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2014

My year in surfing

By December 28, 2014 Escape, Thoughts
Some of the surf highlights from this year - its been amazing!

Some of the surf highlights from this year – its been amazing!

Christmas is over for another year and it’s one of those in-between days…the lull before new year and a time when I reflect and look back on the year that is almost over.

In some respects, I have had an awful year after losing my dad very suddenly back in May. But when I think about the year that I have had in surfing, I can only describe it as epic! It’s been so much more than I ever could have imagined! Surfing has been the constant that has helped to bring some calm, balance, fun and extreme emotional high’s during a year when I have so badly needed it.

Things never work out the way you plan or envisage them, and in my first blog post of this year, I set myself some objectives – seven things I wanted to achieve during 2014. ‘Getting a go-pro’ and ‘getting a recent picture of me standing up riding a wave’ have both been ticked off, as has one of my key targets of ‘being able to stand up consistently.’ But the niggling shoulder injury that I suffered earlier on in the year put paid to me working on my pop-up.

It’s only now when I look back that I realise that the shoulder injury almost happened for a reason.

Because of that injury, I met surfabella and have since struck up a great friendship. I was also given some great advice from Biff at the Surfing Sumo, who, after reading the post about it on my blog, gave me the opportunity of the year – to write a regular piece for the website! I also went to Boardmasters for the first time as a result of the articles….the knock on effects have been amazing!

I also poured a lot more time into my blog and started sharing it around. Whilst I set myself a goal to ‘make more of the blog’, I never ever imagined meeting some of the truly amazing people that I have met this year and friendships that I have formed. The best surfs that I have had this year have been with the people I have met like Amy from Mellow Waves and Landlocked Surfer and his family. I have also met the amazing Dolly who has got to be surfing’s biggest fan!

But the shining star amongst the friends I have made is Kelly – a landlocked surfer, who, by coincidence, lives near me, surfs with the guys at Kingsurf and loves Mawgan Porth. To attend her wedding and share her special day has to be the highlight of the year. My first surfer wedding! We have become really good friends and I’m looking forward to surfing with her in the new year..in just a few days time!

I have surfed with my cousin, surfed during the winter, been to Devon and Cornwall and surfed some new spots like Perran Sands, Putsborough and Saunton. I have had some brilliant advice and pointers which I have put into practise, and surfed with Pete from Kingsurf who was amazed at my progress despite being landlocked.

Above all, I have had a total blast! My best moments from this year have always undoubtedly involved surfing in some way.

I may not have been surfing quite as often as I wanted this year or managed the ‘pop-up’, but I’m proud of what I have achieved. Since the session where it ‘clicked’ back in March, I can stand up so much more consistently, and gradually, the move to get to my feet has got progressively quicker. Getting off my knees is going to be a hard habit to break but the training I’m doing will set the groundwork and I’m confident that I WILL manage to achieve it in 2015.

I’m not really setting a list of objectives for next year – the pop-up is really the one and and only goal. As for the rest, I’m just going to go with the flow and see what happens!

So I’m looking ahead to 2015 with massive amounts of stoke and optimism. If this year has taught me anything, it’s that you can achieve anything you set your mind to…if you want it enough. It’s also taught me to be grateful and make the most of absolutely every moment as life is so precious, as things can change in the blink of an eye.

I’m going to surf as often as possible in 2015, starting on 1st January…

…and I can’t think of a better way to start the new year than in the sea on my surfboard.

Happy new year!

 

 

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Project surf fit update

By December 21, 2014 Surf more
Project surf fit...it's on!

Project surf fit…it’s on!

Back in October, I was feeling a bit out of sorts with the fitness or, at the time, lack of it, and decided to get project surf fit up and running again. My shoulder was mended so I really had no excuse…I just needed a kick up the backside and a structured plan.

For the past 6 weeks I have been working with a trainer at my local gym. It’s been fun, challenging, emotional and bloody hard work but 100% per cent worth it!

