Friday 1 February 2013

Young Talented Speed Surfer - Scotty Stallman

Not long ago a new regular turned up at our local salty lake. Scotty Stallman was small in stature, but not in ambition. One week after his ninth birthday he began his first few lessons with Tris Best at the very popular OTC (Official Test Centre, which delivers for any ability or age and is now partnered with PuraVida Boardriders).

He progressed quickly and soon became a popular part of the local scene. Over the last year I have seen full grown adults stay on shore because of less than ideal conditions, while Scotty was out clocking up some incredible distance.

The one thing that amazes me is how long he will go out for, he sails for hours on end, only coming in to refuel, or change up or down. His caddy is usually stood around drinking coffee, ready to rig a new sail for him when needed ;-)

His caddy is his dad, Andy Stallman. Many of you will recognise the name as most of the pictures I post are thanks to him. As a teacher myself I have huge respect for the amount of time and effort Andy puts in with his son, if all the parents of the kids I teach did that then my job would be a lot more pleasurable.

Scotty often sails with his mentor and speed coach Pete Young. There is no one better or more experienced at Portland Harbour than Pete, who usually guards his secrets closely. He shares them freely with Scotty and this is reflected in his progress (Here on GP3S are his posted sessions). I have no doubt that with the right conditions Scotty will get his 30knot badge now, and potentially could be one of the youngest ever to reach 40knots.

Tris Best helping Scotty get going for the first of many times.
Tris Best of the OTC has this to say about Scotty's progress.
I've taught Scotty since he was just 9 years old, and from the first lesson it was clear he had the determination and conviction to excel in the sport. 
The thing I remember most was meeting Andy for the first time and him introducing me to Scotty by saying something like, "Hi, I'm Andy and this is my son Scotty. I've tried to break him loads of times but it is just not possible, so do your worst!" Parents know their children best and Andy knew that Scotty gets bored quickly if he's not stimulated or pushed. That's why I think windsurfing has hit a chord with the little man - just when he thinks he has reached a plateau, along comes another challenge. Isn't that why we all do the sport - for the challenge. To reach that new speed, hit a new wave or learn a new manoeuvre. 
Scotty with another of his coaches, Kev Greenslade. Both sailing the Tandem
The difference with Scotty is that he has experienced the rush of pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone at an age when most of his peers are probably building tree dens, playing kiss chase or picking the scabs off their knees from their latest skateboard mishap! I think it is rare to find someone as focussed as he is at his age and I think a massive amount of credit should go to Andy and Jo for understanding what makes their kid tick and giving him the opportunities they have.

Scotty has recently joined the Portland Pirates Speedsailing team, whose captain Mark "Swagger" Matthews has been particularly impressed with his performance. Mark has this to say.
Dogfish (Scotty Stallman) where do I start? The most remarkable up and coming speed sailor, I think in the U.k. There may obviously be others out there but Dogfish is the only one posting and I think he is the fastest kid for his age on the block ever! A pleasure to have him under my wing in The Portland Pirates where I hope he will keep it up and listen to the faster boys. At 11 years old and peaking at just over 29 knots already its quite exciting to witness this new era.
As you can see from the white horses, this was a windy day. Scotty was holding his 5.4m North Warp down with ease while another sailor twice his size said he was overpowered on a 6.3m.
Please comment below to show your support to Scotty, at 11 years old he shows more resilience and determination than most of us older folk put together. I expect to be able to add a footnote very soon that he has hit 30knots and no doubt a lot more by the time he reaches full size ;-) Recently he has also been venturing out into the waves, and also having a go at the local slalom. I am sure he will become a master of all disciplines over the next few years.

Finally and just for you Scotty, if you commit yourself to everything you want as much as you have with windsurfing then the world is yours. Both you and your Dad are some of the most popular faces down at our playground and I hope you will be joining us every windy day for a long time to come.

Good speeds and winds,
The Bus


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