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Uniwake Student Nationals

It's been another 12 months for ExPix of working alongside the Students at Uniwake, helping them with media coverage, photography and film and generally just pushing what they’re achieving to the big world outside student life. Believe it or not, its not just about partying, having the craic and spending time on the water – there’s a lot more to it than that!

These guys have to fit in organising and running a student governing body alongside ‘local’ level clubs and for many all whilst trying to cope with their final year at uni and having to spend a lot of time revising for exams or finishing of their degree courses. Its not easy, but with a ‘little’ help from some of the industry they always manage to pull it off.

The nationals is always a big ask; coordinating over 100 riders from various locations around the country to congregate at Sheffield Cable where the event is hosted, transfers to Treeton for boat sets behind a brand new Master Craft which has never been used before, catering, sponsorship, media, insurance, judges safety ..and the list just goes on and on and on.

Pierre Petit and the current committee have done a good job of scraping together all their resources and producing a creditable event with amazing support from everyone involved.

So how do they do it? Well being students one thing they have in abundance is enthusiasm, add to this a pool of information and contacts; someone somewhere knows who or why or how and if they don’t they just make it up as they go along, ensuring that it fits their ethos whilst providing access to a sport they all love.

But its not all one way, they can provide interested parties with a great deal in return. They run several events each year, from which they gain a lot of media coverage, they can provide access to a new audience which may be previously untapped as well as a wealth of ‘potential’ new employees. 

So back to the Nationals and what is it all about?

This event is the culmination of the years work! A competition that has BUCS (British University Championship Sport) points on offer which provides credibility to Uniwake – its not just a get together, this is for real. Run alongside a training camp where lessons and clinics help provide development for ‘newbies’ to progress alongside some of the more established riders within a typical student atmosphere IT REALLY IS ALL ABOUT HELPING EACH OTHER OUT AND PUSHING YOURSELF TO THE LIMIT.


So back to the event…. ExPix couldn't make the first day but we arrived early Tuesday to find students waiting on the dock fo the cable to start. The boat a brand new Mastercraft X2 which was on its way to Wakestock had been diverted specially for the students to use (the guys at Mastercraft must be bonkers)and boy did they use it! With practice sessions all day Tuesday and even fitting some in before and after the comps on Wed and Thurs, the Uniwake crowd made good use of the Mastercraft X2 as well as its driver Mark Bell, who was once again on hand to offer his help whilst driving. Back at the cable park there was a steady stream of students entering the water; no massive queues like last year even though the numbers were approximately the same. It looked like the students had learnt from last year and spread their sessions across different times. With a railey clinic headed by Relentless team rider James Young thrown in for good measure there was plenty of action for us to photograph as riders were propelled face first into the lake.

With one or two slapped faces emerging the evening’s meal provided by Andy’s parents proved an even bigger hit than the railey clinic as hungry wakeboarder’s filled their boots with chilli.

The following morning was yet another early start (wow these students are keen) at the lake for the first of the competitions. Men’s cutting edge, ladies cutting edge, men's intermediate and women's intermediate/advanced were all ready to go. With the Relentless land rovers ferrying the different categories to the lake throughout the day, it was all systems go for the boat competition during the earlier part of the day. With the cable competition qualifiers running from 3pm, it was a push to get everything finished and over to the main lake in Rother Valley.

 At Sheffield it was again another hard slog to try and whittle down the qualifiers for the following days heats. The committee at Uniwake were pushing hard gathering flagging students and getting them to the dock ready for their heats. This is where a strong committee comes together and with the help of the staff at Sheffield everything was running to schedule. With a wakeskate jam and a knee board competition also thrown in there was some serious action going down on the water. Watersports World were on the dock as well, providing kit for demo’s, Hyperlite boards and binding systems were all over the place as the equipment got some proper abuse, sorry use, from the students! 

As the weary students left the water they were once again provided with a feast to replenish their energy levels. The evening saw a ‘quiet one’ for the campers. A slideshow of some of the images taken so far was displayed in the bar area at the club and with ooo’s and ow’s as the images from the railey clinic were displayed, the students disappeared one by one. With the prospect of finals and BUCS points on offer it seemed like the students were being sensible…… surely this wasn't right? But it was ……. Once again ExPix were surprised and we packed up for the evening.

Thursday and the final day brought with it a change in the weather. Grey heavy skies provided the back drop for a quick shot of the Mastercraft X2 which quickly disappeared, before we headed out on to the water for the men’s A boat finals, which proved to be a closely fought contest. With just enough time for a couple of promo runs, we grabbed Robin Coates and Abi Lucy Jones for a double ride in front of the crowds. Then it was another quick dash back to Sheffield Cable and Waterski for the remainder of the cable finals.

With yet another amazing meal from the people at Sheffield (this time a BBQ) people set themselves up for the night time frolics which were after the presentation. After a week of being ‘quiet’ the students let rip with displays of male bonding, team drinking games, electric poi, and last but not least an amazing new game called face hopper!!! We will let the pics do the talking on that one!

So ends another year in the Uniwake calendar. With another new committee being enrolled and one or two old faces staying on board next year should see Uniwake go to another level.

Uniwake would like to thank:

Mastercraft for the use of a beautiful new boat

Relentless for their support

Scott, Nick and all the guys at Watersports World for the loan of Hyperlyte and Mystic kit for demo’s

Mark Bell for driving the boat so well and offering his services and advice.

Sheffield Cable and Waterski centre for hosting the event and providing support, food, water and contacts to enable the event to go ahead

Hipnotics Cable Park, Cushe and Hydr8 for the prizes.

If you would like to see all the images from the Uniwake BUCS Nationals then click on the link.

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