Sport-specific training

From the initial consultation with Kathryn, I knew I had chosen the right person to train me and I felt as though we were on the same wavelength. She specialises in sport-specific programmes and straight away talked about all the things that would help me to work towards my goal of being able to pop-up, have enough stamina to last in the sea, improve my balance and my overall fitness levels. We have also looked at diet and eating the right kind of foods to support my training.

Getting down to work

I wasn’t prepared for how hard I have found it but working with a trainer is exactly what I need to help really push and challenge me. After the initial session in the gym, it was apparent that a couple of spin classes a week had barely scratched the surface in terms of stamina, my upper body was weak and my balance, which I thought was decent needed work. A simple test of not being able to get on a swiss ball and balance for more than a second made this glaringly obvious!

My programme is a mixture of strength, cardio and my least favourite, (my most challenging and weakest area) plyometrics or ‘jump training.’ This will help with the explosive movements needed to pop up on my board – burpees, jump squats and lunges and mountain climbers.

I aim to go the gym five times a week and alternate a strength session with a cardio/plyo. My programme looks something like this:

My training programme - a mixture of strength, plyo and cardio

My training programme – a mixture of strength, plyo and cardio

Progress

Its real baby steps with the plyo exercises as it’s my biggest area of weakness but Im seeing real improvements in other areas I can run faster on the treadmill, I have upped my leg weights and I can now get on the swiss ball unaided and balance for almost 4 minutes! I am also seeing some physical changes – I have more muscle definition, my arms have shrunk and I have more energy. I feel strong and determined to succeed.

“This year, I’ve learned and realized how hard I need to work. I’m just realizing that in surfing and in life it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon,” Lakey Peterson

But I’m keeping pro surfer Lakey Peterson’s words firmly in my mind and recognise that this is all going to take time, a lot of patience and a whole heap of motivation (with the help of Kathryn!). I want this enough to not give up and whilst I’m not going to put any pressure on myself, my goals of being able to pop up and ride a shorter board are always going to be at the forefront!

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Go with the flow

By December 14, 2014 Surf more
Carrie yoga shoot by Joel Nilsson Nesson via Flickr (CC BY SA)

Carrie yoga shoot by Joel Nilsson Nesson via Flickr (CC BY SA)

The past few weeks have been really busy and at times, stressful. I have been exercising hard, Christmas shopping, had lots on at work, been sorting out my dad’s estate and catching up with people in the busy run up to the festive period.

I’m a firm believer in listening to my body, and a couple of weeks ago, when my shoulder flared up again, I knew it was time to ease off the gas. I took myself off to see my physio who thankfully told me that it wasn’t the old injury but a bit of tendonitis caused by overuse and tension. Luckily, I don’t have to take months off the gym this time, but I have dropped all my weights and been advised by both my personal trainer and physio to take up yoga. This will help ease tension and stress, increase my strength and flexibility and help to prevent injury. It will also help massively with surfing by helping me to develop a stronger core and improved balance.

So yesterday, I met up with my surf friend Kelly to try Hotpod Yoga – a vinyasa flow class that takes place in an inflatable, heated studio designed to restore calm, warm the muscles for increased flexibility and make you work harder.

As soon as I stepped inside the pod, I instantly began to feel calmer. The smell of essential oils wafted through the air and the mood lighting created an air of serenity as Siobhan welcomed the class and began guiding us through the sequences.

I had only been to two yoga classes before, neither of which prepared me for how dynamic this class was. It was really challenging, very physical but an amazing workout! It highlighted the areas which I struggle with in the gym (upper body strength) but also helped to restore some much needed calm. The massage at the end of the class was a lovely little bonus!

One very strange thing happened during the class and right at the end during meditation – I started to cry. The emotion just spilled over and I tried really hard to get a grip, particularly as i didn’t want to look like an idiot in front of the class. I have heard this can happen. Sophia at ‘The Surf Yogini’ blog explained how this happened to her during yoga teacher training, and the hotpod teacher confirmed it when she asked me if I was ok at the end. Like Kelly said to me, its an hour where you concentrate just on yourself any emotion that has been lingering is bound to come to the surface.

I really enjoyed the class and felt an air of calm around me as Kelly and I headed off for a shower and a cuppa before having a relaxing lunch at a near by pub. It gave us an opportunity to really catch up and of course, talk surf!

