Buddy System

As a beginner or relatively inexperienced windsurfer you may feel nervous about joining a club and then being left to your own devices. The club has fourteen RYA qualified instructors who operate a ‘buddy’ system on a volunteer basis. 1 Senior/Chief Instructor, 5 Intermediate, and 8 Start level instructors.

Any member (*) can request a buddy session on a 1:1 basis, entirely at the Buddy Instructor’s discretion. To make those arrangements and for more details contact Philip Peaston on 07909 992520 or e-mail philip.peaston@justmc.co.uk. Philip coordinates the buddy system and will contact the other buddy instructors to check their availability and the first one who responds in the affirmative will contact you direct and take 1:1 arrangements from there.

* Update Statement as at 26 August 2020 on the Buddy System and Coronavirus.

The Buddy System was suspended for safety reasons during “lockdown”. Since then, in line with government guidance, the club has gradually re-opened its facilities. The present arrangements to keep us all safe are described for member guidance on the club’s home page, here: http://www.hicklingbroad.co.uk

Clearly, all members must adhere to this guidance when attending the club for any purpose, including a buddy session. For further guidance, prospective buddies should be aware how their buddy session will be conducted to keep us all safe:

  1. To run a buddy session, and how it is run on the day, is entirely at the discretion of the instructor buddies, who give their time for free.
  2. At the moment, in the light of coronavirus, the buddy system is directed to windsurfers who have some experience rather than complete novices*. We do not want to be in a position where the buddy instructor is having to rescue the trainee, so the trainee must be able to sail safely to and from the beach in the prevailing conditions.
  3. At any single buddy session, only one buddy member will meet with one instructor, i.e. 1:1
  4. Members should bring their own kit or may use club kit, and the instructor will bring their own kit. With social distancing, each set of kit will be used only by its user to discuss, demonstrate and practice rigging, sail tuning etc, sailing positions and moves, all on the beach only.
  5. The club’s simulator will not be used.
  6. An on-water session can take place, but only at the buddy instructor’s discretion and if they are comfortable that the risk of accidents, kit failure or recovery assistance is as low as practicable. Again, no sharing of kit will take place, and a minimum of 2m social distancing will be maintained at all times.
  7. If the buddy member wishes to sail alone when the buddy session has concluded, that is of course entirely their prerogative, accepting the risks of windsurfing detailed in the club’s website, section “Member Info”.
  8. Within the limitations listed above, the instructor buddy will endeavour to address all the points of information or advice that the buddy member requests.

*At the date of this statement, new memberships are only available to those who can already windsurf. Any existing members who are novices should await the restart of training opportunities at a future date, either with HWC or another provider. 

Here’s an overview of the Buddy System:

What it is:

A meet and greet session at Hickling

  • Introductions and to gain an overview of your aims, and current ability
  • A mini guided tour of the facilities; changing rooms, loan kit, how to operate the locks etc
  • Information on safety, First Aid, what to look out for
  • Advice on kit, wet suits, boots, boards, sails, where to buy kit/get advice
  • Time on the water if it’s suitable – a Start level overview if that’s appropriate
  • If required, a bit of coaching both on and off the water to build your confidence and skill

Support over the phone / email

  • ad-hoc support as your needs dictate, all within reason
  • Follow-up on progress
  • Any other Q & As that you can think of

Possible future sessions at Hickling by mutual agreement

  • Another meet-up if it’s convenient to the buddy: Tell them what you want and they will decide if they can do it
  • Agreeing if others are going sailing so you can sail too, under your own direction but knowing others will be there

What it’s not:

Full Blown Training

  • Buddies, like you, joined the club to sail themselves and are happy to provide coaching support and guidance as outlined above
  • We do not provide formal courses, which in Norfolk are best provided at Whitlingham. See http://www.whitlinghamoec.co.uk
  • Ongoing training which demands a great time commitment on the part of the buddy (though Buddies are positive about supporting you and may well, if they have time, agree to spend structured and further time with you. It’s down to the individual and what other demands they have on their time)

A replacement for the periodic club training sessions, fun days and clinics which we organise for all members during the summer season, and are usually held at weekends when more members are likely to be able to benefit. Keep an eye on the website or club Newsletter for details

And finally…

Just a few words on kit. The Club has a limited supply of kit aimed at those starting out in the sport and you are most welcome to use this kit on a first come first served basis. If many want to use the kit on a specific day, then obviously sailors will have to mix and match and take turns etc.

Above all, enjoy your time on the water!