Many of you will have seen Duncan Monaghan often out windsurfing till its dusk in any conditions as he hones his skills.
Duncan started in Saturday Club and learnt to sail dinghies, but his heart was set on windsurfing, and after a course at the club, Duncan has had a remarkable career to date. I remember just soon after the initial course helping to teach the group of young sailors (including Molly Sprekley who is also doing well) starting on a race course. We concentrated on starts where to be and how to get the best position. Duncan was there pin end of the line at his first practise start (beat Russ there!) and on the third start had realised if he tacked off he would be well ahead at the windward mark. So started his career racing in windsurfing. I felt he had national squad potential then. He was soon doing well nationally thanks to his dedication and that of his parents, with comments from coaches of “where has he come from!” Over the last few years he has improved and picks up techniques from windsurfing members as well as the national circuit.
Windsurfing racing starts on Bic Techno’s and then Youths move onto the Tokyo Olympic board, the RSX, windsurfing in Paris (2024) will be on foils.
2020 was Duncan’s last year on a techno 7.8, he hoped to defend his UK title and step onto an international podium. He planned to build on his experience in Team GBR at European and World championships in Israel and Cadiz. The year started last February with French Nationals in Marseille. Big swells and light winds were a real challenge, he finished 5th. Coronavirus as it was then called, was on the rampage in nearby Northern Italy – He was quite ill for two weeks on return?
That became the last and only competition of 2020 as preparations were dashed with postponements that became cancellations. When lockdown finished and early school holidays began, he went to train with a friend in Poole which led to a fantastic summer, including weekly racing with the Olympic seniors in Weymouth. This meant a transition to the bigger RSX board which Emma Wilson kindly lent him and invited him to train with her. Emma (ex NCSC) is the GBR Tokyo Olympic entry, a signed poster memento awaits our clubhouse wall when it re-opens. She suggested he join her at the RSX Europeans in Portugal, Duncan could be seen training with her sail number on the lake. He felt so ready – but alas, lockdown 2 prevented travel at the last minute.
Tokyo (if it happens) will be the final outing of the traditional RSX windsurf board, the iQfoil has been chosen to replace it and the RYA have also now made that the youth pathway. So, with a board borrowed from our ever-supportive Russ Towns and a second-hand foil, Duncan took to the air! Sometimes in watery cartwheels. He is often now seen weaving amongst our magnificent NCSC Topper squad. “I’m learning again, and now I realise how much that is what I love above all”. Duncan is hoping to make the GBR youth iQfoil team to compete in European and World championships in 2021. Slight delay…Lockdown 3 has brought hopefully Duncan’s last and temporary transition – his rig bolted to a mountain board!