THE 2XS TEAM
Simon learnt to windsurf in 1976, aged 11 (before a lot of the rest of the team were born!) He competed in Windsurfer Class Div 1, UKBSA, Johnnie Walker Speed Events, Schmirnoff and the South West Funboard Cup. He became the Production Board Speed record holder in the UK on a Klepper 272! He was an IWA (International Windsurfing Association) Instructor at 16 and then became an RYA Level 5 Windsurfing Instructor. He co-founded the British Speed-sailing Association was a committee member for the BWA. He was the test editor of On Board and Windsurf magazine and a Carlsberg/Mistral team member, one of the first pilots/sailors of a wind glider (a hanglider/windsurfer crossover) called the wind weapon.
He has worked in Vassiliki and Tarifa as an instructor and has travelled to some of the best windsurfing and SUP spots on the planet including Ireland, Cabarete, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Barbados, Egypt, Fuerte, Maui, Hawaii, California and Baja, Mexico.
Simon set up 2XS® in 1989 with wifey Jane and started selling mountain bikes, windsurf gear, snowboards and power kites.Simon: We had a grant from The Princes Youth Business Trust and a superb PYBT business advisor called Jacques Chapman. We came second in a national business contest and received an award from HRH Prince Charles. We took over the Windsurf Club at West Wittering in 1991 when windsurfing was nearly banned on the beach and set the first beach zoned windsurf safety system in the UK. Since then, we have added kitesurfing to this. 2XS® moved its entire operation online to www.2XS.co.uk in 2005 and sold the freehold on the shop site.
Simon’s involvement in watersports has been extensive, he was one of the first paddlesurfers in the UK in 2006, cofounded BSUPA and currently is Joint Head Coach and Chairman. Simon did a team world record attempt channel crossing in 2010 on an SUP to raise money and awareness for Surfers Against Sewage charity and raised £10,000. He has also written with Andy Gratwick the BSUPA teaching scheme which has over 100 schools and more than 20,000 students a year completing BSUPA courses.
Along with this Simon is a trustee and works with Dan Charlish and his team on the Virgin Kite Armada and the SUP Armada – as charity fund raisers (raising more than £120,000 to date) and has notched up 4 Guiness World Records as an event organiser and competitor (SUP).
THE REAL BOSS
Jane is the better looking half of 2XS and Jane runs the admin side of both 2XS.co.uk and X-Train.
She worked in distribution for Reef and Gaastra Sails and has travelled with Simon to some of the best windsurfing spots in the world.
Jane splits her time between the office and looking after the kids: Holly and Daisy.
Jane deserves a medal of honour for the hard work she puts in whilst putting up with Simon’s excuses for why he can’t be in the office when it’s windy because there is kit to be tested!
THE BEACH TEAM
Max has been working in Rhodes, Kos and Cape Verde and has recently come back from a winter surfing trip in Costa Rica.
Max goes for it on the water and has also recently done his lifeguard qualifications. Max is a solid instructor who has plenty to offer new recruits, he has lots of positive energy which is always focused on getting the most out of each lesson.
James (aka The Kitemaster) flew straight to The Witterings from the Dominican Republic where he has been teaching kitesurfing on idyllic sandy beaches across the ocean.
NEAL GENT – Kite – Windsurf – SUP
Neal learnt to windsurf when he was 7 and did the National Racing Circuit for years. The Isle of Wight is a prime wavesailing spot so as soon as the kite came along racing went out the window! Neal won the amateur Nationals in 2000 and then competed for three years in the Pro Fleet Top Ten.
Kitesurfing was an obvious progression and Neal switched to the Kite Pro Circuit for another 3 years. His real love is to get out in the waves though which then led onto his latest Pro title. In 2008 and 2009 Neal took the BSUPA (British Stand Up Paddling Association) National Title.
Neal is a bit of a legend on the water – he is a stand out windsurfer, kiter, surfer and paddlesurfer. He is a serious competitor and when he is not on the water he has a full time career as a senior doctor.
Neal has surfed, windsurfed, paddled and kited all the major spots from Indo to Barbados, Portugal to Ireland.
We have worked with Neal for more than 15 years – he has great technical knowledge and a real passion for innovation(you should see his new hydrofoil!) and learning new moves – he is always on the water when the conditions are decent.
STU HOLLAND – Kite – SUP
Stu has been with 2XS since the early 90’s he is one of the best windsurfers on the south coast and has been British Wave Champion in 1987. He has windsurfed at all the top sports from Ho’okipa Maui, Margaret River, Baja and Pistol River California. In the 90’s Stu was one of the UK hottest talents in wavesailing.
