Monday, 11 August 2014

11/08/14 | Cooler Interview



I was interviewed for Cooler Magazine's 'This Is Me' series a few weeks ago - thanks guys!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

28/07/14 | Catch-up

I'm terrible at blogging regularly, sitting down at my 'proper' computer and getting my thoughts down. It's probably why I love Twitter and Instagram, they're quick and easy to update in little chunks. There's been so much I've wanted to post about recently, but once you're behind with one thing you don't want to post anything else and before you know it you've posted nothing for ages...so rather than not mention the things I wanted to, or go through a mad rush of posts, here's a whirlwind photo update to cover most of the summer so far:


Late spring finally brought a rise in temperatures and a welcome run of swell:


Just as the contest season kicked off the swell died, several comps had to be postponed, including the Slyder Cup, but they held a social instead and we all had a fun mass slide. I rode my polystyrene 'sled from the shed' and my bellyboard, I'd totally forgotten how much fun bellyboarding is:


The sun stuck around though, making for some beautiful evenings:




To keep my fitness up and accompany Chris while he trains for some swimming events, I've been taking my bigggest board out and knee paddling the buoys at Gylly & Aggie, I love the feeling of kneepaddling on flat water, and finally being able to wear my longjohn instead of a full suit.

I bought a new board! I've been after a Takayama Model T for years, and finally one came up second hand. It's a Surftech but I get a bad back from hauling my Junod up the sand dunes so it's good to have a lightweight alternative for small days & travel. I LOVE IT.

The Vintage Surf Meet served up its usual feast of tasty boards:

Then finally a bit of swell for the 10 board challenge contest, one of the best women's comps out there. Surfers draw random boards out of a hat for their heat, I drew a 5'8 Firewire (pictured here next to my 9'6). Needless to say I didn't go through. I did manage catch a few waves though (no-one was more amazed by this than me). Surf shot by Martin Jackson.

I was pleased to be knocked out as it meant I could get in for a freesurf with a few friends on my longboard and enjoy the unexpectedly fun onshore waves. It was so warm I wore my longjohn for its first ever UK surf (I usually just wear it swimming / paddling). However our surf was rudely interrupted by a sewage discharge, meaning the rest of the comp had to be postponed and everyone was advised to get out of the water. ITV News report here. I'm trying not to digress but it's pretty outrageous that South West Water can release sewage onto a beach three times in a week during peak season and yet the Environment Agency still rate the water quality as 'excellent'. Chris got sick (I didn't luckily) and had to have the Monday off work. See more over at Surfers Against Sewage or sign this petition asking SWW to stop sewage discharges.

To end on a nicer note, the warm water's brought some visitors to our waters, not sure how welcome they are, but the water sure is lovely at the moment. More on that later...




(Phew. That's better. Glad I got that load off my chest.)

Sunday, 15 June 2014

15/06/14 | Like father like daughter


Catching a wave with my dad on father's day last year

Somewhere in my parents' loft there is a photo of me and my dad on Putsborough, either side of his brand new longboard. I'm maybe 14 or 15 years old, and I can remember exactly what I was thinking as the photo was taken. Despite growing up in landlocked Oxford before the advent of the internet, with very little exposure to mainstream surf culture, I was thinking 'wahine' as I draped myself down the side of the board. When we got the photos back from the lab and my dad saw my uncharacteristic and awkward pose, he told me off, saying 'why do you want to look like that, [springing into a semi-crouch] you should be like this, ready for action!'.

My dad never wanted a son (in fact he wanted four daughters, but fortunately for me, the eldest, he stopped after two), he brought me up to be a surfer, not a surf chick. He always encouraged me to push myself and keep up with him; when the waves were too big for me to join him out back on my surfboard he sent me out on my bodyboard instead so I could get out and get used to bigger surf. Not liking the cold was never really an option, I was under the impression that we didn't get surf in the summer for years because all our trips were in the colder months when the surf was better.

That photo taught me a valuable lesson about what I should aspire to as a surfer, that being a female surfer didn't mean I had to look or act a certain way, I just had to love surfing. So today I'm saying thank you to my dad for making me the surfer I am today - I didn't need female surfer role models when I was growing up, because with him everyone was equal in the surf.

Me, Croyde Bay - 1981
Getting me started early, Croyde Bay 1981

Sunday, 25 May 2014

25/05/14 | Together we can make a difference

After the winter storms brought a tidal wave of rubish to my local beach, I was left feeling pretty helpless. A few of us started spending an hour or so each weekend collecting rubbish and hauling it back up the dunes, but the task seemed so huge it was hard to keep going. Despite telling ourselves 'every little helps' it felt like we weren't having any impact.

