WITH exactly a year to go until Rio 2016, South West Water is delighted to be supporting windsurfer Izzy Hamilton to help achieve her Olympic dreams.

Izzy, from Bude, is a professional windsurfer on the British sailing team. The 22-year-old races in the Olympic RS:X class, and is currently British female number two.

A former Youth World Champion, she has postponed finishing her degree in Geography at Exeter University to concentrate on qualifying to represent Great Britain at Rio and beyond.

She said: “I learned to windsurf at South West Water’s Tamar and Roadford Lakes, which are beautiful places to learn and perfect for windsurfing. I loved it from the start.

“I’ve just come back from the European Championships in Italy where I finished 10th, which I was really happy about. I’m campaigning to go to the Rio Olympics and the practical support from South West Water is very welcome. Only one person in the sport gets to go per country so we’ve got a tough qualification before then, but I’ll be doing my utmost to be selected. I’ve also got my sights on Tokyo 2020 and any Olympics after that!

“Water quality is crucial to windsurfing. We’re travelling at such high speeds that any small items in the water, like a tiny bit of plastic, can get stuck on the fin and be catastrophic, flinging you off your board.

“We’re really lucky here in the South West to have good water quality, and the sea is definitely really clean. That’s not the case around the world. I do a lot of surfing in Bude where I grew up — in fact the whole coastline in the South West is great for windsurfing, sailing, surfing and swimming.”

For the full report, and a round-up of the area news and sport, see this week’s edition of the Post.