I really admire Kelly. She is such a positive person and doesn’t worry about stuff, unlike me. The whole day really gave me a kick to try harder to stop being so negative, stop worrying about everything and just enjoy life and make the most of it. Yoga is something that will be hugely beneficial and play a big part in having a better outlook, and although the hotpod class is a little far from my home to make it a regular thing, it will be a great occasional complement to the yoga class that I have already signed up for at my local gym :)

 

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When landlocked surfgirl met surfabella

By December 9, 2014 Surfer stories, Thoughts
Landlocked surfgirl and surfabella selfie

Landlocked surfgirl and surfabella selfie

When I started writing this blog, I never expected to make friends through it. I feel truly blessed as this year I have met some amazing and lovely people – all through a shared love of surfing.

One of those people is the lovely Surfabella who I met for the first time yesterday. Just a few months ago, she began blogging when she injured her shoulder (coincidentally, the same injury as me). We got chatting online sharing injury advice and tips, surfing stories and stoke and from then on, we kept in touch regularly. More recently, we have both been through a bit of a crap time and although up until that point we hadn’t met in person, we both felt like we already knew each other.

After engulfing each other in huge bear hugs, we headed for the nearest coffee shop for much needed tea and cake, especially for Surfabella, who had only arrived back in the UK just hours earlier from Morrocco. Total dedication to step off a flight, get a few hours shut eye, then to come and meet up with me. Amazing!

No hint of tiredness…just total stoke, the kind that comes off the back of a surf trip!

We talked for hours – about surf trips, surf spots and strops (we both do it!), fitness, longboards vs shortboards, male bravado in the sea, blogging, cool surf movies and books, the highs, the lows, the fears and frustrations, confidence, the need to feel constantly connected to it all, and just about everything you could think of relating to surfing. But it wasn’t all surfing – we chatted about all the stuff that comes in between when we are both landlocked; work, music, parents, friendships, life, faddy hobbies (of which surfing is not one of them, for either us).

So many similarities, so much in common – Surfabella even grew up in a part of the UK where I have relatives. Such a small world!

We couldnt work out of the hats were supposed to be huge or if our heads were just way too small!

We couldnt work out of the hats were supposed to be huge or if our heads were just way too small!

We laughed, and almost cried, smiled, and commiserated and after putting the surf world (and the real world) to rights, we headed to the only surf store in Birmingham to try on the hats before bidding a temporary farewell and promising to do a surf trip together in the not too distant future.

I took so much away from our little meet up but mainly, a friend who I felt like I had known a lifetime, a whole heap of stoke and huge admiration for this lovely lady. Not only is she landlocked, but she has no car and so can’t go off surfing at the drop of a hat…but this doesnt stop her. She flies down to Newquay and out of the UK on her own, and meets up with surfers that she doesn’t know – all stuff that really scares me. Her shoulder injury sounded so painful, and while I winged on about my less severe case, she got on with it, with huge amounts of patience and made the best out of what was a frustrating time.

She is so hugely passionate about surfing and has such a strong will to succeed at it. Her personality really shines through in her blog which is so witty and funny. I look forward to reading her posts as I know I will enjoy every word. I’m not doing her surfing journey any real justice here so go and check it out for yourself.

Thank you Surfabella! Stay stoked, keep surfing, and here’s to the start of a great friendship :)

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No words

By November 22, 2014 Thoughts

I sat on a train the other day, tears streaming down my face as I watched this, my heart aching for the sea.

It happens everytime I watch it. Two minutes of raw emotion that capture the highs, lows, beauty and energy of surfing, overlaid by a haunting cover of Bowie’s ‘Absolute Beginners.’

They say only a surfer knows the feeling….

 

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SUP in the city

By November 18, 2014 Escape
Standup paddleboarding

How standup paddleboarding looks to those who live by the coast…

Stand up paddleboarding is something I wanted to try over the summer when the surf was flat, but with no willing companion, I didn’t fancy heading out on my own. Hubby wasn’t crazy on the idea – he said “It’s just not the same as surfing.”

