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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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Live like Sally

By February 1, 2015 Love


I love finding out about the pro surfers, especially the females – how they got into surfing, what keeps them motivated and with my increased interest in surf fitness, how they keep themselves in top form.

When I found out about Sally Fitzgibbons’ new book, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it! It’s not available yet in the UK so I had it shipped from Australia, signed by the lady herself!

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10 ways to stay stoked (landlocked surfer style)

By January 18, 2015 Surf more, Thoughts

Let’s face it, January and February are crap months. It’s cold, grey and dark, everyone is skint after Christmas, motivation levels are low and the summer seems like ages away. If you are a surfer, it can be the worst time of year for trying to keep the stoke, especially if you are landlocked. The thought of surfing in the winter may be off-putting, you can’t get to the coast for whatever reason or, the winter storms put paid to that long awaited weekend getaway.

Being landlocked doesn’t mean we have to feel disconnected from it all

But being landlocked doesn’t mean we have to feel disconnected from it all. Here are some things that help me to keep the stoke during the winter when I’m miles away from the sea:

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A motivational kick up the backside

By October 12, 2014 Surf more

Recently, I have been lacking fitness motivation and I don’t know why. Maybe its because I have had so much going on and things have been a bit crazy. Or because I haven’t surfed for a few weeks, or because I am landlocked…and is all that effort worth it when I surf infrequently?

Maybe it’s because it’s getting cold and dark and I just can’t be bothered to haul myself to the gym. But that’s the worst excuse out of all them – I have got a surf trip in a couple of weeks, I should be fired up!

Maybe I just need to accept that I’m having a blip, stop beating myself up and put that energy into doing something about it.

Pro surfer Lakey Peterson getting some pre-heat tips from coach MIke Parsons. She gets de-motivated from time to time...doesnt she?

Pro surfer Lakey Peterson getting some pre-heat tips from coach Mike Parsons. She gets de-motivated from time to time…doesnt she?

I owe myself

Over the past week I spoke to a couple of surfers who are also feeling de-motivated for different reasons, so I’m not alone which made me feel better. Out of those conversations I learned that even those who live by the coast get de-motivated to surf and keep fit, and that my recent shoulder injury was still playing on my mind despite getting the all-clear a few weeks ago, and undoubtedly one of the reasons for my lack of motivation.

Surfabella gave me two good pieces of advice – 1) set some realistic goals and 2) you never regret a workout but you do regret skipping one. It took me back to last year at the height of my surf fitness. I hated missing gym sessions and felt so much stronger and more energised. And with the recent sudden death of my dad, and my mum’s partner passing away last year after a long illness, the reason for getting fit is not just for the surfing. I owe it to myself to look after my body, be healthy and be as fit and active as long as I can.

Asking for help

I work best with input from others, and tend to get overwhelmed when I try and put together a fitness plan myself. I have scoured the internet for hours finding all sorts of surf specific activities and exercises, but when it comes to mapping it into my week, I end up filling 7 days which is just not realistic or sensible. Plus there’s my swimming lessons to consider and my regular spin class.

So I fixed up a consultation with one of the personal trainers at my local gym and was stoked to learn that she could do sport specific programmes. She listened and completely understood the lack of motivation, the need for a kick up the backside, and what I wanted to achieve. We talked about strength, stamina and balance, all the essential ingredients for surf fitness and was excited when she discussed some very surf specific exercises. She will be helping me build my strength slowly post-injury, as well as looking at nutrition, and what foods to eat pre and post surf.

The impossible dream

During the consultation, I told her about another reason why I wanted to get fit and it was something I had pushed to the back of my mind because I thought it was impossible. I want to get surf fit to surf better, but more specifically, I want to be able to ride a shortboard. I loved riding that longboard earlier this year and the idea of catching loads of waves easily is great, but I struggle to carry my minimal down to the beach…so why would I want to trade that for something even bigger? I have also watched so much of the ASP tour this year and fallen in love with that side of surfing – the athletic manoeuvres of the cutbacks and snaps. I’m not saying I have designs on being able to do stuff like that but to come down quite significantly in board size would be amazing!

Two people have told me that because I am landlocked, I will never be able to achieve this as I don’t have enough regular exposure to the sea. And when someone tells me that I can’t do something, I will do everything in my power to prove them wrong.

Making a start

As the trainer says, it’s not going to be easy and it’s going to be a long road…a marathon instead of a sprint. But if I can do this, and prove to those two people that they said ‘can’t’ to the wrong person, I will be majorly stoked!

I have made a start, and did my first session last week followed by a swimming lesson the next day. I’m aching and have never felt so sore following a gym session. But it’s a start, and that start has created the spark of motivation that I needed. I’m fired up and ready to go, and I will share my progress here over the coming weeks!


