A Royton man is competing in the Professional Windsurfing Association's Windsurfing World Championship in Gran Canaria.

John McLawrence is representing the UK in the 45 and over masters category and is currently in Gran Canaria awaiting his chance to impress the competition judges. 

The 49-year-old said: "It's scary. Because I'm in the masters I've been waiting around for two or three days nervous."

John said that the competition allows the professionals to compete first, and keep the other contenders 'on hold' on the beach.

"I started about 20 years ago- I used to play rugby for Oldham Rugby League but it started getting a bit rough for my age so I started windsurfing at Hollingworth Lake.

"It was my brother who taught me, and from there on I just took to it and now I travel all over the place for windsurfing. 

"If there's a bit of a wind forecast I'm gone."

John has competed in competitions such as Scotland's Tiree Wave Classic and mainly sails in Rhosneigr Bay in Anglesey. 

He frequently drives the four-hour round trip to practice his windsurfing skills.

John McLawrence competing in the world championship in Gran CanariaJohn McLawrence competing in the world championship in Gran Canaria (Image: Professional Windsurfing Association)  

John's wife, Elizabeth, is in Gran Canaria supporting him in the competition. 

She said: "He is in the masters category and is 49 years old, it has always been his dream to compete in this world event before he reaches 50.

"This is unusual to do so well in this sport when he's not been brought up in a coastal area."

The competition was originally for professional windsurfers only, but they opened the sport up to a wider range.

Competitors are scored by a panel of judges who will give points based on two jumps, turns and will also judge the windsurfer on the wave they choose to perform on as well as the area of the wave they use for each feature.

However, those who fail to land a jump will score nothing at all. 

The scores are then totalled out of 40 and whoever has the highest score wins the 'heat', which is what they call the group the surfers compete in.