True, but when you are landlocked, you will do just about anything to get a fix, so on Sunday, me, hubby and my landlocked surf friend met up at Edgbaston Watersports in Birmingham for a half day SUP course.

Edgbaston Reservoir

…and the reality for landlocked folk! Edgbaston Reservoir on a murky November morning

Stark contrast

It was about as far from the idyllic view of SUP as you can get. Instead of salt water, blue skies and miles of open ocean, Edgbaston Reservoir is 2 miles from the city centre with a semi urban backdrop and a 2.2km expanse of grey water. It was a typical cold, November day, but I was up for a new challenge!

After getting suited up, it was time to say hi to my board for the day – a 12ft barge which was about 4 inches thick. Great stuff! Nice and floaty, as I didn’t fancy falling into the murky reservoir. Another plus point for the board – it had a handle so I was able to carry it! My short arms are a bit of hinderance when carrying my mal!

Into the unknown

Before entering the water, we had some pointers on how to hold the paddle, how to manoeuvre, our stance on the board, and how to get onto the board by firstly getting to our knees (preferably without falling in). Our group of 5 tentatively waded in and after some initial hesitation, we were up on our feet, and cruising along!

Then it was time to get more adventurous. Keith the instructor showed us how to turn and that was when the first of our group tested the temperature of the water! I felt sorry for this guy by the end as I lost count of how many times he fell in, but he took it in good spirit and didn’t appear to be put off.

We also had a go at speed paddling, shifting our feet into surfing stance (cue more swan dives into the reservoir), what to do if we were ever on the open sea and the winds change or we get caught in a rip current.

I managed to keep my balance, as did my friend as we made it round the 2.2km expanse of water without taking a plunge – girl power! My ‘steering’ went a bit awry at one point as I sailed into some trees but overall, I think I did ok and my balance skills really did me proud.

Landlocked SUPers

Landlocked SUPers…stoked and hooked!

Stoked!

I have to say that I had a grin on my face during the whole 2 hours and really surprised by how stoked I was! Ok so it wasn’t the sea, and I wasn’t riding waves on my surfboard, but it was so great to be on the water, just cruising along…and only 17 miles from home!

What surprised me even more was how much hubby had enjoyed it. From SUP cynic to total convert! So at the end of the course, when the instructor told us about the Inland SUP club and invited us to join, he was totally up for it! They have a club day every Sunday, and do regular events including a forthcoming Santa SUP ending at the pub!

I can see it being a more regular activity now – on flat days by the coast and as a great way to get a landlocked fix!

Huge thank you to Kelly for suggesting and organising this – if it wasn’t for her, we may never have tried it. Here’s to many more SUP days and possibly another water sport hobby to focus on during our landlocked weekends!

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Kook’s guide to buying a wetsuit

By November 14, 2014 Surf more

I have been meaning to write this post for a while now, when my landlocked surf friend originally asked me for some tips on buying her first wetsuit. I never got round to it, but after my husband made yet another expensive mistake with a wetsuit recently, he kindly offered to share his experiences to help save others from burning a massive hole in their wallet.

So, as guest blogger and in his own words….Landlocked surfguy:

Buying a wetsuit should be simple...it seemed so simple

Wetsuit selfie...the suit fits great but the go faster stripes did nothing for my surf ability!

Wetsuit selfie…the suit fits great but the go faster stripes did nothing for my surf ability!

I should know, I’ve bought lots of them. And that’s the problem, I didn’t need to. I live 200 miles away from the sea and surf a handful of times a year. In reality, I should have a summer and winter suit, which with lack of use, should last me about 5 years before falling apart.

However, I’m an idiot when it comes to buying wetsuits. I don’t mind admitting it now, because I’ve done it so many times (and have the credit card bill to prove it) that I feel well within my ‘kookish’ rights to provide some heartfelt advice. So here goes…

Definitely medium

In my opinion, Summer suits aren’t the problem. I have an O’Neill 4/3 Superfreak which leaks a little where the glue hasn’t quite done its job, and a funky coloured 3/2 Billabong which is comfortable and makes me feel like I know what I’m doing (I’ve coined this the ‘Slater Syndrome’). Both are great in the warmer months, but I NEED to surf all year round to stay sane, so I bought my first winter suit.

