Welcome to the Dream Team (Simon) Cookie!
At Starboard we love people who are passionate about windsurfing and find ways to share their passion. We came across your Youtube Channel and loved the unique style of the videos where you take viewers on board with you. Viewers literally get to ‘ride-along’ with you, while you coach them through onboard microphones. But without further ado, Welcome Cookie, tell us a little about you.
Describe yourself in a few sentences.
I’ve been a full-time seasonaire since I left college. I teach skiing and snowboarding in the French Alps through the winter, coach windsurfing and run a water-sports operation in Vass, Greece (and many other places previously) in the summer. I’m passionate about teaching and coaching, trying to get people to succeed in their goals and realise their full potential in whatever sport I’m coaching. I also run instructor training and development- getting instructors qualified to join our school and qualified higher within the RYA windsurfing and wind foiling coaching scheme.
Where are you from and how did you make windsurfing a full-time part of your life?
I’m from Southampton on the south coast of the UK… but to be honest, by switching between warm beaches in Europe through the summer and the French Alpes in the winter I rarely sail back in the UK. I’ve learned and developed my coaching and windsurfing skills over the years of instructing and then training instructors overseas. In the Covid summer of 2020, my usual school decided not to open so I ended up in a small local school in a different part of Greece. With an unqualified and inexperienced team and little/no time to train them, I wanted to make a few videos that would help them become better instructors and sailors. I played with a few cameras and mics to create a few short training videos. They went down pretty well so I re-edited them specifically to upload and the Ride-Along Channel began!
Watch the latest Ride Along Video Cookie made for the Starboard Youtube Channel here:
What do you love most about windsurfing?
I love that as long as there is enough wind to move there is fun to be had on the water and things to be learnt. You can take very good windsurfers in light wind and flat water and really see progression and changes.
I like mixing coaching styles away from what students expect- with the aim of them finding the “eureka” moment… the light bulb going off in your head when you understand exactly how something works. A lot of the time this is taking the focus away from technique and looking into tactical choices, or kit selection and choice.
For example… the planing carve gybe- everyone wants to know what to do with their head, shoulders knees and toes, how the rig flip should be done, or how the foot change should work… but if we switch our focus to “when & where” rather than “how” we can get easy success… the direction of the board, speed of the board, timings of the transition and movements… rather than the specifics of the movement of the feet/rig/body.
What’s your favourite Starboard?
Ok…tough one to answer… I could say the Foil-X for the perfect free-ride foil set up that I’ve been using loads lately…. the Ignite 103 as my playtime, freestyle and all rounder-board… the Kode 95 for my higher wind coaching board and bump & jump… but actually one I really love and spend a lot of time coaching on is the Go! Stable, fast, forgiving, early planing… advanced windsurfers who ride 100ish litre boards and want to carve gybe I’ll put them back on a 120-150 go for a session or two (in strong winds and flat water that we get here in Vass). The speed and stability allow for mistakes to be corrected mid-gybe and still hold the speed through the turn. Fun, fast and forgiving is the best way to describe it- perfect for all levels to learn, develop and train their skills on!
Want To Ride Along with Cookie? Then make sure to check out his Youtube Channel here