Tag Archives: Surfing

Back in the World…

9 Apr

As you may or may not have guessed from lack of blogs, or my tweets about sleep deprivation I have been away for a while. Not in the physical sense, but the person I previously knew as me has had a hiatus.

A new baby, motherhood and 10 months out of the water unsurprisingly turned my world inside out and upside far more than I expected. Despite those well meaning (but really annoying) people who warned me thus, I found out for myself.

However, I am slowly beginning to emerge from this chrysalis of new parenthood. I’ve surfed almost regularly since November when my son was 11 weeks old. I’m even managing a blog, and tomorrow I go back to work, just for a couple of days. I would have liked to say that during my maternity leave that I have transformed into some kind of superwoman, able to divide my time equally between family, work and leisure with ruthless efficiency. The reality is I will be poking my head back into my old life, a trail of soiled muslins and rice cakes in my wake. Despite this, I do not mind. As I write now, a tiny Kraken lies beside me, precious (and sometimes monstrous) a reminder of this strange journey I’ve been embarking on.

My son has provided me with the perfect reason not to be as selfish. I am grateful I can no longer recognise myself as the hedonistic beast I was in my twenties (I am still doing all nighters, but they are of a different kind). It is just not possibly to decide to go on a bender Sunday lunchtime and breast feed! I am (almost) happy with surfing less frequently, as I now have an excuse not to go in on those really, really cold but offshore days, as when the wind chill is minus two I would much rather cuddle up with my boys instead. The return to work will make me appreciate time at home more than ever. On the plus side going back to work means I get to drink tea whilst its still hot. I will even be able to have a wee without needing to stop a seven month old from trying to teeth on the toilet brush.

I am slowly returning to the world of the a life previously lived, and although I am looking forward to some components of my old life almost being back to normal, things will never quite be the same again. And for that, I am glad*.

*except at 1:00, 3:00 and 5:00 am in the morning.

My Boys on the beach…

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On Countdown…

13 Aug

Day 2 of my official maternity leave, and whilst in this strange limbo I have started to think about surfing again. I’ve not been for a surf for nearly 6 months now, and I am beginning to wonder what my chances are of juggling a newborn, breast feeding and Autumn swells are. If I am to believe the horror stories from other parents, my chances are slim to none. Will I even want to go surfing?

My husband is keen for me to get back in the water. He has coped well with the hormonal highs and lows from his ever expanding and whining wife, but alas neither of us know the reality of what will happen to our lives in no less than two weeks (or maybe a month if I go overdue). Will we ever surf together again or will we always be trying to squeeze in sessions, swapping over baby duties with a pit stop turnaround in the rare windows of swell?

So, whilst on countdown to the start of one the biggest life changing events possible, is this the beginning of the end, or simply the start of a new way of life? I will have to wait and see…

Water Babies

31 Mar

Crystal Dzigas - photo by Anthony Walsh

The last few months I have been adjusting an exciting new stage in my life; pregnancy.  By adjusting, I mean not only coping with the radical changes to my body, tiredness, nausea and hello girls – what has happened to my boobs(!), but with the list of things I am not supposed to eat or drink or even do. The biggest question I had for my midwife was ‘can I surf?

Since my early twenties, when I first met my husband, surfing suddenly became the pivot around which my life revolved.  He had a big part to pay in that, determined to ensure it was important to me as it was to him, he spent the first summer we were together towing me out back and pushing me into unbroken my waves to make sure I got the buzz.  Well, it worked.  Our life decisions revolve around being near the surf, we chose our jobs for that reason, and bought a house as close to the sea as we could afford.  So the next big life decision that we both made, to start a family was one that I knew would be a challenge.

I had already done some research.  Four times World Champion Lisa Anderson competed whilst pregnant, and missed only the last event of the year back in 1993.  5 weeks after giving birth, she was back in the water and made the final, eventually winning the event. Chelsea Hedges, World Champion in 2005 surfed until she was 4 months pregnant, and had her first surf three weeks after giving birth.  However I am hardly Lisa Anderson or Chelsea Hedges. When the midwife said to me ‘as long have you been surfing for at least 6 months beforehand, you can continue surfing’, I was stoked.

The general advice is that pregnancy is not the right time to begin any new vigorous regimes if you are not used to them, but having surfed for the past 6 years, I knew I would be totally comfortable in the water.  Despite the first 12 weeks of pregnancy being the most risky period, for a surfer, they are also the time when your body has changed the least, without the tell tale pregnancy belly. Low impact exercises such as swimming are recommended, and in my mind, surfing is low impact (providing there isn’t a collision with another surfer or your own board).

