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2015

California dreamin’

By July 30, 2015 Love, Thoughts
Dream trip! The iconic California coast road via wine coast country.com

Dream trip! The iconic California coast road via wine coast country.com

We all have that dream travel destination; the trip of a lifetime bucket list item. We have probably got a picture of it on our fridge, our phone or computer desktop and stare dreamily at it when we are having a bad day and need a bit of inspiration.

For me, it’s the USA.

I have been fascinated by America since I was a child which stems from my dad and his tales of his epic two month road trip across Canada and the States back in the 80’s. I grew up mesmerised by the USA and its culture, favouring American TV shows over our dull British offerings; everything over there seemed vibrant, colourful and cool by comparison. I spent hours pouring over the map, tracing dad’s journey and vowing one day that I would follow in his footsteps.

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Landlocked surfgirl gets a makeover!

By July 26, 2015 Love, Thoughts

High Res logo PNG Post banner

I have been wanting to change the look of my blog for a while now and I’m stoked to finally be sharing it with you!

Thanks to a new theme, some funky little plugins and a very patient and talented husband, the site has a new logo, some clever little features and a much easier to use navigation.

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Lucky escape

By July 19, 2015 Thoughts

Mick and Kelly

I’m sat in front of my laptop writing a blog post with the World Surf League JBay Open final on the big screen. Mick Fanning and Julian Wilson are in the water. Its 5 minutes or so into the heat and Julian Wilson has scored his first wave.

I glance away from the live action back to my laptop screen. The next thing I know, I hear the hooters which usually signify the end of the heat. Something’s very wrong.

I look up to see Mick Fanning scrambling onto the back of a jet ski with head bowed down. My heart’s in my mouth, I’m not sure what’s happened. He doesn’t look injured, but then I see him holding up his leash which has snapped in two and is detached from board.

It’s then that I hear the word ‘shark.’

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Pure stoke

By July 12, 2015 Escape
Processed with VSCOcam

An awesome surf at Saunton!

Two months away from surfing may not sound like a lot, yet in that relatively short space of time so much had happened that took my focus away from it. My husband had an operation, my mindset slid into a negative space, there were jobs to do on the house, the daily grind and then, when we did have a free weekend to get to the coast typically the surf went flat.

Long lost love

My feelings toward surfing became ambivalent for a while. I tried to kid myself that I wasn’t really that bothered about it anymore but deep down, I loved it more than ever. I spent my weeks pining after it…staring doe-eyed at the surf cams and various Instagram feeds of surfers that I follow – people who live by the coast and have surfing on tap. It made me feel worse.

I had also piled pressure on myself – to nail the pop-up, be surf fit, feel some kind of acceptance by the coastal surf dwellers and generally not look like some dumb kook. The pressure built to a point where I had lost my way and forgotten that it was supposed to be fun and not some time pressured competition.

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On being a mermaid

By June 22, 2015 Escape
Channelling my inner Ariel  - never imagined in a million years I would be able to do this!

Channelling my inner Ariel – never imagined in a million years I would be able to do this!

I can honestly say that I never really harboured secret dreams of being a mermaid. Growing up I watched the movie Splash a few times and I remember being intrigued by the Cornish folk tale about the mermaid of Zennor (I actually thought she was real!), but as someone who hasn’t even seen Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid‘, and who isn’t a natural, confident water woman, you wouldn’t exactly describe me as one of neptune’s wannabes.

But when I found out about a course in Newquay run by Freedive UK that gives people the chance to channel their inner Ariel (or Madison), I was intrigued – just how can you swim so effortlessly underwater wearing a mermaid tail without breathing apparatus?

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Wakeboarding

By June 14, 2015 Thoughts
Gearing up for my first ever wakeboarding session

Gearing up for my first ever wakeboarding session

After trying stand up paddle boarding last year, I was eager to have a go at another landlocked water activity. So when Kelly spotted a Groupon voucher code for wakeboarding, it was the perfect opportunity to get something booked.

I didn’t know much about wakeboarding before our session and didn’t really know what to expect, other than the fact that it maybe involved a boat, was probably a bit like water skiing, and that my cousin (also a surfer) had a go and absolutely loved it.