I was a little caught up with how it looked (trying to make up for my lack of surfing prowess maybe!) and of cause, I was a medium. The stats on the label said I was a medium. My O’Neill was a medium and I felt like a medium, so surely I was a medium. So without a second thought I spend £300 on a top of the range C-Skins winter suit (in a medium) – ACE!

Well actually not so ace. It flushed like no one’s business and therefore the fancy £300 thermal quick dry technology with ‘oxygen bubbles and super stretch intelligent massaging neoprene was rendered utterly useless. So I Ebay’d it for half the price after one wear and bought an O’Neill Mutant…… in a medium.

Second time lucky…?

I got it from a well-known online shop. It arrived promptly and I slipped it on. Wow! This was it! Problem solved! Soooo comfortable and this one was an even better fit on paper than the C-Skins. Medium, most definitely. Flush round the neck and wrists and it felt more like my 3/2 suit!

So, half term arrives and we head to Croyde. Bring it on – warm comfortable and epic surfing at Saunton was on my (deluded) mind. We paddle out. A medium size wave hits me and goes straight up the arms and down the side of the suit. Um, something not right – if this was the dead of winter I would be in trouble. Déjà vu moment …. so I Ebay’d it for half the price after one wear!

After much shivering and an occasional rude word I concluded that I know absolutely nothing about wetsuits and headed to Second Skin in Braunton for a little advice on the errors of my way.

One size does not fit all

Funny thing (and in hind sight not so surprising) is that actually I am not a medium at all – I’m a small tall. Turns out that comfortable in shop does not = comfort in the water. As wetsuits absorb water, they stretch. I am no expert though I have heard the value 10% banded about. So in the water, a suit which was comfortable and just right in the shop turns into a clown suit, which in freezing conditions is a bit of an issue.

I have ended up trying on so many brands, from Xcel to Billabong, C-skins to O’ Neill. I’ve considered Nineplus and Snugg, Alder and Ripcurl. All have different shapes and feel. You really need to experiment to find the one which is just right for you.

As it happens, Xcel is right for me and I now have a super snug, perfectly fitting suit, ready to tackle the Winter months.

The bottom line

I have ended up spending a large amount of money on getting a suit that fits me for the depths of winter. The money I wasted is actually enough for another board (I try not to think about that too much ), but its in the past. I really would hate others to make the same mistake as me so I have concluded that the following rules should be followed to avoid winter tears…

  • It should be almost too tight on dry land
  • You are not a medium just because you know you are a medium….
  • Buy from a local shop, not an online store and listen to the advice. They are the experts and they know best…period! They will also check that the suit fits as it should
  • Choose a manufacturer whose fit works for you…not cos it works for your mate or because Kelly Slater wears that brand
  • You get what you pay for… don’t scrimp on a winter suit. You can get away with it in summer, but in the darker months you will wish you had been a little more exuberant with the wallet
  • Not that I bought one, but if nothing seems to fit right, Snugg will make you a custom suit that fits just right
  • Go faster stripes don’t improve your surfing

At the end of the day surfing is all about having fun, whatever your level of ability. Come the winter it may be a little bit harder to make a 400 mile round trip, but with a cosy suit, it’s most definitely worth the effort

 

 

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Plateau

By November 5, 2014 Uncategorized
Dawn patrol - some nice lines at Saunton on day one

Dawn patrol – some nice lines at Saunton on day one

Last week I spent 5 days in North Devon. It had been 6 weeks since my last surf so I was looking forward to an intensive few days of surfing.

Studying the tide times in advance, and taking the local ‘Eyeball’ surf report into account, we got up early each day to catch the mid to high pushing tide at our favoured break of Saunton. Here’s how it went:

Surf session one

Waxing the boards for session one

Waxing the boards for session one

We left the caravan at dark ‘o’ clock and watched the sunrise as we waxed our boards. We were amongst the first few in the sea and were greeted with about 3ft waves, fairly strong cross onshore winds which made things a bit messy. I missed the first couple of waves and thought I was in for a howler but I found my rhythm and got some nice long rides. The sets were coming through consistently and there wasn’t much time in between waves.