Even though Stu and his family have moved the New Zealand recently for 3 years he is still part of our crew and we look forward to the Hollands returning in a few seasons time.
Now Stu doesnt windsurf much due to injuries but can been seen shredding waves on his wave kite or SUP. Stu has a real talent and knowledge when it comes to waves – he is not shy when it gets big. He has the skill to pick out the rideable sections and make it.
Stuart’s long term partner Billie and their kiddies, Poppy and Ollie, can be seen on the beach each time its windy – it’s great to watch them both deciding who is going to look after the kids whilst the other is out on the water!
Stuart has been an important part of the 2XS Team – he has won lots of events and stacks of coverage in the magazines. Stu rides RRD kites and kiteboards and JP Custom SUPS.
HOLLY BASSETT – SUP
Holly was brought into the watersports arena before she could swim properly and had her first windsurfing experience at just 2. She has been surfing, windsurfing, paddlesurfing and has had a go at kitesurfing for many years now.
Holly became our X-Train Rippers “experiment” and over the last 5 years she has excelled and competed extensively in SUP surfing events. Holly is currently BSUPA British Womens 2014 Champion (she also gained the title in 2013 at 15 years of age); she was placed =11 in the ISA Worlds in Nicaragua in 2014 and will be competing as part of Team GB in the ISA Worlds in Mexico in 2015.
Holly is sponsored by Fanatic, Kialoa, Sweaty Betty, Dakine, 2XS & Prosport sunscreen.
ALEX MCKIRGAN – Windsurf
Alex was part of our X-Train Rippers success story, like Holly, James & Jack. Alex got stuck into windsurfing at the age of 5 with his parents delivering him to the beach whenever it was windy, teamed up with some nice trips to Maui and Baja. Alex is now riding Ho’okipa and has competed on the AWT Tour in Baja (2nd Youth in 2014).
Alex can be seen out at West Wittering ripping it up on the water windsurfing – he is pretty handy on a SUP too.
Alex is sponsored by Quattro, Ezzy and 2XS.
JAMES ARNELL-SMITH – Windsurf
Jimbo has been out on the water at West Wittering beach since the ripe old age of 5. He started in our X-Train Rippers program and since then has been out on the water every time the wind has blown or the surf has been rolling in.
James is a good surfer, paddlesurfer and wavesailor – finishing in 4th position at Gwithians BWA event 2014.
James has been attending the X-Train Rippers/Sam Ross Elite Squad over the winter.
James is sponsored by Tabou, GA Sails & 2XS.
JACK PETTIT – Windsurf
Jack lives nearly on the beach at West Wittering, and has been seen out on the water since he was about 5 years old. His parents who both windsurf have brought Jack to the beach at every opportunity and delivered his gear to the waters edge for him, dividends pay off and he is now out there winning competitions.
Jack is a great technical sailor who thrives in competition – he gained the title of Youth Champion at the BWA in Gwithians in 2014 and is looking to keep his crown for the 2015 season.
Jack is sponsored by Tabou, GA Sails, Amiri & 2XS.
2XS WEB TEAM
EMILE KOTT (Web lord)
Emile has worked as an Instructor on the beach at X-Train and also in the office at 2XS – he is a great windsurfer, surfer and paddlesurfer. Plus he has more time on holiday than anyone I know (including Mark Perry!)….
He has a total passion and is obsessed with the sport – Emile has worked for both Boards magazine writing and testing gear and Boardseeker. He has travelled all over the world windsurfing including Brazil, Maui, Tenerife, Ireland, Barbados, Morroco.
Emile is also a computer expert and set up Acroweb where he designs and develops websites (unless its windy!).
Emile sails Goya boards and sails and uses a JP Custom SUP.
JULIA TOMS (Photo Pro)
Julia is our local pro photographer and is usually spotted checking the surf on her cruiser bike or pursuing her favourite hobby kitesurfing. She is also rather handy with computers and works part-time for updating our website, taking and editing photos/video and keeping our social media flowing.
She moved to the area age 3 and has always been a water baby so is the one to turn to for local knowledge. She also has an extensive array of stamps in her passport and claims to have snorkelled (not surfed!) a number of epic surf spots; Margaret River, Pipeline, Ponta Preta to name a few…
Julia uses RRD Religion wave kites, Symms surfboards, and Canon cameras!