Tuesday, 16 April 2013
Thursday, 11 April 2013
Wow-there is loads to write about! I guess I'll start with the beginning of our trip to Pig Dog Surf Camp (check out their website here, its pretty cool!) They are located just South of Sines in a non-touristy part of Portugal which has so many surf spots to offer which are generally pretty empty!
The day before we were due to fly with EasyJet we decided to put windsurf kit in-queue 4 hours of panic packing in minus degrees outside in the dark! We had to get 3 windsurf boards, rigs and 3 surf boards all in three 32kg bags. We gambled taking a 4.2 and 4.7 only. The surf looked pretty stormy and Westerly and when we arrived in Lisbon to get away from the wet UK, we had torrential rain. Our first surfs were big, stormy and onshore, but we surfed at the Harbour Wall which was not only a few degrees warmer water due to a power station cooling loop but also had an amazing rip out by the wall you could sit in and wait for the sets.
Unfortunately the wind did its thing for a few more days, enough to muck up the surf but not enough for an onshore windsurf. There was scattered rain and while Portugal was having landslides due to the unseasonal weather, England was covered in snow. We were told this was the worst two weeks weather Portugal had had in a long time! BUT, it brightened up eventually! A few more friends came for the long weekend and we had a sunny surf while the whole West coast was pumping! We did have to find a slightly smaller spot which would normally be the harbour wall in a usual NW swell, but this was still double overhead with the West swell!
We had more surfing at Apocalypse-a beach you do not want to see at low tide as all the spindly needle rocks stick up vertical and are hidden at high tide-I was completely oblivious the first time I went in!
After all the surfing, my shoulders burned! Then after a couple of false hopes taking the windsurf kit to the beach, we finally got an awesome down the line cross off starboard session. I haven't sailed cross off starboard tack for a few years now so I was a little rusty! We were all absolutely stoked :)
The last few days brought smaller cleaner surf conditions, with more sun and more glassy waves.
I was convinced by Jon and Andy at Pigdog to enter the South Portugal Regional Surf competition at the weekend with a couple of guys they trained there. It was my first surf competition so I didn't know what to expect! The first day had the classic wait for your heat all day as it got pushed back and then moved to the next day. I saw El Point through all tides, from pretty rubbish low tide to barrelly high tide and back. The funniest and worst thing was fighting about 40 groms in the warm up session before the contest-they were everywhere and got on every wave! I surfed against two other girls in the heat, having a great first wave but then stupidly thinking someone was waving me in on the beach during the heat, paddling in a bit, and wasting loads of time getting caught by a set. I got a few more little waves but nothing spectacular, and came in thinking I'd done rubbish. Jon said he was convinced I'd got through and I only lost out by 0.1 point! If only I'd done one more wiggle! I came 5th overall, not bad for my first comp and i certainly learnt a lot!
Sunday, 24 March 2013
The video above is an example of one of our workouts we did on Wednesday, with lots of kettlebell swinging! On Thursday after work we snuck in a windsurf session at Whitsands beach, our local near Plymouth. While the rest of the UK was snowing all over Plymouth just recieved torrential rain and flooding - funny, last time I sailed Whitsands it was exactly the same! So we changed inside the van and got all the kit out as quick as possible to avoid flooding our van, and trekked 10 minutes down the cliff. The waves were head to logo, but as it was low tide, they were just dumping on the sand bar and Whitsands being Whitsands, there was no break in the sets and a lot of white water. Due to the fetch of the beach the rip was pretty strong, so even though it was 3.7 to 4.2 weather, I didn't plane at all and it became a lottery as to whether you would wobble out between a big dump. Actually pretty scary sailing with rock, rips, bad visability and no-one but me and Stef out. Did I mention lots of swimming too?
Anyway I haven't sailed whitsands for about 3 months before this session, mostly because it is pretty fickle and the 10 minute cliff hike kind of puts you off. I have to say though climbing the cliff compared to last time seemed a doddle (still a massive shoulder ache), but I was fitter and those squats and kettle bell swings must be helping my legs and shoulders! Great to feel my training is paying off in at least some aspect of my fitness!
Afterwards I think the torrential rain made us go a little crazy and we mucked about taking stupid shots! On the way back I also made a calll to the local police as the cliff road was subsiding and had dropped about 3 inches-always good to know when there are buses going along that route!
Pleased to make the top of the cliff!
Saturday, 16 March 2013
Last weekend was 3.7 weather easterly winds, it was going to be freezing! We slept in the van at Falmouth the night before after an amazing curry with Frenchie and Steve King, it was about 1 degree. The next morning we drove to the South Coast, a spot I'd never sailed before, following the satnav to a farm (classic) before finally arriving at the beach. There was a nice rigging area in the forest which gave us a false hope of a warm session! I wore gloves but they quickly annoyed me and give me cramp in my forearms, so ended up wearing them just on my thumbs with them flapping around. I am still yet to find a good pair of windsurf gloves! Anyway, suprisingly the session wasn't all that cold, it was full power 3.7 weather cross-on head building to logo and really fun! I had some nice wave rides and crashed a lot of forwards and backie attemps-really need to do more jumping and improve! Here are some photos I took and Steve took after the session of Andy King and some others.
Yesterday we sailed Bigbury after work but the spring tides and the river killed all the wind after 10 minutes and underpowered onshore was not fun-I ended up getting pretty angry! However, a week on Tuesday, 6 of us are heading to Sines in Portugal to PigDog Surfcamp for 2 weeks of surfing-wooop!! Looking forward to some warmer water and nice waves :)