Sunday, 6 July 2014

A Week Tomorrow...First PWA Event!

A week tomorrow is the first PWA wave event of the year in Gran Canaria, with 17 female entries-that's a lot! See the entries HERE

Training has been going fairly well, I have been sailing everyday for the past two weeks or so, 3-4 hours a day in 2 sessions. The past two days had light wind and no waves, so I took them off, having a rest day and a crossfit style workout day with a run. Today the wind is back, and I was fully stacked on a 3.4, I don't think it was even meant to be that windy today?!

I have been practising my wave riding a lot, and trying to learn from Miss Consistent Justyna Sniady! I find it quite hard here to control the power, needing to do really tight turns and not end up clew first for very long. This is quite different to my training in Chile where it was still onshore, but as it was a lot less windy I could really pick where I wanted to hit and not worry about everything exploding with the power! I am getting a lot better, until I get stacked then everything seems to go wrong again! I hope the heat isn't mentally windy...So here are some pics of mainly top turns, some good some bad, its interesting to see the hand and sail positions. I know to move the back hand back right to the harness lines but any more tips people can give me about controlling the power please comment! A couple of these pictures are from Territorio Comanche-thank you!

Backside hits are getting better, and certainly easier if overpowered!

Jumping is also hard to practise if I am stacked and bumping all over the place! But fun if I am nicely powered. Here is a straight jump when I was stacked on a 3m sail, and a pushloop crash when I was stacked on a 3.4!

Finally, a picture from the other morning so you can see the layout of the beach (if you don't know Pozo!) It was a busy morning on the water!

The event tents and cabins have started to arrive, and a cool graffiti art picture is being painted on the entrance to Pozo. Its quite exciting but I am pretty nervous, as I know that sometimes I can sail pretty well, but if it is howling I am going to struggle....urrrrrrr!!! Until next time!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The wind is here! Pozo Izquierdo...

So I have been in Pozo for just over a week now and it has been perhaps a little unusual, with not much wind for the first week! I surfed a couple of times on the North Coast, and have sailed Vargas twice and Ojos de Garza. It has been pretty flat but I have been working on my forward technique, trying to get them really sideways so when I am overpowered I don't go endo! Here are a couple of go pro shots:

Gecko flaka:
Hooked in catapult-not sure where my other leg went?!

Now the wind has returned to Pozo, it is 3.4 to 3.7 weather absolutely full power and due to get windier, I forgot how full on this place is! It takes all you have to control your sailing.

Back in the UK we didn't have any wind, but did have a nice wakeboard session in Oxford when I visited a friend. It was a bridesmaid present from her wedding last year, thanks Rach! Beautiful weather and a lot of fun!

As promised, the girl's sailing in Maui video is also up! It had a premier at one of the American Windsurf Tour events, and has done really well promotion wise! This features a few of the top windsurfing girl's but there will be more episodes with the girl's that missed this one, so stay tuned!

Here are a couple of photos from Si Crowther of the premier and Carolina, Sarah and Sam who feature in it along with myself and some other girls!

Girls want To Get Wet - episode 1 from Girls want to get wet on Vimeo.

Speaking of Maui, there was one photo Si Crowther gave me from his water shots, I love the angle-it makes me want to be there on that wave again! Thanks Si!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

In the meantime...

Its not all traveling on my 'dream' sabbatical! I have been working and training too (though admittedly only for 3 week periods..!). I signed up with 2 agencies to get the most work possible over the 3 weeks and have been working as a waitress at various hotels and events, a receptionist and a kitchen porter. I have been a KP before but this was worse, a 9 hour straight shift of soggy rubber glove hands scouring the worst dirty pans all day. Glad that's over!

In-between shifts it is really important I keep my fitness up, as I realised in Ireland, heat sailing is tiring and you need all the help you can get not to feel tired in Pozo, 2 sessions a day every day and you are shattered! There hasn't been any wind on the South Coast (I'm back in Surrey), for a while now that has coincided with a weekend, so for anyone interested, here is the training plan I have been using as I haven't been able to afford a gym.

Mix these up training every day if possible:

Anaerobic swim training. Warm up 10 lengths, then do 4x sets of 4x 25m lengths breathing every 5th stroke, with a minutes rest between each set. Repeat again breathing every 7th stroke (this gets hard!). Then swim one length underwater and breaststroke back, minutes rest, all x10. Swim 10 lengths front-crawl to finish.

Running. I have about a 3-4 mile loop I do as fast as possible.

Cycling. I normally cycle a relatively traffic free 11-12 mile loop with lots of nasty hills to simulate fartlek training.

Crossfit body weight workout. 5 rounds of: 20 squats, 10 hand release press ups, 20 flutter-kicks, 2 wall walks, 10 tricep dips, 1 hill sprint, jog back.

I have also just ordered some TRX suspension bands (a cheap copy version though!) which are fairly new to me, but seem to be a great idea for a travelling work out and strength work for shoulders and core, I look forward to trying them!