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Stephanie in the Water

By August 17, 2014 Love
Steph Gilmore in the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach 2010.  Image by surfglassy via Flickr, CC BY SA

Steph Gilmore in the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach 2010. Image by surfglassy via Flickr, CC BY SA

Last night I watched the long-awaited documentary about five-time ASP world champion Stephanie Gilmore. I didn’t know a great deal about Steph before watching the film, so I was looking forward to getting an insight into her life on and off tour.

Spoiler alert – don’t read on if you’re planning on watching!

Stephanie in the Water’ charts Steph’s meteoric rise to success starting in 2007 when she won the world title on her rookie year aged just 17…and she didn’t stop there. Steph dominated women’s surfing for the next consecutive three years until a shocking event in 2011 called a halt to her winning streak.

I had no idea about what had happened to Steph, and was truly shocked to learn that she was attacked outside her home. As well as the psychological effect this must have had on her, it also unfortunately had an impact on her surfing and the 2011 world title passed to Carissa Moore.

What I liked about the documentary was the no-holds barred view, especially seeing Steph struggle to hand over the title to Carissa, looking downright peeved at a press conference and refusing to do yet another interview. Yet behind this is a determination to win no matter what, because winning is all Steph has known since the age of 17.

I didn’t enjoy the documentary as much as ‘From Zero to 100’ as I don’t think Steph’s personality came across as much as I expected. However, as it focussed on serious subject matters in parts, it was never going to show someone having heaps of fun.

There’s no doubt about it, Steph Gilmore is one hell of a determined lady and I admire her strength and fighting spirit. Her winning streak is far from over, and although I’m a die hard Lakey Peterson fan, I will be rooting for Steph to rival surf legend Layne Beachley’s 7 ASP world titles!

Stephanie in the Water is available to stream or download now!

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Battered and broken

By May 16, 2014 Thoughts

huge_waves_1029The past couple of weeks have been bad. I feel like Im drowning , repeatedly battered by huge waves, held down and unable to surface.

On 2nd May, my dad passed away very suddenly.

This is the second death in my family in 5 months…the third in 2 years. When is this going to stop?

I am sad, angry and afraid. I feel like I’m in a tunnel, and I can’t see the light at the end of it.

My strength is waning. I have stopped going to the gym, have given up on my shoulder exercises and have been eating really unhealthily. The sea feels like a million miles away and with so much going on, I can’t get to the coast anytime soon. I know that surfing would help yet at the same time, I feel too exhausted, weighed down and shrouded by a fog to make the 200 mile journey.

This is not what my dad would have wanted.

The very opposite of me, he was very laid back and didn’t let anything worry him or get him down. He lived life to the full, was always happy and laughing and would not have wanted me to be in the depths of despair. We didn’t have a close relationship , and he wasn’t very good with the emotional stuff, but I realise now, belatedly, from speaking to his friends and with family just how proud he was of me and how much he loved me.

I wished I had paid more attention when he was alive and taken a leaf or two out of his book – the leaves that read ‘take life less seriously’, ‘take some chances’….

But I didn’t, and so all I can do now is regain my strength and live life to the max. To go surfing at every opportunity, push myself to do things outside of my comfort zone and ensure that I can look back one day and honestly say that I got the most out of life.

So, Dad, the next surf will be for you…..



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New year, new focus

By January 7, 2014 Thoughts
Winter surfing - am I brave enough?

Winter surfing – am I brave enough?

This time last year, surfing was definitely on my radar, but not to the same intensity as it is now. Looking back on what I achieved during 2013, it was far beyond what I imagined and it has only fuelled my desire to surf more and go from kook to accomplished surfer.

The New Year is a great time to set some new goals so in addition to setting some personal objectives, I have made a separate list specifically for surfing. It’s more of a list of what I want to achieve rather than resolutions. Here it is:

  • Be able to consistently stand up (not just a handful of times per session!)…then I will think about turning
  • Work on the pop up
  • Learn at least one thing about surfing everyday
  • Understand more about the conditions (tides, currents, winds and what effects these have on the surf)
  • Get a photo of me standing up riding a wave…the only one I have is 4 years old and rather grainy (it could be anyone!)
  • Get a GoPro or similar so I can record myself surfing
  • Get some more followers and expand the scope of the blog (to include interviews, case studies and multimedia elements

I’m hopeless in the winter. The dark nights and cold weather make me want to retreat into the comfort of my home, and with far fewer surf trips on the horizon, it’s easier to think, ‘oh I will leave all the exercise until nearer the spring when I will be surfing more.’ But that’s just not going to cut it.

I remember how exhausted I was after only half an hour during that first session last April….and I don’t want a repeat performance when I finally do get to the coast. To go all that way and be too knackered to continue after half an hour would be a huge waste of time and totally demotivating. It’s this thought, and the fact that I want to do everything possible during my landlocked days and weeks to make the first two items on my list more achievable.

