Thank you Women’s Surf Style Magazine for our Calavera feature!

Four days in Spain. A day in the life of. Instagraming Vejer.

I have just got back from four days visiting an old town in Spain where I used to spend a lot of time when I was growing up. It’s one of my favourite places in the world, situated on the South coast between Gibraltar and Cadiz. This little Spanish pueblo, Vejer de La Frontera, is built on the top of hill and from the tallest houses you can see across the Gibraltar Straits to the Northern coastline of Morocco. Because of it’s location it gets some awesome waves, and our favourite beach El Palmar is only a short 10 minute drive. Down on the beach there are great restaurants, bars, and places to hire boards and wetsuits for those who like to travel hand luggage only :-). There are plenty of other great surf spots in the area within a short driving distance, but be cautious and humble towards the locals and don’t leave valuables in your car!
The town itself of Vejer has a real old spanish style, filled with locals and oozing with spanish culture. The food there is incredible. I can’t remember the last time I ate so much haha. We must have spent more time eating our way through the tapas menus than sleeping and surfing combined!
It’s very easy to slip into the Spanish way of life in Vejer. You wake up to cafe con leches and bread with olive oil and grated tomato. This is then shortly followed by a tapas style lunch and a cerveza or possibly a glass of wine, or two. From 2pm everything shuts down. The town retreats to their houses for a siesta or an “afternoon nap”, my favourite part of the daily culture of spanish life :-). The town then starts to resurrect at 6pm, with locals heading out at around 9pm for yet again more fabulous tapas, delicious wines, and in-house-made digestive shots known as “hierbas”. The bars don’t get lively until past 11pm, and you rarely make it home before 2am in the morning. Make sure you take your dancing shoes, and remember when that mid-day siesta comes around take full advantage of it’s existence, you will appreciate it later on!

2nd place in the Nike Night Surf!

Super happy to have got 2nd place in the Nike Night Surf this weekend down in Fistral, Newquay. It was the first contest of the British circuit so I am really excited, and I am looking forward to the next event up in Thurso, Scotland, at the end of the month. Thanks to Nike Surf, the UKPSA and Marley Mellow Moods for organising and sponsoring the event. A BIG thanks everyone who showed up to support and watch, it was a really fun weekend and a great vibe throughout the contest! I also would like to give a special thank you to my amazing support team, my Mum, my Brother and Mel who I couldn’t have made it through without ;-), you guys made it all possible for me. One more big thank you to Calavera Swimwear for all the support, and I can’t wait to rock my Calavera wetsuit up in Thurso soon!

Getting packed up and ready to head down to Fistral for the UK Nike Night Surf, UK Pro Surf Tour

Just finished packing up my boards and wetsuits for the contest starting tomorrow down on Fistral Beach in Newquay. It’s the first contest of the UK Pro Surf Tour for the girls, and I’m super excited to be a part of it. My first heat is around 3pm tomorrow, so I will be getting up super early to drive the five hours down the coast to get there in time for a practice surf; it’s been a LONG time since I surfed in a wetsuit haha! I’ll be driving down there in the big red van and with my best support ever, my mum :-). It’s so nice to have her coming with me, I am so lucky!
The contest should be a lot of fun, so if anyone is in the Newquay area you should definitely stop by. Carve Magazine are holding a Public Surf Session at 9.00pm under the flood lights on Friday evening, and then there will be fireworks at 10.30pm after the finals on Saturday, probably followed by a lot of party! Hope to see some of you there 🙂

Hurley Pro on FIRE!

Check out the live stream from Lowers Trestles here!! Live Hurley Pro

After three days of travelling, I’m finally home!

After three long days of travelling back home, I am finally here! I have been welcomed by my amazing parents, and I am so happy to be spending some time with them over the next few weeks. My first sunset back on the beach was absolutely beautiful, I have missed being here so much and can’t tell you how lucky I feel and how blessed I am to be back here again with family and friends. I am looking forward to some much needed relaxation, good food, cold water waves and of course a little bit of adventure! But right at this moment I am overwhelmed by the comfiness of my bed and the joy of being here safely, so I wish you all good night and I will be dreaming of the Calavera Team at the New York Surf Film Festival premiering our first movie! Don’t have too much fun without me please 😉 x

Surfing until the sun goes down…

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Just enjoying my last few days in Costa Rica before I head back to England for two months. I am going to desperately miss surfing until dark with all of the Playa Hermosa crew, but I am excited for the start of a new adventure and some quality time at home with my family :-). I started packing today, Mum said it’s freezing cold at home, which means that I may be going home with no luggage at all haha. I don’t think I have any cold weather clothes anymore. So I am going to be saying goodbye my t-shirts and bikinis, BUT…..HELLO to my new Calavera wetsuit waiting for me at home! Can’t wait to try it out!

