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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

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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The only pro surfer from Wolverhampton

By March 13, 2015 Escape, Surfer stories
Corinne Evans - probably the only pro surfer from Wolverhampton!

Corinne Evans – probably the only pro surfer from Wolverhampton!

Us landlocked surfgirls are not always disadvantaged due to our geography. There’s British pro Keshia Eyre who began life in Manchester, and up and coming surfer Jessie Tuckman (originally from Macclesfield) who quit city life to her pursue her dreams of breaking into the UK top ten.

Then there’s British surfer and model Corinne Evans who I was lucky enough to meet recently. Little did I know that Corinne and I would share a strong geographical connection. It turns out that she is from my hometown of Wolverhampton. What a small world! She even attended the same secondary school as me and my other half.

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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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