“The OTC UK is in business to showcase windsurfing, kitesurfing and SUPing on one of the most prominent marine leisure arenas in the UK. In addition to offering clients the first real opportunity to try and compare equipment from a wide variety of brands for themselves, the centre has an affiliated school to teach the respective watersports at every level.
“Our purpose-built facilities will also enable clients to try before they buy, to ensure the kit that they ultimately choose is right for their needs. The tuition and guidance provided has the main focus to ensure safe and enjoyable progression on the water for all clients, encouraging regular participation, even through the winter months.”
The Official Test Centre is the brainchild of Tris Best, who, acknowledging the privileged position he was in, testing all the latest windsurfing equipment in favourable conditions, wanted to extend the same opportunity to everyone.
With more disciplines and brands appearing every year, the range of boards and sails available on the market has become overwhelming for many, making the decision on which board or sail to buy very complicated and confusing.
Tests and reviews of windsurf kit go a long way to clarifying the situation, but ultimately there is no substitute for trying the equipment for yourself.
You can test-drive a car before you decide to invest; you try clothes on to check they fit…you even smell a perfume or aftershave to see if it suits. Well now, at long last, the same opportunity to ‘try before you buy’ is available for windsurfers.
Weymouth and Portland
Weymouth and Portland have a great deal to shout about, from the only World Heritage Coastline in the UK with breath-taking coastal paths, to vast sheltered family beaches … and a whole host of activities to keep the most energetic visitor coming back for more. A short trip from London, Portland Harbour played host to the sailing classes of the 2012 Olympic Games, and is sure to provide a lasting legacy for the area for many years to come.
This is what Weymouth Tourist Centre have to say: “The Classic Seaside Resort of Weymouth, with its fantastic beach and vibrant harbour, nestles perfectly alongside the rugged ‘Isle’ of Portland, the perfect place for visitors who just want to get away from it all. With plenty of places to eat and drink, and all year round events, attractions and activities there’s something for everyone. Isn’t it time you discovered Weymouth and Portland … the Natural Place to be!” Click here to be redirected to their homepage.
Watersports in Portland Harbour
Flat water arenas don’t come much better than Portland Harbour. It has some of the best wind statistics of the south coast of England, is accessible in all wind directions and tide states, and can cater for all abilities, from the complete beginner to the seasoned speed fanatic or freestyle maestro. The legacy of Weymouth Speed Week – one of the longest running annual windsurfing competitions in the world, is testament to just how special a stretch of water Portland Harbour is for watersports. The location that has it all, making windsurfing, kitesurfing and SUPing accessible for everyone.
The OTC Team
Providing an inexhaustible source of advice, not to mention a tireless amount of enthusiasm to inspire you on the water, the OTC team is a highly professional outfit dedicated to ensure your visit to us is both enjoyable and fulfilling.
Tris Best - OTC Director
Having graduated from the Industrial Design course at Loughborough University in 2001, Tris was headhunted for the post of Features Editor at the UK’s Windsurf Magazine. Taking on the additional role as their Test Editor in 2004, he left the office life in 2006 to co-found The OTC. Inventing the centre’s unique selling point, Tris’ driver was for a more accurate way of testing and evaluating windsurfing equipment, not just for magazines and the end consumer, but the brands themselves as well. He remains the magazine’s Test Editor and works for the RYA as a Trainer in his ‘spare time’, helping to bring on the next wave of windsurfing ambassadors.
Maurin Rottenwalter - Centre Manger
The foundation of the centre! Maurin first started working for the OTC in May 2013 and is such an accomplished Centre Manager, he didn’t stop working for two weeks straight! Easy going, knowledgeable and a great windsurfer in his own right, he can often be seen during the summer months teaching a large group of novices without the necessity of a rescue boat, guiding the ‘Doogie-Downwind’ student back upwind whilst sailing next to them… his front foot on their board for control! With experience managing centres in Italy, Sardinia and Fuerteventura he has taught windsurfing in some pretty challenging locations, so Portland Harbour is a doddle!
Joe North - Chief Instructor
Joe has been with us on and off since we opened the centre in the UK in 2010. A very accomplished sailor, he has a real passion for all types of water sports, belied by his relaxed, laid-back character. A fantastic instructor that will pick out real gems for you to concentrate on to keep you progressing, and has the patience of a saint. He learns new stunts on the water quickly and adds real value to the team when testing.
Bryony Webb - A Local Legend
Bryony joined the team back in 2018 and has been an integral part ever since. Born and bred in Weymouth, she trained in Outdoor Adventure at the local college, before we managed to steal her for ourselves. She has a fantastic teaching style and masses of experience in dealing with large groups of young people. Our team’s SUP master, she keeps the rest of us in check, particularly when it comes to keeping the centre tidy!
Dan Hallam - Our Swiss Army Knife
Dan has worked in the watersports industry for many years now, fulfilling many different roles. From instructor and Beach Manager to Dinghy Coach and kite foiling maestro, when he’s not teaching on the water, Dan can be found learning the latest watersport, trying out some new kit, or flying his drone over the water. He’s worked for many different notable companies over the years and brings with him lots of experience and exciting ideas for the future.
Alex Green - The Super Sub
Alex works part time for The OTC and can teach all our primary sports, being a windsurfing SI, SUP and experienced kitesurfer. Always smiling, no job is ever too much for Alex, and he’ll make sure every client under his watch goes away having learnt lots.
One of the great things about being right next to the water’s edge is our capacity to provide the ideal training arena and support for a team of inspiring riders. They are all fantastic ambassadors for the sport; all super approachable and simply love to talk windsurfing ‘until the cows come home’. We couldn’t ask for a greater bunch of riders to be associated with, and are incredibly proud of their ever mounting list of achievements in the sport.