A slight rip made me nervous, and although the waves were allegedly only 3ft, they seemed a lot bigger. I chickened out of trying for green waves and practised in the white water.

As the tiredness crept in (due to lack of sleep and lack of stamina), I noticed that I got slower and slower at getting to my feet.

Surf session two

Session two - time to try the new wetsuit, more about that soon!

Session two – time to try the new wetsuit, more about that soon!

2ft and fairly clean. I got a little more confidence back so went for the green waves. I caught a couple but because I’m still using my knees to get to my feet, which slows me down, it also causes a moment of almost ‘what do I do now oh my god I’m going to wipeout’ panic and so I freeze on my knees. The result is actually quite funny watching it back on my action cam. There’s a look of ‘oh shit’ on my face before going under.

Generally, a better surf than the previous day as I felt a bit more confident. Stand up ratio is 8/10 today but I look slow at getting to my feet and my paddling still needs a lot of work despite the fact that I now raise my chest off the board. Still tired due to a disturbed night and my lack of surf fitness (which I’m working on and will take time) really shows.

Surf session three

Post surf, session three. Was knackered at this point but still smiling!

Post surf, session three. Was knackered at this point but still smiling!

Early doors again and three surfs in a row is really catching up with me. I’m knackered! 1ft, clean and fun today and this is the best session out of the three and sods law, I decided not to bother with my action cam. My stand up feels a little bit quicker and its a 9/10 ratio but its still on my knees. It’s got to be a real habit now and maybe I’m using the lack of upper body strength as an excuse. It’s easy to get to my feet using knees and I guess I measure a successful session as to the number of waves I’m up on my feet and riding them all the way to the shore line.

What’s going on?

I had a great time during this trip but when I think about how I felt when I was riding those waves, and looking back on the footage since, I didn’t get that amazing feeling of stoke like I used to – the adrenalin rush at the thrill of catching the wave and the amazing pure bliss feeling.

I came to the conclusion that perhaps I have reached a bit of a plateau and that I need to challenge and push myself to the next level. To do this though, I have a few things I need to do:

  • Give myself credit. I put way too much pressure on myself to be a half decent surfer and don’t look back at just how far I have come this last year, despite injury and personal set backs. My stand up ratio has dramatically improved, my balance is better and although I still feel slow at getting to my feet, eye witnesses tell me that it is much quicker than it was before. I also have to bear in mind my surf instructor’s words back in August at how far I had come despite being landlocked. It’s an achievement I don’t give myself enough credit for.
  • Keep up the fitness. My stamina levels are still really low and if I want to make the most out of a session, I need to do all that I can in between surf trips
  • Keep motivated. Living miles away from the coast is hard, and I have questioned if all the fitness is worth it for the amount of times I surf in a year. I need to keep in my mind how knackered I feel after just an hour in the sea, and remember that shortboard that I would love to be able to ride and prove a few people wrong
  • Keep the faith. Stop thinking that I’m too old/past it/landlocked/should have done it years ago. I CAN and I WILL do this!
  • Work on my confidence. I hold myself back in the sea. I am still wary of it and the recent tragedy in Mawgan Porth really affected me. Maybe its time for another lesson to help build up my confidence and look at ways at which I can take my surfing to the next level.

I have got my third session with my trainer tonight. It’s cold and its dark, and I’d rather stay in and watch a surf movie. But watching Kelly Slater surf isn’t going to help me to improve.

Time for another kick up the ass!

 

The limits push back

By November 3, 2014 Surf more, Thoughts
The RNLI save lives at sea every day

The RNLI save lives at sea every day

The night before we travelled down to Devon for our latest surf trip, I found out about a terrible tragedy involving three surfers in Cornwall. When I discovered it had happened at Mawgan Porth, one of my favourite surf spots, and the place where 4 years ago I learnt to surf, I was shocked and mortified.

