Archive | September, 2010

Full of the joys of an Autumn Swell

24 Sep

Autumn is well and truly here.  Whilst my work colleagues were lamenting that we were not experiencing the Indian summer that they were expecting, the surf community in Cornwall jumped into action.

Last weekend, the isobars on the weather reports hinted that something special was coming our way.  The surf forecasting websites, with their new long-range abilities had more stars than Sunset Boulevard. Sure enough, as the week unfolded and the winds dropped, we all flocked to our favourite spots. 

Clinging to the railings in the car park at Watergate Bay, I watched the lines march in, and  hesitated.   The tide at was lower than I had expected, and the sets were head height and breaking fast.  I looked around and realised girls with boards of all shapes and sizes were heading for the sea.  After a summer of surfing white, windy slop, this was what I had been waiting for, it was no time to wimp out! 

I paddled out to the line up, my heart pounding.  Soon enough it was clear that I was more comfortable than I expected.  I sat in the line up alongside several guys who looked slightly nerve wracked, and I realised that I wasn’t afraid at all.  My confidence boosted, and some fine right-handers under my belt, I was smiling at the world.  A friendly nod from a sponsored female long boarder, and a great ride back to the beach, I was stoked and smug.

So why is this weekend bothering me?  Hurricane Igor is hitting the coast, and the conversation in the canteen is on a singular subject; where to go.  South coast spots, not so secret point breaks, windy well-known breaks?

I have almost resigned myself to sitting in the car, watching forlornly whilst listening to Radio One.  Why I am I so unsure?  I have surf anxiety.  Can I recreate the good surf I had this week, or am I nervous because I will be out of my comfort zone?

The reality is, until I am there tomorrow, I will not know.    I have waited all year for the Autumn swells, and as always the biggest challenge is inside my head.


Surf Pie

11 Sep

Although I enjoy being part of a subculture, it would be amazing to see surfing recognised as an Olympic sport or even for it to be scheduled on regular television. 

People unite to support their teams and I have chosen to support surfing as ‘my team’.

A few weeks ago I was trying to connect to the Billabong Pro Tahiti.  The server  was unusually slow, and I had difficulties logging in. I wondered whether the reason was down to the large number of people trying to log into watch the webcast of the event.  Instead of being frustrated, I was excited by this.

I have always enjoyed sport.  Throughout my teens my interest waxed and waned from one activity to another, from Hockey to Dance, to Swimming and Football.  Quite typically this then moved to boys and alcohol and any pursuits that followed were purely hedonistic.

As an adult I rediscovered how much I enjoyed an active lifestyle.  I started surfing, and now I define myself as a surfer.  It changed my life.

In this global society, sport transcends many things such as class, race or religion. I believe the only real exception to this is gender.  In order to truly enable more people to benefit from surfing as a lifestyle there needs to be more opportunities.  Especially for women. 

Three years ago I watched a women’s 5 star WQS event at Fistral Beach, in Newquay, Cornwall.  I even got to meet one of my surfing heroines, Megan Abubo.  This year no such luck.  Women weren’t even on the on the schedule.   

It seems that an increasing amount of people are logging into watch the ASP World Tour events.  This is exciting.  As surfing gets recognised by the mainstream as an exciting professional sport, the more opportunities it will create throughout the industry.

Hopefully us girls will get a bigger slice of that pie.  Keep logging in!