Windsurfing: Sport release from everyday life

Brothers Tom (left) and Joe McGregor, of Christchurch, at the New Zealand windsurfing...
Brothers Tom (left) and Joe McGregor, of Christchurch, at the New Zealand windsurfing championships yesterday. The championships on Otago Harbour finish today.

The McGregor brothers' windsurfing was put on hold two years ago after the February earthquake in Christchurch.

The family lived at Redcliffs, where there was a danger of rocks falling on top of their house.

Joe (14), his mother and younger brother moved to Taumarunui to stay with their cousins. Older brother Tom (17) boarded with his cousin at Hamilton Boys' High School.

Joe, the youngest competitor at the New Zealand windsurfing slalom championships in Dunedin, is competing in the event for the first time and Tom is back for a second crack.

Their house received a red sticker after the February earthquake and they had to move out.

''I moved to Hamilton Boys' High School for a term,'' Tom said.

''We then moved back to our house at Redcliffs.''

The family will have to move to a new home once the insurance and other matters have been sorted out.

''It's been a worrying time for us,'' Tom said.

''Everything is changing and there is always roadworks going on. We have to take a different route to school each day.''

The boys are pupils at St Andrew's College in Christchurch and find windsurfing is a release from the grind and dust of everyday life.

''I find freedom out there on the ocean by myself,'' Tom said.

''It is quite peaceful and there is so much variety.

''I like wave riding at the beach and going fast on the estuary.''

Their father, Mark, introduced Tom to windsurfing and Joe followed a few years later.

''I like going fast and windsurfing gives me the freedom to do what I like,'' Joe said.

''If I feel like slalom riding I can do it and if I feel like wave surfing I can do that.''

He admitted being scared occasionally.

''If I hit a big jump when I'm going fast and go high in the air, it looks a bit scary when I look back down,'' Joe said.

He once broke his right foot when he was windsurfing at the estuary in Christchurch.

Tom has never hurt himself windsurfing but he has broken his expensive equipment.

Gareth Wood (Dunedin) dominated sailing yesterday and after 10 races looks set to capture the New Zealand men's open slalom title on the Otago Harbour today.

Annie Crombie (Christchurch) leads the women's field and Jim Rodgers (Auckland) heads the silver fleet.

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