They say college is full of challenges: the workload; the social life; the 9ams. These are a mere pittance compared to what is thrown at innocent freshers as they baby-step their way through their first few weeks at UCD: the Sports Expo. Masked fencers challenging you to fight them with swords, people wrapped in ropes convincing you that it’ll be “safe” to climb down some caves with them, and even surfers convincing you that they offer the best trips in college!
Whether you’re looking to pick up a new hobby or return to one, not spending your week’s budget on every club that smiles at you is a test for the willpower of many. I myself was in a similar situation in September of last year, and after spending about fifty euro on various memberships was struggling to figure out how I’d be able to dedicate myself four sports, six clubs and my course.
So when the folks at windsurfing invited their freshers to try out the sport for the first time, I wondered why I picked the sport I’d never tried before. However, having shared stories with current members as to how they ended up in the club and why they stayed, a similar answer is given my many: the friendly, almost family atmosphere that becomes clear as soon as one attends an event.
The majority of current committee members had never windsurfed before college (one unnamed child liaison has still only ever windsurfed three times), and apart from one inter-varsities competition (which we win every year!), competitiveness is thrown out the window. It is instead replaced with two main themes: an aim to help the club and its members improve, and an overall aim to have fun.
These aims are achieved in various ways: through our infamous Sunday Sessions at Seapoint, where older and wiser members pass on windsurfing wisdom handed down through generations, and through highly-anticipated trips to the West of Ireland. On Achill Island, in Galway city and in the Kerry countryside, we practice windsurfing by day and fuel parties with our secret Jungle Juice (safety not guaranteed!) by night.
Good weather (or even wind) can never be guaranteed on trips or weekend practice sessions. However, what this member has learnt from experience is that whether exchange students join us for a night out or an oldie finally graduates to the Real World, what is guaranteed is that when one thinks of college, windsurfing is guaranteed to be one of their most memorable experiences in UCD. Proof of this can be seen in Linda, who returned a few weeks ago from Germany to visit us, or the many graduates who still join us on our trips away.
A club must promote itself to recruit members. When attempting to do this, the Windy Committee delivers one simple message: if you’re looking for a good time, good friends or even to improve your windsurfing skills, the Windsurfing Club will easily blow you away!
By Kate Malone – PRO at UCD Windsurfing Club
Photography by George Karbus