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stoke

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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What makes a good surf?

By August 16, 2015 Escape, Surf more, Thoughts

What makes a good surf

I have just come back from an amazing week in Cornwall. Probably the best holiday I have ever had thanks to a combination of heaps of surfing, exploring new places, awesome eateries and some great weather!

I have never been able to surf so much in a week before. Usually we book a week and have these great ideas about how we will surf every day, and then the wave gods laugh at us and either present us with a sea of calm or shit onshore conditions and howling winds.

This time, they must have taken pity on us and decided we deserved a break. Four surfs in a row later and my arms are like noodles, my dodgy shoulder is sore, I’m knackered but my god I feel totally stoked!

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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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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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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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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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Shoulder injury verdict

By August 5, 2014 Surf more
The verdict is in on my shoulder!

The verdict is in on my shoulder!

Yesterday I had an appointment with the consultant to try and get some answers about my ongoing shoulder injury. Its been better over the past couple of weeks but I decided to keep the appointment; at least so that I could push for an x-ray to see exactly what is going on.

After an initial chat. a few questions and a few tests to see how far I could reach up and extend my arm, I was sent for an x-ray…and that was where things got interesting….

It turns out that I don’t have a problem with the AC joint at all. The x-ray showed nothing out of the ordinary – the AC joint is sitting where it should…no sign of separation at all and no signs of arthritis. The consultant seemed to think that it could be a cartilage issue however this doesn’t show up on x-ray.

He gave me a steroid injection which he hopes will settle everything down and wants to see me again in 6 weeks. He has also cleared me to go surfing and to get back into gym…slowly but surely!

My shoulder is feeling a bit sore today which is to be expected after the injection but it should wear off within a couple of days.

It has taken 6 months to find out what is going on, and its a huge relief to finally get some answers! I wish I had got an x-ray sooner, instead of just taking myself off to physio, but as it didn’t seem too serious at the time, I thought I was doing the right thing.

Moral of the tale with any injury – get it checked out properly by getting an x-ray in the initial stages!

But now I can get my stoke on, cos its time to go surfing again! I’m off to the Boardmasters surfing and music festival later this week so look out for lots of pics, words and stoke!

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Keeping the stoke

By July 13, 2014 Thoughts
Sunset joy, Llandudno beach, Cape Town (Image courtesy of flowcomm via Flickr CC BY)

Sunset joy, Llandudno beach, Cape Town (Image courtesy of flowcomm via Flickr CC BY)

Recently I was asked to write an article about the logistics of being a landlocked surfer and how I keep the stoke in between surf trips.

The truth is, since writing that article, I have been struggling.

My niggling shoulder injury has been really getting to me and despite doing the exercises my physio has prescribed, it doesn’t seem to be improving. I’m due to go surfing with my cousin in a couple of weeks but it looks like I will be sitting on the sidelines having been advised by the physio not to surf for the time being. I must admit, its been hard knowing that some of my surfing friends have been surfing recently while I remain landlocked.

On my train journey home last week, I had a message from a surfing friend…someone who started following my blog and who I met up with recently. Like me, she lives in the West Midlands and is absolutely crazy about surfing. She surfs at Mawgan Porth and hooks up with the guys at KingSurf – the surf school where I have my lessons. We hit it off straight away and spent a few hours trading stories and tips.

I was stoked to hear that after my recommendation, she had been to see Nigel Semmens and put in an order for her first surfboard and got some great advice from him – I was so excited for her! I was especially stoked to hear that I have inspired her to think about what she wants to get out of her surfing sessions and what is currently holding her back. Immediately, this gave me a real kick up the backside to stop feeling sorry myself –  knowing that through my blog I have passed on some useful advice and inspired someone is just amazing!

So I will be looking on this prolonged flat spell (as The Surfing Sumo advised me to think of it) more favourably. I have got some exciting surf related things on the horizon (more details soon!) and in a couple of weeks  I will be able to help my cousin out who only gets to surf a couple of times a year.

I’m far from an expert when it comes to surf knowledge and ability but if I can inspire a few people to try surfing, pass on my experiences and the stoke, then that’s good enough for me :)

 

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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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