Kev Greenslade - The Speed Mentor
Born and raised in the area, Kev is a gentle giant on land and a crazed speed freak on the water! Having participated in various fleets from an early age, he is always competitive and speed comes naturally to him. He’s claimed countless national speed titles over the years and is Mr Consistent in slalom as well, having claimed the second step pretty much throughout the BSA history. Training locally with Portland Beach CrossFit, he can be found down the centre or on the water whenever possible … and now that his son is taking to the water too, Kev can’t stop grinning! A real ambassador for the team and the sport as a whole, it is great to have Kev as a member of the team.
Si Pettifer - Mr Motivator
You may well hear (or hear of) Si before you actually see him … and he’s normally either teasing his friends or telling anyone who cares to listen how good windsurfing is, and how good the conditions are out on the water! A big cuddly bear, capable of growing some impressive facial plumage in the winter months, he will always be on hand to encourage you on the water and push his peers to faster speeds and tighter turns. There’s an old adage in the sport that goes, “If you can’t pose, you can’t windsurf!” and never is this more true than when watching Si on the water, whenever a camera lens is about!
Scotty Stallman - Future Champ
Scotty Stallman first came down the centre when he had just turned nine years old and immediately took to the sport, encouraged by his parents, Andy and Jo, as they knew their son needed to be challenged to remain interested. Don’t think they could have chosen a better sport! At 11 years old Scotty had broken the 30knot barrier (thanks to the tips and mentoring of local hero Pete Young) and by 14yrs had gone over 40knots! Top youth for several years on the BSA circuit, he claimed his first bullet in the Pro Fleet at 15.
There is simply nothing stopping this young man’s progression, his commitment and focus something quite unique. We’re so proud to support Scotty and can’t wait to see what dizzy heights in the sport he will reach.
Sam Anstey - The Polite Assassin
Sam started windsurfing not long after Scotty, being in the same year at Wey Valley school and getting a taste for the sport at around ten years old. He has always been the politest kid around, often taking an age to leave the centre at the end of the day because he couldn’t stop saying thank you! He’s grown up into a real gentleman … but with a determined competitive edge on the water, and claimed the 2017 Amateur title on the BSA circuit with a event to spare! A pleasure to have around the centre, he is now working locally for a dynamic design studio, and has a windsurfer as a boss … so it’s tools down when the conditions are good!
James Faley - Young Blood
James has been windsurfing with us since he was ten and has already successfully pursued various racing pathways, including the Junior OD Techno Class, and Olympic RS:X. Having always dabbled in slalom racing when the opportunity was there, he stormed to victory during the closing events of 2018, hardly dropping a single bullet in the Amateur fleet of the UKWA. He is now competing in the Pro Fleet and will raise a few of his peers’ eyebrows around the course. Friendly, helpful and an awesome instructor in his own right, it is a real pleasure having James on the team.
How to Get Here
Portland and the National Sailing Academy are very well connected to the various transport networks.
OTC UK is very easy to find by road. Follow directions to Portland through Weymouth, and once you go across the causeway onto Portland, take the left at the first roundabout. The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) and ‘windsurfing school’ are signposted. The OTC UK building will be the first building on your left, just the other side of the fence, next to the north-facing launch slipway.
OTC UK is situated within the grounds of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy at the following address:
OTC UK c/o WPNSA
Weymouth and Portland have excellent public transport connections, with regular train arrivals and departures operated by South West Trains.
- Direct hourly service to/ from London Waterloo (2hrs, 40mins)
- Direct regular service to/ from Bristol Temple Meads (2hrs, 45mins)
- Direct frequent service from Southampton Parkway & Southampton Station (approx. 1hr)
- For train journey times and information please see www.nationalrail.co.uk or call National Rail Enquiries 08457 484950.
From the train station aim to get bus number 1 or 601, operated by First Group, to Portland.These are the most frequent, with the Number 1 stopping opposite the Academy on the way onto Portland.
Here are a number of accommodation suggestions that lie close to the centre.
Acqua Beach, Weymouth
The Acqua Beach Hotel is a funky B&B overlooking Weymouth’s famous seafront. Situated perfectly to take in all the iconic sights and sounds of Weymouth’s Victorian vista, it has a very welcoming atmosphere, run by Charlotte – who is the life and soul of the party. Chill out, enjoy the beach and then return for a cocktail sundowner at the hotel’s Bar AcQua.
The Heights Hotel
Situated overlooking the centre at the top of Portland, The Heights Hotel offers amazing panoramic views along the Jurassic Coast. There are plenty of options for lodging and their friendly staff will help point you in the right direction. Quote “OTC” when you book in and receive a preferential rate as well!
Cove Holiday Park
Nestled within the grounds of Portland’s Pennsylvania Castle Estate, the Cove Holiday Park is close to the centre and practical for the active enthusiast. With caravans, pods and chalets available, there is something to meet every budget, visit duration and preference. Next to the Park is the Cove Lodge, that offers luxury accommodation and stunning views, and then onto Pennsylvania Castle itself, which is also available for those special functions that demand a touch of class. For more information, get in touch with the park on 01305 821286 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Aqua Hotel
The Aqua Hotel is situated in Castletown on Portland, just a few minutes walk along the marina from the centre. Made of Portland stone, the hotel has 25 en-suite rooms, with TVs and wireless broadband in each room. Providing a friendly welcome at affordable prices, it’s an easy place to rest those weary bones after a long day on the water. Click on the Aqua’s logo on the right to be redirected to their site.
The Bunker: B&B
The Bunker offers clean and simple bunk style rooms, each with its own shower and sink, and communal toilets. Providing a “hearty English breakfast to set you up for the day” (or you can opt for self-catering), the Bunker is within walking distance of the centre and offers an excellent affordable alternative.