Wednesday, 23 July 2014

PWA Pozo, 9th Place

Ok, where do I start?! I guess you have read and seen a lot about the Pozo World competition week already, so I'll summarise my view. It was great to meet all the girls (16 entries) for the competition, girls like Olya, Sarah Quita Offringa and Steffi Wahl who I had heard and seen about but never met, were really nice and I really enjoyed the team spirit between all of us despite the fact we were competing against each other! It was great to sail with all the girls!

As the conditions weren't too great (wind but very little in the way of waves), there was a lot of waiting around to be called for our heats, but the event organisation by Daida and Iballa was spot on, with the event tent giving us food and drinks and the competitors area with comfy beanbags sheltering us from the wind while we watched the sailing! My parents came to watch so it was a shame it wasn't classic Pozo as I had built it up to be, with super windy conditions and waves, but there were still some breathtaking moments and the excitement of some interesting knockouts, and stalled double forwards from Koster and Browne! I don't think my parents would have enjoyed 3m weather Pozo if it had been that windy so perhaps it was a blessing in disguise!

So my training up to the event I was really happy with, my forwards were pretty consistent, sideways and mostly dry (but not the biggest), tabletops getting better if I could find the right ramp and wave riding better too. My heat almost went ahead twice before the real heat, with Justyna versus Olya and me versus Steffi. The second time round our whole heat was run, 14 minutes with 1 wave to count and two jumps, the red flag went up, and then it was cancelled afterwards. This was a bit of a let down as I think I sailed a good heat, with a nice clean forward, tabletop and a good wave at the bunker. The conditions weren't great and I think there was some problems with the judging and the live scores, so this heat was binned.

The next and 'real' ladies heat was a day or two after, the same criteria and I don't think the conditions were any better. I went on 3.7 as I was powered up just before, but the wind must have dropped a little during our heat as all the girls were underpowered. This made it really hard to get a clean forward, and the waves were small!! Justyna and Steffi took the win on this one, I think I was 1.3 points behind overall, winning on jumps but lacking a good scoring wave.

So I am out! Lack of conditions meant only a single elimination was run, (which runs tops seeds against lowest seeds) so half the fleet in mens and ladies comes joint last. With a double elimination there would have been a ladder to work your way up. It was a real shame after all that training I didn't have a chance to fight my way back up the double. For the guys this means a lot of the higher seed rankings now are in the trials for Tenerife, so they will be seeded against the top seeds, causing a bit of a stir as they have lost their hard earnt ranking over many years!

I have to say I was super impressed with all the sailors especially the top guys and girls making the conditions look so easy! It was really inspiring.

With 23 girls entered for Tenerife I really hope we get good conditions to compete. I am currently sat in my apartment with no wind outside and little waves-come on Cabezo!!

All the photographs are either from Jose Pina, Fishbowl Diaries, Si Crowther, John Carter or myself, so thanks to those guys for doing a great job and capturing the action!

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