The National Watersports Festival (NWF) is the Glastonbury of the aqua hobbies world. For the last ten years, watersports enthusiasts around the country have descended on Hayling Island on the South Coast to celebrate their love for the water, even when the Great British weather made getting in a tad tricky.
But 2017 is a time of change for the festival. With more predictable conditions in mind, organisers have made the decision to re-locate the festival to Rutland Water, an inland reservoir in Britain’s smallest, and arguably prettiest county, Rutland.
While the festival was originally set up for the windsurfing and Stand Up Paddle board (SUP) community, the goal has always been to champion all watersports categories and, in recent years, they’ve added kayaking and canoeing to the offering. And the big news for 2017 is scuba diving has now also joined the exciting line up, making it an event for all watersports lovers, even those who appreciate the joys of what lies beneath the surface!
Rutland Water itself holds many a mystery, with an entire village lying beneath its picturesque waters. Scuba divers across the Midlands have long been fascinated with the venue but, until now, have not been permitted to dive.
However, with the National Watersports Festival on their doorstep, Tracey Roberts, owner of local dive centre Dive Rutland (www.diverutland.com), saw it as a fantastic opportunity to celebrate scuba diving alongside other watersports and to finally get the opportunity to slip beneath the reservoir’s mysterious surface. With trydives available across the weekend, wannabe scuba divers will have the opportunity to give the sport a go in a location coveted by many a seasoned diver.
“It’s such an amazing opportunity,” says Roberts, “People have been asking us for years whether we can literally Dive Rutland. To represent our sport alongside other well-recognised water hobbies is just fantastic; especially at this brilliant venue. I’m looking forward to sharing our sport with these avid waterbabies. And you never know, you may find me on top of the water for once too on a kayak or something!”
The National Watersports Festival itself is not just a ‘trade show' for the watersports’ industry, it is a festival in the truest sense of the word. Visitors are invited to camp and experience a true festival atmosphere as local bands provide the entertainment in the evenings. And local event sponsor The Grainstore will be making sure liquid refreshments are also on hand. So, whether you’re a family looking for a weekend’s entertainment, or an avid enthusiast looking to enter some competitions, there’s something for all tastes.
Festival tickets are available on the NWF website – www.nationalwatersportsfestival.com – and evening tickets are on sale through the Grainstore website – www.grainstorebrewery.com