It could be the difference between an average year of surfing, and an epic one!

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From Zero to 100

By July 25, 2013 Love

Sometimes, I think this is what I try to do….go from zero to 100 in a relatively short space of time! And when it comes to surfing, being restricted to a once a month trip makes it difficult to practice and nail that technique in just a few months. But I have to be patient – my time will come!

I have just finished watching the documentary ‘From Zero to100’ which has inspired this blog

post. The film charts the progress of pro US surfer Lakey Peterson who, having discovered surfing at the age of 12 went onto qualify for the ASP World Tour just five years later – an amazing achievement considering that many of the fellow pros on the tour surfed from a much younger age than her.

What really struck me about Lakey’s journey was that she never gave up. During the film, she was beaten numerous times by the likes of Carissa Moore and Steph Gilmore – two of the best pro women’s surfers on the circuit. Yet despite the tears and frustrations (and at one point declaring ‘I can’t surf’), she dug deep, drew inspiration from those less fortunate than her and went on to win the 2012 Vans US Open of Surfing. All that determination and will to succeed paid off and I take my hat off to her.
It was also quite humbling to see her tears and frustrations and realise that the pro’s have off days and at times must feel like quitting. But, as the saying goes, a quitter never wins and I was reminded during the film of Andy Murray’s repeated quest to win the Wimbledon grand slam tennis title this year. Many of the UK population, me included I hate to admit, had given up on Andy ever winning Wimbledon, but most importantly, Andy never gave up on himself and proved many of us wrong.

So, when I head into the surf next week for my private surf lesson and the subsequent sessions following (and during any off days), I will have Lakey and Andy very much in my mind, and intend to go out there with a ‘can do’, winning attitude!

Lakey Peterson is currently going for her second US Open of Surfing title and I am keeping up-to-date with her progress with keen interest. Good luck Lakey – I hope you defend your well-deserved title!

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I surf because….

By July 2, 2013 Escape, Thoughts
Waxing the boards

Waxing the boards

Last weekend, the Wolvo Surf Crew headed to Croyde for another surf session and for me, it proved frustrating.

I tried desperately to get to my feet but it just wasn’t happening. I tried all sorts of things – popping straight up, swivelling my back leg out to the side and pulling my leg through (the army crawl technique), staying in the shallow white water, paddling out further…you name it, but it just wasn’t happening.

I can come up with all sorts of reasons/excuses but at the end of the day, Im just expecting way too much too soon. I want to be able to stand and I want to be able to do it now.

Back at home, I contemplated why I am doing this and why it means so much to me. The phrase ‘I surf because’ came to mind, the strapline of the 2011 Billabong campaign which encouraged surfers across the globe to share why they surf through words, video and images. Feeling a bit flat and deflated (and very bruised!), I used it as a motivator to pick myself back up and remind myself why I keep going. Here goes:

  • I love the sea
  • It makes me feel free
  • I forget about everything else
  • It soothes me
  • I want to
  • Geography is not a barrier
  • I love its laid back vibe
  • Despite the frustration, I want to keep doing it
  • There is nothing to stop me
  • It’s exhilarating<
  • When I catch a wave, it feels like I am flying
  • It’s an artform
  • There is always another trip to look forward to
  • I am the Wolvo Surf Crew President (an honorary title bestowed upon me on our way home)
  • There are too many reasons why I shouldn’t quit!

It helped. Last night I was back in the gym and fired up for the next surf session which will incorporate the couples class. Hopefully the guys at KingSurf will get me back on track and working on my technique 🙂


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Target weight!

By June 22, 2013 Surf more
First stand up

Desperate to capture that feeling again!

I am stoked and I am jumping for joy! Today I reached my target weight since joining the gym. I have lost 8lbs in the 8 weeks since we joined. I have never managed to reach the weight that I am now before and always hit a ceiling but now, I have smashed it! All that hard work in the gym is paying off!

I have stuck at the sensible eating, the plethora of vitamins and the 1hr 30 mins gym sessions I have been putting in three times a week and the difference is amazing. I have more energy, my skin has never looked so clear, my outlook is positive and any feelings of anxiety have all but disappeared. I now have a structured gym programme too which includes cardio, weights, a bit of boxing (fantastic for stress and tension) and ab exercises. I have got some other things to throw into the mix too like yoga, which is supposed to be fantastic for surfing!

It will be interesting to see what happens with the upper body strength the next time I go surfing. I don’t expect to see instant results and have the strength of Arnie, but hopefully my arms won’t feel like two dead weights.

For reaching target weight, my husband has treated me to the ultimate present – a private surf lesson where it all began in Mawgan Porth with the guys from KingSurf. I can’t wait til the end of July!! Hopefully this will get me back on track and get me beyond being able to just get to my knees! Time to get practising that technique!


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