This week I had some fun trying to book our kit onto our Thomas Cook Airline flight to the Canaries, who I have flown with many times before with numerous bags! This time however they said they had changed their policy and would only allow one bag per person, charging £15 per kilo for an extra bag (which would be near on £450!). It didn't say this anywhere on their website or the terms and conditions and after much arguing on skype a salesperson finally admitted that they had a more current version of the T&Cs which weren't on their website. I was pretty glad she admitted this on the phone and after nervous waiting and asking to speak to their manager, they rung back nice as pie and booked all my bags on! There was a lot of stress and skype credit, as the flights were 100% non refundable yet I knew I was in the right! So beware, check the T&Cs and make sure you can take all your gear on the flight! They said they would update their website shortly.

So my rant and warning advice is over! Soon I will get back to windsurfing, one more week and I'll be in Pozo! And if you want to check out my top 5 reasons why I windsurf, have a look HERE

Sunday, 25 May 2014

A few waves in Maui video

As the tile suggests, a short clip of a few waves in Maui thanks to my GoPro and Emma Haggstrom for filming! I hope you like it...

A few waves in Maui a Windsurfing video by sarahk349

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Surfing Portugal and BWA Ireland

I spent 10 days just South of Sines in Portugal (about 2 hours South of Lisbon), at Pig Dog Surf Camp. Check out their site HERE! Its a great place away from the normal tourist areas of Portugal with great, uncrowded waves to play on. The surf trip was with some friends from Plymouth, about 8 of us in the end. It was great fun, lots of banter and warm, sunny weather too! The waves were pretty small however, we only had 2 days of headish plus, the rest fairly small. We did surf El Point though, more of a reef breaking barrelly wave compared to Bathtubs, our normal fairly soft spot. It gave me some good practise at taking off late and taking a few good wipeouts! Great fun though, I improved my pumping and my backside riding a fair bit! Here are some photos from the last day (we were pretty bad at getting the camera out for the bigger days!).
After Portugal, Stef and I left the surf camp at 2am to drive to Lisbon, fly back to Surrey, drive to West Wales and catch a 2am ferry to Rosslare, then drive 5 hours to Brandon Bay for the British Windsurf competition, what a mission! The forecast looked terrible, no wind and not many waves. We had committed anyway and drove the distance to beautiful Brandon Bay. Pre-BWA Boards released an article of 'BWA-Faces to Watch', check it out HERE
And here is the beautiful view overlooking the bay from our little house:
Monday was the windiest day and the pros were run at Hells Gate, but cancelled shortly after due to lack of wind. We had some fun shorey surfing later in the week, and drove through the Connor pass in the mountains, taking a walk round a lake and to another peak, I forgot how beautiful it is here!
Phil Horrocks hosted a BBQ at his house on the Thursday night, perhaps tatically getting everyone drunk the night before the competition was held on Friday!
The competition was on for all fleets at Gowlane, with cross off port tack riding, 2 waves to count. The wind was gusty and light, and the waves about knee to shoulder-not my best kind of riding! I took Stef's 75l Flywave and the 5.0 Icon for the competition-my first error, as I hadn't ever sailed his board before. My heat was against Sara Kellet and Justyna Sniady, both great competitors and doing well on the tour. I got some ok waves and some nice turns, but seemed to overcook them and crash a lot, the fins kept breaking out and I couldn't recover them. I also wasn't used to such small powerless waves, coming off the back of a fair few. I was out of the first round disappointingly. Here are some photos from event photographer Si Crowther (the good ones!) and some from our own camera (on the wrong setting by the looks of it!):
I should have changed equipment, I knew I wasn't used to Stef's board or riding G10 fins compared to K4's, which I find far more recoverable. Instead I stuck with what I had, thinking the wind was flukey and the extra volume would help. I then sailed against Ping, and the same happened again, I lost the tail on all my cut backs. I was out! 6th place, absolutely gutted! The double elimination didn't get finished as the wind died off. Well done to Justyna coming 1st, Sara 2nd and Lucy Robson 3rd, and also thank you to all the judges and especially Nigel Tracey for organising such a good event! I then sailed downwind and got some better waves, making myself feel better! Saturday was windier and slightly wavier once everyone from the competition had left. I had a really fun sail on my own board (69l with K4 fins) and 4.7, getting some really nice waves and hits, and only falling a couple of times-it made me feel so much better and that I can actually windsurf! I was just disappointed that I hadn't realised early enough to change equipment in the heats. You live and you learn! I guess I also need to practise in tiny waves too to learn to make the most of them! I also realised that competition sailing is very different to my normal style, which is go hard crash a lot and slowly improve. I need to work out a safer riding technique for competitions so I don't lose all my points, especially focusing on making every turn! Here are some pics from the end of Saturday's session. I think the tide got a little high by the time we got the camera out so again, we didn't capture the best action as the waves went a little tiny!
We stayed a couple more days in Ireland, taking another walk in the mountains and another surf, before heading to York to see Stef's family. I'm now back home working again for a few weeks before I head to Pozo to train for the first PWA competition!