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How to get your surf stoke back

By March 26, 2017 Surf more, Thoughts
How to get your surf stoke back

I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later because everyone loses their surf stoke at some point…right? Or is it just me?

That’s right folks. I’ve well and truly lost my surf mojo. It’s taken a hike and it’s somewhere in the wilderness.

After a great start to the year, getting back into a fitness programme and going on about my winter surf goals, my stoke just woke up one day and said ‘nah..can’t be bothered with this anymore.’

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Fun on a foamie

By April 23, 2016 Surf more

Foamie 620

The surf’s been pretty junk just lately. Unusually long small/flat spells, especially for Spring, coupled with localised wind swell means there’s not been many opportunities to catch anything remotely resembling a wave. But that all depends on what board you ride.

With my longboard in storage until recently and me being pretty desperate to just get in the sea and paddle around, I jumped at the chance to borrow an 8ft foamie from a friend of a friend. It’s been 3 years since I rode a foam board – not because I’m a board snob or anything but purely as I’ve had my own mal and been focusing on consistency. I couldn’t justify the additional rental fee of taking a foamie out either, otherwise I think they’re a fantastic option for getting back to basics, having fun and catching wave after wave on small days when the shortboarders are sitting out back without catching anything (and probably secretly envying the wave magnet foamie crew)!

1-2ft wind chop with a 5 second swell interview meant it wasn’t ever going to be a great surf but I caught and rode waves  – something that just wouldn’t have happened on my mal in those conditions.

Worth getting in for? Absolutely! Why miss out on waves when all you have to do is grab a bigger board, get out there and have some fun!

 

 

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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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Kelly says surf…

By April 5, 2015 Escape, Surf more, Thoughts
The day I surfed Harlyn - the best surf of the week.

The day I surfed Harlyn – the best surf of the week.

11 time world champion surfer Kelly Slater once said that to improve at surfing, you have to surf no matter what the conditions. So last week, during my trip to Cornwall, when the surf gods decided to throw a curve ball, I decided to test Mr Slater’s theory.

It’s typical isn’t it? We had booked a week’s trip to Cornwall and in my mind, I was going to surf everyday, check out some new spots and hopefully progress a teeny bit throughout our stay. But we were greeted by rain, wintry temperatures, howling winds and a pretty dismal surf forecast that offered no hope of the onshore mush letting up until near the end of our stay.

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Day trippin’

By March 18, 2015 Escape
Day trip to Saunton

Day trip to Saunton

Despite living 195 miles away from my favourite surf spot, its totally possible to make it there and back in a day. It’s an early start, a lot of driving and tiring, but so worth it and ideal for taking advantage of ideal conditions at the last minute.

So last week, when the North Devon surf forecast showed 3-4ft and light offshore winds for Saturday, it was the perfect opportunity for a spontaneous day trip!

After a 3 and a half hour journey (which included the essential McDonalds surf trip breakfast!), we arrived in Braunton for a pre-surf mooch in the shops. Ever since I had a go on @fredrickparkes longboard last year, and particularly with Corinne Evans’ recent advice about getting one to help with my pop-up, I wanted to get some advice.

First stop was Surfed Out which has a reputation for providing honest and excellent advice. Owner Glen, a longboarder himself advised me, for my height and weight, to try a performance longboard – not as wide as a typical log but still stable enough to catch anything, turn and trim. Lucky for me, Glen had a demo board – a 9′ Cross pintail beauty with single fin and side bites – which he let me borrow to have a go: ideal!

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Sweet spot

By February 24, 2015 Escape
Post surf in the Kingsurf shed - one of the best surfs I have ever had!

Post surf in the Kingsurf shed – one of the best surfs I have ever had!

One of the most frustrating things to happen to a landlocked surfer is planning a trip, weeks or even months in advance and then coming home empty handed – usually because it’s either flat or completely blown out which occurs quite often during the UK winter months.

Odds against

Last week, in the days leading up to our weekend surf trip to Cornwall, I watched the surf and weather reports like a hawk and was gutted to discover that the largest spring tide to hit the county in 20 years was fast approaching. Coupled with very strong onshore winds, it was looking unlikely that I would be able to surf.

My objective was try and pop-up. I have been working really hard on my upper body strength and I have been doing some surf specific plyometric exercises to help improve my muscle memory. I wasn’t fussy about green waves – I just needed some safe white water to practise.