Seven people in total, 4 children and 3 adults got stuck in a rip current. The four children were saved, but despite the efforts of the coastguard and emergency services, the adults lost their lives.

I don’t understand why this happened. Surely it could have been avoided? If the surf conditions weren’t great (the surf was big on the day), why did they enter the water? What happened to their surfboards and why doesn’t the beach have lifeguards until at least the end of the October half term holidays like many other UK beaches?

These are all questions that have been asked by so many – the answers to which will hopefully be answered through a review into what exactly happened.

Know your limits!

The tragedy really played on my mind during the night and throughout the journey down to Devon. I felt nervous about getting in the water. I have felt the power of a rip, even in ankle deep water, and it’s frighteningly strong.

It’s one of the reasons why I’m improving my fitness. I know what to do if I get caught in a rip, but I want the confidence of knowing that I have the strength to get back to the beach.

But I’m also not going to stop doing what I love and letting fear hold me back. It’s about getting a balance between a ‘healthy’ fear (being prepared) and being over cautious. Knowing my limits whilst having fun and enjoying what I do.

I would stress on anyone to please check the surf (and the weather) before getting in. If you’re not sure, ask someone – a lifeguard, a local, someone who knows what they are talking about. And if you have never surfed before, have a lesson instead of just trying to fathom it out for yourself. You will not only learn to surf, but find out about the sea and the particular break where you are surfing – hazards such as rips, the tides etc.

It could literally save your life.

Stay safe everyone…

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Surf in the city

By October 25, 2014 Escape, Love

Today has been a great day in landlockedsville and has reminded me that city life doesn’t always totally suck. Of course the one key ingredient that could result in a brilliant day in the hustle and bustle of Birmingham, is surfing.

TVSC, a new independent online retailer of surf, skate and snow inspired clothing launched today and to celebrate, the guys involved screened a series of films dedicated to British board culture at the Electric Cinema. TVSC is the brainchild of Paul, president of the Birmingham Surf Club and as a few of the members were going along, I was looking forward to meeting them.

I invited my fellow landlocked surf friend whose wedding I went to recently. We hadn’t seen each other since the wedding so it was a great opportunity to catch up, grab some food and talk surf.

There were a series of short films before the two full length features. Two of the shorts particularly grabbed my attention including the beautifully captured ‘Edges of Sanity‘ by cold water company Finisterre. The haunting narrative added real depth to the surfing scenes which gave me goose bumps all over. Shot around British waters in the colder season, it was a perfect film to watch as we head into Winter. It showed a real sense of unity amongst the surfers, particularly in the closing scene as they join together after a day’s surfing, surrounded by food, shelter and warmth.

The other short which I loved was a British skateboarding film which focussed on old school street skating. As a big fan of Lance Mountain from the famous Bones Brigade, I love to watch this style of skateboarding and see how skaters use their urban surroundings to grind on stair rails and ollie over the simplest of things like bags or rubbish and concrete pillars.

The surprise of the day for me was an amazing snowboarding movie called Hallucinate. I had preconceptions of it being set in the Alps or a typical resort location but I was totally wrong. Filmed in urban surroundings, the snowboarders used just about everything to grind and rebound off. It was like watching a street skateboarding film but with layers of snow over everything. Amazing! I’m not doing it justice here so if you like all things ‘board’, hit the play button above!

The final film was Rip Curl’s ‘Live the Search Europe‘ by Lyndon Wake and Jayce Robinson. It charted their search for waves during the winter of 2103-14 and showed them scoring some monsters from the remote Outer Hebrides to Hoessegor in France. They also travelled to giant big wave spot Nazare in Portugal where they joined UK big wave rider Andrew Cotton on his quest to ride the biggest wave. It was a feast of epic waves and loads of barrels, interspersed with thoughts from the locals at each location. Beautifully filmed in true Rip Curl style!

Drinks after the screening gave me the chance to meet some of the guys from the surf club, including, wouldn’t you know it, someone who lives about a mile from where I live! It was great to trade surf stories, trip photos and chat about potential trips to new surf spots.

It was a great day and a fantastic start to a week’s annual leave, which continues with a little surf trip :)

 

 

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