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December, 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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