I now know that wakeboarding developed from a combination of surfing, snowboarding and water skiing and although riders are usually towed behind a boat or personal watercraft, a cable system is another way of wakeboarding over the surface of the water. This is the set-up that Wakelake use – the first cable tow centre in the West Midlands which is handily located about 15 miles from where I live.

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The biggest life lesson from surfing

By June 14, 2015 Thoughts

It's not what you do

 

I have read a lot of articles recently about life lessons that you can learn from surfing. Each one has a different take on it and it will vary from person to person, but one thing I haven’t come across and is the biggest thing that I have found is how much you learn about yourself.

I have discovered things about myself that I didn’t know existed. It has brought elements of my personality to the surface that looking back were probably there all along, but they just needed a little encouragement along the way.

Like my love of the water – despite the fact that I was never what would you call a water baby and not even daring to dip a toe in the sea until 5 years ago.

This love has always been there and water has a very calming influence on me, whether I’m taking a walk along the canal or just floating on my back in a swimming pool. I just love being near and in the water. I can stare at the sea for hours and feel hypnotised by its beauty and raw power. I have also been known to cry at the first sight of it when arriving in Devon or Cornwall. It takes my breath away, makes me feel exhilarated and I come to life when I’m surfing and am totally immersed in the ocean.

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Meeting Andrew Cotton

By June 9, 2015 Escape, Surfer stories

Meeting big wave legend Andrew Cotton at the Saltrock BBQ in Tongwynlais

Croyde, New Year’s Day 2015.

I’m walking through the village when I see a familiar face outside Redwood surf shop. It’s the face of a surfer whose story I have been following with huge interest – a North Devon local who once had a dream to ride some of the biggest waves in the world. A guy whose face appeared in the media for his world record breaking wave attempt, and on the big screen at the Billabong XXL big wave awards in 2014.

It’s someone that I’m surprised I haven’t seen in person sooner, especially with the amount of time we have spent in his neck of the woods during the past two years.

It’s British big wave legend Andrew Cotton.

I want to speak to him and find out what motivates him to charge giant waves. But he’s deep in conversation, enjoying a coffee, and I’m just a kook who gets scared in waves over 2ft. I hesitate, hang back and then chicken out. I kick myself for the rest of the day, and the next day, and the next.

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Kindred spirits

By June 2, 2015 Surfer stories, Thoughts
image

Kindred spirits 🙂

I started this blog to chart my surfing progress in the hope that one day, I could look back and see how far I had come, despite living over 100 miles from the sea.

I just never envisaged how many amazing people I would meet along the way and beautiful friendships that I have forged all through a shared love of surfing and blogging. It has enriched the whole experience.

I’m a bit of a social butterfly. I just love meeting people and hearing their stories so when I started surfing, I wanted to connect with other surfers and find out about their surfing journeys. It’s a way for me to reach out to those with a shared interest and stay connected to a world that has consumed me when I’m so far away from the coast.

I firmly believe that certain people come into our lives for a reason and at times when we really need them. Sometimes, these people are true kindred spirits and we wonder how and why we haven’t met them sooner, despite feeling like we have known them forever.

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Kook’s guide to surf fitness

By April 19, 2015 Surf more
Image courtesy of Thomas Tolkein via Flickr (CC BY)

Image courtesy of Thomas Tolkein via Flickr (CC BY)

Do a Google search on surf fitness and you will get all kinds of advice on exercise that you can do to improve your surfing – everything from yoga, swimming, strength training, pilates, cardiovascular exercise, plyometrics, balance training…and the list goes on.

I’m exhausted just thinking about that lot and, if you are anything like I was when I embarked on project surf fit, you will probably feel overwhelmed and wonder where to start.

Plus, there’s only so many days in the week and unless you are prepared to eat, sleep, gym repeat, or you’re a pro surfer on the world tour, you can’t and probably don’t want to try and fit that lot in.

I have seen so many threads on discussions groups about what exercises are best for surfing. I think that’s a very open ended question because I think it depends on what level you are currently at with your surfing (and fitness!) and what you want to achieve, which is the best to place to start.

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