Name: Tom Knox
Age: 14 yrs
Hometown: Maharees, County Kerry, Ireland
Local Beach: Brandon Bay
When did you learn to windsurf?
Well, I tried surfing first; I think I was six or seven. My first taste of windsurfing came soon after on an old BIC board and BIC sail. I sailed that kit for a long time!
What was your first memory of life with your Dad, Jamie Knox?
When I was really little I remember having a toy car and my Dad used to put my wetsuit and body board on top and take me to the beach behind his sit on lawn mower/tractor. I would spend summer days at Ventry Bay , Brandon Bay , Sandy Bay etc . That was when I realised my Dad ran a water sports business.
So when did you start sailing in those Atlantic rollers?
I had been surfing for a while but I only got into the waves on windsurfing kit two years ago when my friend Aleksy Gayda came over from the UK . He was really keen so we both had a go one evening but the wind dropped and I got stuck out the back in the middle of Brandon Bay until a big set washed me in. It was a bit frightening to start with especially dealing with your kit when the waves broke on you. But I got used to it and by the end if I saw the funny side of it and began to relax.
Are you a better surfer or windsurfer?
Ummm…that’s a hard one to answer. I like to try and be as good in each and I love them both the same. Ask someone else what they think!
What are the biggest conditions you have sailed in?
I sailed mast and a half at Shitties & Mossies (the reef breaks opposite Spillians Pub on the Maharees). It was easy to get out but fairly scary on the way in. After a couple of runs, however, I got into it despite being washed in by a mast high set at one point! That session was where, I feel, my wave riding really took off. Just one big session really puts you in your place; you know what you can go out in and you know what you can do. This also improved my surfing as I began to go out into bigger waves. I soon learnt to duck dive properly!
Will you enter all the UKWA wave competitions this year?
They are very hard to get to for me but I want to go to as many as possible, certainly the four main wave events this season (Brandon Bay, Rhosneigr, Bigbury & Tiree). I will also be trying to do the IWA (Irish) events in 2007. But the UK ones will have more Junior competitors so that will be better for me.
All the kids that you go to school with don’t surf or windsurf – why?
It’s because the Irish people are big into GA (Gaelic Football) and Hurling. They just wouldn’t be interested in water sports even living around Brandon Bay. They don’t realise how good it is.
What is the worst aspect of windsurfing for you?
It sometimes gets a bit stressful in the waves especially when you have a ‘bad’ sail. For me I also don’t like it here in the winter, not because of the cold, but because it gets too windy for me. Everyone is out on their 3m sails and I’m stuck on the beach as I’m unable to hold down my smallest sail. I should grow soon though!
What is the best thing about windsurfing?
Meeting new people, messing about on the beach and generally having fun.
Finally, what is it like having Jamie Knox for a Dad?
Well it’s been a good way to meet people in the windsurfing industry! I’ve meet all the magazine editors, kit & clothing importers etc as well as most of the PWA Pros who have stayed at the Jamie Knox Lodge whist competing or on demos. It’s great because they all say come and see us in Maui, Australia, Canaries etc. We’re always invited so I may take them up on that when I get a bit older!
In terms of helping him out, there is not much I can do officially as I can’t instruct until I am sixteen but I help Dad out with the beach set up, driving the tractor etc. But he does have staff so I mainly have the three month summer break to perfect my sailing & surfing!
If he can catch a lift, Tom will be in action at the Rhosneigr UKWA Wave Event on 11-13 May. Boardseeker will be there to follow his progress.