Sunday, 17 February 2013

Judging at Plymouth and Exeter Student Wave Event

Last weekend saw the annual Exeter Student Wave Event (this year combined with Plymouth), with loads of students travelling from across the country to experience Cornwall's waves! This event has always been a good one, with conditions in the years I competed ranging from 100mph storm gusts and swell one year at Lyme Regis to a fairly ice cold calm weekend surfing at Woolacombe. This year's event had a slightly dodgy forecast of cold NW winds, rain, and a tiny bit of swell. My sponsor Jim from Puravida ran the event alongside Rachel and Jo and team from Exeter Uni, with help from Tushingham, head judge Ian Ross and Stef and I as guest judges.

After a few drinks in town on the Friday we headed to The Bluff in Cornwall for a dubious looking forecast. Jim, Ian, Stef and I ran a (very detailed!) chat on wave boards, fins and sails-get a windsurfer talking on equipment and he won't stop for anyone! For the rest of the day Tushingham ran a SUP windsurf promtu competition in the building waves. Whilst the students went back to Plymouth to party hard, we opted for the more sensible option of going for an amazing curry in Falmouth, ready for the judging the next day.

Sunday started dismally with onshore light wind and torrential rain, but that didn't put the enthusiastic students off! I found out my waterproof trousers and ski jacket combo was not so waterproof and despite wearing knee high socks, fleece boot liners and wellies, I still had cold feet! The wind came in and we set up the flags and tried to hide behind the lifeguard hut from the rain, which wasn't successful! Even the heat draw pen was running and it was almost impossible to write on our soggy marking paper! Still, after a good cold drenching the rain cleared and the sun peeped out, and it was windy! It was onshore, not too dissimilar to Pozo conditions other than the fact it was 5m weather and 5 degrees! The students did the Student Windsurf Association proud with their hungover enthusiasm, organisation and abilities, with lots of landed forwards and forward attempts being seen, the odd backloop attempt and some good riding. Well done to Ben Page and Jo Wright for winning the male and female competition! After the competition I headed out, complete with rock launch as it was high tide, but it was shortlived as the wind died. I did get a freezing session in earlier in the week at Daymer however, a gusty 3.7 stormy day with the biggest waves I have seen Daymer get!

Lots of layers - FREEZING!!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Storm Chase!

January has delivered the goods so far in terms of swell, two big low pressures have bought some nice size swell to the UK recently, too bad that I have had to pray it comes on a weekend during daylight hours! If you haven't seen the footage of the Red Bull Storm Chase, check it out below. Respect to the 10 selected athletes to ride this storm (Mission 1 in Ireland), it looked nuts!

Making the most of what I could in Cornwall (but looking absolutely pathetic after that video!) I went for a surf at Crooklets Bude, the weekend we had all the snow. It was nice to get in the water while everyone was wrapped up cosy at home, full neoprene sorts that! And best of all, nice head high sets rolling in and only four of us out. Sorry, I didn't manage to get a photo with my numb fingers!

Last weekend I had two brilliant windsurf sessions, first of the year! One was Mexico's, head to logo down the line on a 4.7. Gusty as always but I got some really nice rides. The second was marazion, cross on starboard tack jumping. It varied from waist to head but was pretty fun! Getting closer on my backloops! The wind direction meant we couldn't really make the most of the massive storm swell, but at least Marazion actually got some waves as its normally pretty flat! Thanks to Mel at Splashography for the photos.

Crossfit - 'Forging Elite Fitness'

I debated for a while whether to join a gym this winter, or Crossfit, something I had heard about through friends. After doing a taster at the Plymouth Life Centre, and watching a Plymouth Crossfit session, I decided I would give Crossfit a go. It looked more nasty and more intense than a gym session fuelled by your own determination could ever be. It started with an 8 hour (2x 4h sessions) at the weekend for my 'On-Ramp' course. This involved teaching me all the basics of the core moves, 3 types of squats, 3 types of press and 3 types of lifting. There was also pull ups, chin ups, double unders (skipping), hand stand pressups, box jumps and various other exercises. Although using small weights, 8 hours of squatting meant I could barely walk down the stairs the next few days, I was as stiff as I have ever been!

So what exactly is crossfit? Well in terms of an exercise routine people would understand I guess you could say it's a little like circuits, but it focuses more on dynamic movements-so rather than going on a machine at the gym and working one or two muscles it focuses on the whole range of muscles to provide a movement, like box jumps for example. It is a strength and conditioning program which will improve co-ordination, balance and strength and by doing all this prevent injuries (hopefully!). The workouts incorporate elements of gymnastics to encourage bodily control, weight lifting to elicit strength and power gains, technical lifts to improve co-ordination, agility and speed and endurance work to build stamina. There is generally a workout of the day which encompasses (quite often) a fair amount of barbell or kettlebell work with other exercises and running. It is always timed and always against other people, with an instructor every time, making you work much harder than you would on your own at a gym. I have visably improved my strength ridiculously in two months, from barely being able to pick up any weight at all to almost tripling it, without getting any bigger.

So I was hoping this training program would improve my windsurfing, that was the idea, I never want my own fitness level to hold me back in a competition. I had two sessions recently, and although the first session my forearms cramped a little, after they got over the initial hour or so I found I lasted longer, didn't struggle (as much) with the killer walk up the sand dune at the end and felt way more confident to try more moves, as I feel stronger and hopefully less prone to injury! You throw yourself around a lot in crossfit so you become more confident on the water.

Crossfit is a different workout everyday, timed, a competition, fun and completely addictive.

There is a link to Crossfit Plymouth here and a link to here.