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Why ballet is like surfing

By June 15, 2014 Thoughts
Ballet and surfing

Ballet and surfing have many similarities

This week I went to the ballet with my mum. It’s something I did when I was younger and was the one hobby over the years, other than surfing, that i was passionate about. I was also pretty good; my dance teacher even told me that I was good enough to audition for the UK Royal Ballet School. Sadly, I gave it up…probably because I didn’t consider it cool enough when I reached my teens. Despite giving it up, I still love to watch live performances and am in awe of the combined grace and strength that these dancers have.

Whilst watching the performance, it struck me how ballet is a lot like surfing:

  • Both demand balance, flexibility, strength and agility
  • Professional ballerinas and surfers are athletes and demand a lot from their bodies
  • There are different styles in both activities – in surfing (longboarding, shortboarding, bodysurfing), in ballet (classical, contemporary and neoclassical)
  • Surfing and ballet are performances and both have a stage
  • Surfing has been described as like dancing on a wave
  • Some of the surfing manoeuvres have been compared to ballet – a grand jete vs an aerial
  • Both require rhythm – rhythm of the wave (in surfing) and the rhythm of music (in ballet)
  • Both require precision footwork, particularly longboarding when cross-stepping, hanging five and hanging ten

I wondered how others had considered the similarities and whilst checking stuff out for this post, I came across a really cool video called ‘Water Dancer’ featuring five-time ASP world champion surfer Stephanie Gilmore. Steph talks to Principal Ballerina Tiler Peck about the similarities between ballet and surfing, and how ballet relates to her passion for surfing. If you have got 5 minutes and are interested, check it out!

Over the past few months, I have been thinking about which way to go with my surfing – shortboarding or longboarding. I loved the idea of shortboarding and coming down in board size but I had so much fun on that 9ft longboard during my last surf. I love the style, grace and agility of longboarding which reminds me so much of ballet – the thought of being able to cross step and hang five and ten is amazing, and I think fits in more naturally with my ability, personality and style.

I wonder how much better I would be at surfing now if I had kept up with the ballet? I would certainly have more flexibility and strength which could spell a decent pop-up.  I have heard of yoga for surfers but what about ballet for surfers? Maybe its time to dig out my New York City Ballet DVD! Firstly though, I need to get this shoulder sorted out!

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Surfacing…

By June 3, 2014 Escape, Thoughts

DSC01898Last weekend I went surfing and I am still buzzing and stoked! It was the best surfing session and most fun I’d had since embarking on my surfing adventures.

Several factors contributed to this (in no particular order of preference :)

  • Great conditions for beginners – 1-2ft, mellow waves with a light offshore wind
  • Sunshine, blue skies and toasty temperatures
  • Fantastic company with new friends….and hubby of course!
  • Lovely campsite with brilliant facilities – its a secret spot though, so I wont be sharing details!
  • Opportunity to try out some different boards….one in particular I have fallen in love with!
  • Stand up ratio 95% coupled with the longest rides I have ever had. Woop woop!!

Im not sure if it was the conditions, or the fact that I wasn’t trying too hard and just relaxed into it, but  I really felt that something had clicked. Ok, so I hadn’t been to the gym in a few weeks which reflected in my shockingly bad paddling technique, but I was standing and riding some long, epic waves and having a total blast!

And after everything that had happened over the past few weeks, I reckoned I deserved it, and it did me the world of good. Catching up on Twitter earlier, I saw a tweet which read “There isn’t anything a little time on a board can’t fix.” Thanks to @shelbyleobold for those words of wisdom – how true they are!

But above all, the weekend gave me the opportunity to meet up, for the first time, with my Twitter friend and fellow landlocked surfer @fredrickparkes and his family. I had the privilege of surfing with them and celebrating Mrs Landlocked’s birthday – surfing…what a brilliant way to spend your day! We all shared the stoke, traded tips and even swapped boards. It gave me the chance to try a 9ft longboard…a flaming beauty which helped me to catch my best rides ever. With that extra float and stability, I was popping straight up in a fluid motion. I didn’t want to hand the board back! Mr Landlocked had often commented that “longboards rule” – I totally understand why!

In the car on the way home, I couldn’t stop grinning. It had been such an amazing weekend and I thought about what my Dad would have said if he could have seen me, riding those waves and having fun, which is what its all about. I get it now, in a way that I didn’t before last week. Dad was all for meeting people too – he was one of those people that wherever he went, he knew someone and loved making new friends. That part of his personality is very much with me and I am so grateful for the chance to meet up with @fredrickparkes and his family. All because of our shared passion for riding waves. We will be keeping in touch and hopefully, meeting up again in the not too distant future for another weekend of surfing stoke. Watch out though @fredrickparkes …..don’t leave your longboard unattended!

Things are looking up, and in the words of Bruce Springsteen..”there’s better days shining through.”

 

 

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