Not long afterwards Martin Dorey started his #2minutebeachclean campaign - it's a simple idea: when you're at the beach spare two minutes of your time to pick up what rubbish you can. Post photos of what you've picked up to social media and help spread the word. The idea quickly spread and soon images from across the globe were appearing on Instagram. Other groups sprung up on Facebook charting unusual finds and comparing beachcombing notes (I thought I was imagining that I kept seeing Lego flowers until I came across Lego Lost At Sea). Suddenly it wasn't just a few of us, we could see our combined efforts - together we can make a difference, even if individually it doesn't feel like much.

Still we waded knee deep in plastic bottles on some parts of the beach. TCV Cornwall organised a few beach cleans to tackle the mass of bottles at Penhale Corner, then on the 29th of March over 250 people turned up to help for the SAS Big Spring Beach Clean. Together we removed over 3 tonnes of plastic from along the beach. It doesn't end there though. Despite the truckloads of litter collected a huge amount of small plastic fragments remains, and more litter continues to wash ashore daily. Removing all the small plastics seems like an impossible task, but removing all the large plastic seemed impossible to start off with, I think I'm up for the challenge.

Picking up all this rubbish and seeing what ends up in our seas has really made me focus on what a difference I personally can make. Single use plastics are everywhere, and yet barely 50 years ago they didn't exist. We've completely succumbed to their convenience without really considering what happens to them afterwards. Now when I shop I look at the packaging of what I'm buying, and try to decide if I really need it, or if there is a better-packaged alternative. I've stopped using single use plastic bags and single serving drinks. That one is hard - no more smoothies or juices with a sandwich when I'm out and about, I have to remember to take something with me from home. If we as consumers use our buying power to tell companies that we care about how their products are packaged and how much waste they cause, together we can really make a difference.


I could write about this indefinitely, so for now I'm going to let some of my pictures do the talking:











If you've made it this far you can check out more information on marine litter on SAS's website and take their plastic bag pledge, or learn more about 2 minute beach cleans at beachclean.net.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

22/04/14 | Approaching Lines Festival


The guys over at Approaching Lines have got a three day feast of surf films coming to Newquay & Falmouth this weekend. Looking forward to seeing some surf films on the big screen!

See the full line-up & book tickets on Approaching Lines.



GROOVE MOVE - (surf film trailer) from Jack Coleman on Vimeo.



RUSSIA: The Outpost V1 TRAILER from Chris Burkard on Vimeo.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

06/04/14 | Bye Bye Stripey

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When a surfboard's right it feels like a piece of you. I knew as soon as I first surfed this board that it was right. But then in California I tried Chris's Quiver Q-Pro, and that really felt right. So I ordered one, and reluctantly polished poor Stripey up ready to sell. Testament to Fluid Juice's bomb-proof glassing (and my preference for avoiding busy breaks) it looked as good as it did the day I picked it up over 7 years ago, and without a single ding. The very next day it was despatched to its new owner Nina in Polzeath.

I'm still torn. That board feels like a big part of my surfing identity, I've had people come up and say hi because they've recognised me by it, it's strange to think of someone else riding it. Maybe I should have retired it to rest out its days on the wall - sitting typing in my spare room I can't help but think it would look good in here. In the end though it's just a board, and it's time for me to move on to a new board that will challenge my progressive surfing. Nina let me know the other day that she's enjoying it, I'm glad it's gone to a great home and hope she loves it as much as I did.


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My original spray design, and the finished board on its maiden voyage in Morocco, January 2007.

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One of my first surfs on it, Morocco 2007. Photo Mike Stevens.

nina with board
Nina's first surf with it, Polzeath 2014. Photo @ninazietman

Monday, 16 December 2013

16/12/13 | Winter blues

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If I had just one tip for winter surf trips it would be this: wait until after Christmas. Give yourself the prospect of a nice hot trip in February to get you through the winter.

We went to California in October. Despite the warm water and balmy Californian climate I was actually looking forward to coming home to some nice cold-but-empty waves. I had a new board to ride and was feeling super paddle fit. Oh the surf, such a cruel mistress, it had other ideas. Howling winds and solid rain for nearly six weeks, all the while the days getting shorter and shorter and the water temperature plummetting. The trip quickly became a distant memory.

I always struggle in the winter, but with our winter trip already behind me I'm finding this winter particularly difficult. Nothing's really firing me up, I'm demotivated, and if procrastinating were an Olympic sport I'd get the gold. I started writing a post about the trip on the 4th of November, somehow it's taken me two months to sort out my film photos and get something together. But it's done, and if it's not too depressing to even look at some warm waves and blue skies you can see the full set here.