in Brandon Bay, Ireland
which was also a qualifying event for the first
PWA World Cup held that year at Brandon Bay.
Andy got to the semi final which was held in
huge waves and 50knot cross on winds, basically
Andy’s favourite conditions! Before the sailors
went out, Nikky Boy Greene from Team Whiteboarders
said he would give £50 to the first sailor
to do a double loop. No surprises who, on the first
available ramp, launched himself into this intimidating
manoeuvre and won the £50 which was then
spent in the pub that evening. He also won the
heat and qualified for his first PWA event. Not
bad for an 18 year old's first
season. From this result he became one of F2 boards
and Arrow sails top riders as well as a Team Whiteboarder
2001 was his final season of racing and he finished
a respectable 6th in the Formula Silver fleet leaving
the big sails to the big guys while he focused
entirely on waves and the up and coming discipline
It was in 2002 that his father, Trevor Funnell,
took over the running of the UKWA Freewave Series.
His dedication to the cause and the amount of unpaid
time and effort that Trevor puts in is commendable
and is much appreciated by the entire Freewave
In 2002, Andy had his breakthrough international
event at the IFCA European Freewave Championships
at Gunicho, Portugal. Against a competitive fleet
including John Skye and Tris Boxford he finished
6th in the waves and joint 1st in freestyle.
After spending the winter of 2002/03 in Cape
Town and Maui, Andy went to the PWA Freestyle event
in Tarifa in April and finished 6th: his best PWA
result to date.
He also had a cracking season on the UK circuit
in 2003 finishing 4th at the Tiree Wave Classic
and 5th at the UK Wave Champs on the IOW. With
only the UK’s top pro sailors ahead of him,
Chris Audsley, John Skye and Ben Proffitt, it was
only a matter of time before he won a UK title,
something which was very important to him.
So it was with great emotion that Andy won the
UK Indoor Jump Title at the London Boat Show this
January (2004) on a ramp designed by Trevor at
an event organized and run by his father as well.
Tears flowed from his Dad on that evening as his
son deservedly won the contest.
The 2004 competition season was to be very busy
for Andy. His last UK event was at Brandon Bay
in Ireland where he finished 4th again, just behind
Chris, John and Ben. He competed in both Supercross
events at Leucate and Costa Brava where he was
positioned 17th overall after two events out of
50 of the world’s
He flew back from Costa Brava on Sunday 13th
June to spend a few days in Seaford with his family
before flying out to Lanzarote with Robby Swift
to train for the PWA Freestyle/Supercross event
starting early July. But he didn’t return
from a fun jet bike ride with his friends on the
evening of Tues 15th June.
He had the most amazing 21years of life where
he excelled at a sport that took him all around
the world and gave him life long friendships with
people of different nationalities from different
He had a fearless nature that showed through
his aggressive and determined sailing. Fun to party
with; he was the instigator of many a long night
out, the smoothest dancer on the PWA Tour and the
delight of the ladies with his gorgeous looks.
But what I will remember about Andy is that under
that tough sailor image was a kind, gentle boy
who would have grown up into a decent man.
His death has had an impact across the whole
windsurfing community from the PWA superstars to
the sailors at his local beach. That is because
of who he was. As his family said, he wasn’t
just liked, he was loved.
You should not be dead, Andy Funnell, and we
miss you so much.
But one last thing, wherever you are, make that