Organisers of The National Watersports Festival (NWF) are celebrating after an epic weekend at Rutland Water, with perfect conditions welcoming the three-day festival to its new home.

Having spent a decade at Hayling Island, Portsmouth it was all change for the festival this year but after a superb weekend of non-stop racing, clinics, demos, parties, live music and the introduction of new sports to the line-up it, was thumbs-up all round and a promise that next year will be even bigger.

The NWF’17 attracted its loyal brand traders and hard-core festival goers, who have become the lifeblood of the event but also attracted many new competitors, new businesses and new spectators and the buzz and excitement surrounding the festival was evident.

The setting of Rutland Water is ideal for first timers, who want to hug closer to the shoreline and learn more, whilst for the more experienced windsurfers, the lake offers miles and miles of varied playground fun. With windsurfing and stand up paddle boarding now equal partners in the festival line-up and kayaking and Scuba diving as additions for taster sessions and recreational users, Rutland Water offered the perfect venue for every activity and for all levels of experience.

Allan Cross, event organiser said: “We’ve been truly overwhelmed by the welcome and support we received at Rutland Water. Our thanks to Anglian Water for hosting us and supporting our move to Rutland and to the Grainstore for sponsoring our party nights. Thanks to our first-class trade family but most of all the participants for believing in the event and helping us to showcase Rutland as such an exceptional location.”

The event was also a huge boost for tourism in the county, with hundreds of new visitors introduced to what the county has to offer.

Peter Atkinson, director of The Grainstore Brewery said: "The weekend was excellent. We really weren't sure how it would pan out as it was the first year at Rutland Water but we couldn't have asked for a better response from the watersports and local communities.

"A huge thank you to everyone who came and supported the event. We're already looking forward to next year."

Will Kirstein, Rutland Water Manager added: “Apart from being able to showcase Rutland Water to so many Watersports enthusiasts from outside the county, we know we have introduced sports such as SUP & Kayak to many locals who may not have thought to try if not for the event.

“We now hope to see them back on the water regularly.”

The organisers are welcoming feedback about the event through their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/WatersportsFestival/

Allan added: “The move to Rutland has completely invigorated the NWF and brought about a whole new exciting chapter for us. We’ll see you all next year.”

Thanks to the wind, which continually picked up as the weekend progressed, the festival hosted some hard and fast racing.  For results visit http://www.windsurfingresults.co.uk/NWF2017.html

Photos: Fourth Picture