I had been inspired by the story of Crystal Dzigas, the Roxy sponsored Hawaiian pro surfer who had surfed until she was nearly full term. By paddling on her knees on her longboard, and switching from her usual break of Ala Moana Bowls to Queens in Waikiki, she surfed until at least 7 months.  Her partner pro surfer Anthony Walsh was proud to point out his unborn son had already competed in a surf contest as Dzigas had won the Noosa Festival surfing event in March 2010 whilst pregnant ‘he’s only seven months old and he’s surfing already’.

Life works in mysterious ways, and whilst in an ideal world I would have timed my pregnancy to miss a British Winter of freezing surf and 5mm wetsuits, ready to be back in the water for Spring, my body had other plans.  I discovered I was pregnant in December, and as I was desperate to surf before my belly got too big, I knew I would have to make the most of cold surf.

I have surfed only a couple of times whilst pregnant, as I felt I had to be choosy and pick the right conditions, and now my bump is too big for me to comfortably paddle on my short board.  I have found it very hard not surfing the last few weeks with the sun out and pumping waves. The reality of trying to squeeze myself into a restrictive Winter suit was a wake up call. 

My husband is now trying to get used to having a non surfing wife (and has experienced some of the earache that most guys get that have a partner that doesn’t surf).  It will be worth it, as we are both happy and excited to be growing our very own water baby, one that has already had their first surf!

Alternative Hobbies After 4 Weeks of Onshores

7 Jan

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I’ve almost given up on surfing…

Not So Secret Spot

20 Nov

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For those that read my earlier post referring to a secret spot with a fabled right hander, here is a picture of Tim surfing it last winter. It only works on a certain tide when the swell is coming from west to north westerly direction, and it needs to be a big swell! This was the biggest I’ve seen it. Unfortunately it is not as secret as it once was. Only 3 or 4 years ago we surfed it with a maximum of 8 or so people. This weekend there was probably nearly 40 people out.

Read ‘Em and Weep – Reading the Charts

18 Nov
Magic Seaweed

Magic Seaweed Surf Forecast Newquay

Office bound surfers are often to be found trying to surreptitiously check the surf forecast throughout the week, anticipating their release when the clock strikes 5:00 pm. The problem with these short days and long nights means we can no longer sneak a quick dip before and after work. The onus falls squarely on the weekend now.

What is worse than a chart denoting no swell and flat conditions for a surfer like me? A chart a bit like the one shown on this post. Why you ask?

I have watched all week and seen the charts looking full of friendly 3-4 foot surf. I have seen the Tweets from the smug weekday surfers, and viewed the pictures posted by the oh so helpful surf magazines. ‘Look what you’re missing’ they scream. So now it is the weekend, and I along with the other weekend warriors are amped to get wet, and Saturdays forecast is for 7-11 foot swell.

Too big for me! Cold, overhead surf is not want I want for my play time. I am happy to accept that I am a wimp. My muscles have slowly been turning to jelly whilst sat at my desk munching cake all week. The challenge is now on to find somewhere where it will still be fun.

Cornish beach breaks do not generally hold large swells particularly well, although there are exceptions. Even the sheltered spots are likely to be heavy and rammed with others who have had the same thought process as me. I do have something up my sleeve, a semi secret spot. Somewhere between Newquay and Bude lies this very Cornish spot. If the tide is right and the swell gets in, long right handers will be mine, oh yes, they will be mine.

Surfing – good for your mind, body and…bank balance?

29 Oct

Happy in France

I spent yesterday morning in the Trafford Centre, Manchester. Being half term and pay-day for a lot of people it was rammed. For those that haven’t been, it is pretty impressive as shopping centres go, engineered to help you part with your money in as much comfort as possible.

These days, the only time I generally visit these places is when out and about for work. Why else would I be lured away from Cornwall to experience the delights of the Centre, Milton Keynes, Cribbs Causeway and Westfields? There was a time when these types of places would have been my destination for the weekend like they are for a large percentage of the population.

Before I discovered surfing, I got my thrills from going shopping. Instead of a testing paddle out, I battled with other shoppers to find a decent parking space. Now, I get excited by the changing seasons with the promise of hurricane swells, or warmer water or fewer people. Before, the seasons simply marked the latest sales. The adrenaline rush came not from pushing my limits in overhead surf, but from pushing the limit of a nearly maxed out credit card. Would the purchase go through or would I have the embarrassment of my card being declined? I am now undecided about which board to use, not which credit card to use. It is true, I had a problem. With nothing else to do at the weekend, I shopped for my kicks. It was an expensive habit which I have very nearly paid off.

Surfing may be free but the accoutrements of surfing are not cheap. I have had to make my £200 winter wetsuit last for almost three years, and although boards have been big investments, the pleasure and excitement I get from surfing has been well worth it. I have not racked up huge debts through surfing (although a fair spent bit has been spent on travelling). Shopping, and being away from the sea is now very much a chore.

With thanks to my sponsor (and Husband) for supporting my surf habit for the past 6 years!