We catch up with Bryony Shaw as she embarks on the countdown to 2012. Firstly, the sailing questions and then Bryony tells us all about her latest ‘off the race course’ campaign.
Obviously huge advantages with having the Worlds and of course the next Olympics on your doorstep. Is there any disadvantage other than not getting an exotic tan?!
Writing this I am currently half way through the Worlds in Weymouth and I am happy to say I feel few disadvantages having a big competition like this on my doorstep, other than the expectation to do well, which I expect of myself anyway!
From past experience at events where other sailors and Skandia team support staff are around, like China, I enjoy the sense of support that the team atmosphere brings, which is often lacking at events abroad where it's just the windsurfers.
"Board speed has
The other sailing teams must feel like not turning up in 2012 with the British Team expected to clean up on HOME ground. Are other teams already establishing a base in Weymouth?
There are a lot of other nations who prepare for an Olympic Games in a similarly professional manner to the Brits, but Skandia Team GBR definitely lead the way in terms of team cohesion and planning. Lots of foreign team managers have been searching around for a "base" for their team, as currently it is looking unlikely that there will be a sailing Olympic village. But the limited choice of B&Bs and pretty average hotels are going to struggle to accommodate the needs of everyone involved in sailing and any supporters who may want to come along.
What has been the number ONE thing you've been working on since the European Champs?
Board speed has been top priority, along with equipment measuring, testing and selection so that I can be confident of holding my lane across Weymouth Harbour, which is typically a speed-track. In the end we have gone with some relatively old kit, as the new batches of sails are coming out with a very flat shape and no leech twist, which is not fast or very stable. Also, my board is from one of the earliest batches, which shows that newest may look clean and shiny but it isn't always the best.
"Thomas is adorable
and there is a massive
baby boom going on
right now in
Finally, have you seen little Tom Dempsey and does it make you broody?!
Thomas is adorable and there is a massive baby boom going on right now in RS:X land. Lots of Daddies and even a few surprise Mummies to be! I have a couple of years of windsurfing to go before baby life starts for me, and I certainly don't need any distractions from my training. Judging by my standards of racing so far this week I need to keep my eye firmly focused on winning medals!
Now Bryony is going to talk us through her activities off the race course……
These last few months have been filled with activities and new associations alongside my standard training programme. They have given my profile a great boost, as well as providing a solid platform towards my 2012 windsurfing campaign. It is good timing to have begun such beneficial commercial and charitable relationships at this stage of the Olympic cycle, and hopefully they can be built on to provide my career with long standing support, with the ultimate aim of a Gold Medal in three years time.
With so much focus on how the 2012 sporting events in London and the Southwest can potentially highlight the health benefits of an active lifestyle as well as an improved environmental awareness, the image of Windsurfing as a fun, accessible outdoor activity is an attractive association for awareness groups and potential commercial interest. It certainly fits well with the BLUE Climate and Oceans Project, for which I am their newest ambassador, and their plans for the 2010 BLUE Mile Race down on Plymouth’s waterfront.
The intention is to give kids of all abilities the opportunity to take part in this multi-discipline race on, in or alongside the water, in order to open-up people’s perception of how accessible watersports actually are and how they can bring lifestyle benefits to people of any age and fitness. As more people take up the challenge and do a bit of practice before the event, a fundamental aim of the project is that they inevitably build an awareness and respect for their water environment, as I have done through my love for windsurfing. There is massive potential for this event to grow each year in the build up to the Games, but also for it to be a permanent fixture on the calendar after 2012 to maintain a sporting legacy in the local area. Check it out on www.theblueproject.org
Another opportunity I have had was to put my name behind Dorset’s Recycle, Reduce and Reuse Summer Campaign, the intention of which is to try and target the region’s younger generation. Again windsurfing is a great image to associate with for this kind of project as it depicts fun summer activities, and it is a sport that has a clear relationship with its natural environment.
Finally, I have been working hard on creating sponsorship relationships that will give my training a massive boost, hoping that some of those inevitable financial distractions can be reduced. My most recent agreement has been with VW Lifestyle Vehicles, who I am working with on their “Escape” campaign to re-market the image of their Caravelle, California and Kombi vans. Windsurfing ties in really nicely with promoting an active lifestyle, it shows how you can escape your
regular routine and throw all your toys, friends and family in the back of these vans and head for the beach with no compromise on space. As most windsurfers know, the VW Transporter is the ultimate windsurfing wagon!! So I am really chuffed to have sorted this one out. Take a look at www.vwescape.co.uk/pages/ambassadors
Keep an eye on my website (www.bryonyshaw.com) that has regular Twitter updates on my training, and I’ll let you know what’s potentially coming up with Skandia and Fat Face, regional associations like Team Dorset, and also local schools who I have been chatting to…
I am also keenly focussed on my preparation for the RS:X World Championships 5-11 September right here in Weymouth, hoping to improve on my Bronze from the Euros back in June.
Bryony came 6th – no doubt she would have wanted to end up on the podium but still a solid result for Ms.Shaw.
Keep following Bryony's progress at www.bryonyshaw.com