After London’s Olympic opening ceremony on Friday, Weymouth hosted its own take of an opening ceremony on Saturday evening from the LIVE site on the beach. The show was called ‘Battle For The Winds’ and depicted the struggle against the elements to ensure good conditions for the event. We were honoured to be asked to be part of it by show organiser Jon Beedell of the performing company Desperate Men.
Our role was to start pretty late – we all met on the beach at 9.00pm, where our team (mostly made up of the Dorset Schools Windsurfing Champions) were introduced to Jon. Tris then gave the briefing before the team set sail at twilight to get in position behind the row of kayakers about 50metres off Weymouth Beach, towards the Band Stand. Under the veil of darkness the 2012 torch bearers waiting on the beach then entered the water and started walking towards the team, all whistling and whooping. It was quite surreal – felt like a Braveheart ‘flight or flight’ moment, with over 2000 vocal torch-bearers wading out towards us! Luckily they stopped short of setting our sails alight. As the show’s procession (a gig boat with the lead actors in) forged its passage through the light of the torches and out to sea, our crew leapt into action, pulled up their sails and formed a follow-my-leader behind the show heroes; as luck would have it, the wind being in a perfect direction to sail parallel to the beach. I think the roars and cheers from the thousands of torch-bearers and the thousands that lined the beach will stick with all of us for many years to come. Certainly the largest crowds we will ever windsurf in front of in our lifetimes.
The photos here were taken by Andy Stallman – thanks Andy. The limited light (we pulled the sails up at around 1030pm) means you can’t really see our sails in front of the torches, but we were there, honest! The final shot is our team celebrating up on the main stage of the Weymouth LIVE site. Many thanks to the team and parents for getting involved and most of all to Jon for making it possible – an experience that will stick with us all for many years.