Surf Fitness and Training

“Training definitely helps the confidence of it, and you just feel a lot more ready. You’re just in that comfort of what your supposed to be doing and your body feels able to do whatever you want it to do, whatever you’re going to ask of it, and probably even a few steps more…” Ian Walsh, big wave surfer.

A couple of days ago I read an interesting article on the Surfer Magazine blog about a recent study on the functional surf fitness and physical demands of competitive surfing. The studies showed that to be a fit and functioning competitive surfer, you’ll need a “high endurance for paddling with bursts of high-intensity activity and short recovery times.” During a the tests run by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,the heat breakdown during a contest was as follows: Surfers spent 54 percent of the heat paddling, 28 percent of the time stationary on their boards, and only 8 percent of the heat spent actually riding waves. During the heat the heart rate was at it’s highest point just after the surfer had finished the wave.
What we can learn from these studies is key for our own surf training. We need to spend time doing exercises emphasising aerobic conditioning (swimming is great for this), fast recovery times, and high-intensity heart rate workloads. Feeling confident while surfing makes a huge difference, whether you are just out there surfing with friends or competing in a contest. Getting fit, strong, and engaging your mind and body throughout training will show huge results in your final surfing performance.
Here is a short video showing five basic exercises for each of the primary movements in surfing; paddling, duck diving, pop-up, hitting the lip, and barrel riding.

7.6 magnitude earthquake in Costa Rica 05/09/2012

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Today Costa Rica was hit by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake, one of the strongest earthquakes to hit in over 50 years. We are incredibly fortunate that the initial death tolls are low, but we can’t turn an eye on the damage that it has done to parts of the country and peoples lives. The earthquake hit around 8.30am this morning, and within one hour we had received news via text message and been issued a tsunami warning. At the time of the earthquake I was surfing, and when it hit the sea made a strange judder and pulsated for about eight seconds. It was a really weird sensation. We all looked around at each other in the line up in confusion about what had just happened. People on the beach began to wave their friends in. I instantly knew what had happened and got out of the water immediately. By the time I got home it was all over the news, and tsunami warnings had been issued. However, once I found out that the epicentre was in fact here in Costa Rica in Samara, I knew the likeliness of a tsunami hitting was dramatically decreased, and a couple of hours later the tsunami warning was lifted. We were all seriously lucky here today, and things like this just remind you that the earth is an incredibly powerful thing. We should never take anything for granted or underestimate the power of mother nature, because in one split second everything can be taken away. I want to thank everyone who has been in touch over the last few hours with messages and kind comments, it really means a lot. Finally I want to send out big love and support to all of our family and friends affected around Costa Rica, probably the strongest country in the world!

Three days exploring Tamarindo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Location: Tamarindo
Surf Spots: Langosta, Playa Grande, Tamarindo Bay, Avellanas, Playa Negra
Road Trip Playlist: Clay Marzo Just Add Water Soundtrack
Hostel Accomodation: Oveja Negra (amazing!)
Favourite Bars: Sharkys, The Beach Access
Favourite Breakfast Spot: Kahiki Restaurant
Favourite Dinner: Wok n Roll

On saturday morning last week we set off on a Rica Surf road trip with three girls to go and find waves in the North of Costa Rica up in Guanacaste. The swell was perfect, coming in at 5 feet and 20 seconds, and leaving us dreaming of pealing right hand point breaks and peaky beach breaks. Harriet is visiting from England, and having spent three days getting back into the groove of surfing in Jaco, we thought it would be a nice idea to take her exploring and surfing the northern beaches. The North of the country is stunning with a huge choice of waves. Even at this time of year when you can expect a lot of rain here in Costa Rica, it tends to remain much drier up there and the water is still the gorgeous picture perfect turquoise that you see on the postcards. We drove 5 hours up to Tamarindo from Playa Hermosa, and arrived in time for a super fun sunset surf session in the Tamarindo Bay. It’s a great wave when it works, with fun wedgy lefts and rights breaking off a set of rocks sat in the centre of the bay. It generally needs quite a bit of swell to produce a fun sized wave, so with the predicted forecast we knew we were going to score some good surf. The great thing about the Tamarindo area though is that even with little swell you can always find a wave to surf. In other words if you end up driving up there and being fronted with a flat bay in the middle of town, don’t freak out because there are plenty of other spots where you will be able to find some fun surf :-).

Just North of Tamarindo is Playa Grande, which is a much better facing direction and much more open to picking up swell, so if the main bay looks flat head to Grande to find waves. While we were up there however, because of the size of the swell and the direction, we surfed Langosta on our first morning which is a ten minute drive south of Tamarindo. It was super hollow when we arrived and pretty heavy, breaking on a shallow sand bar, but between the closeouts we scored some fun barrels and had a great session! The next two surf sessions we hit up Avellanas and Playa Negra accompanied by our local surfer boys Beto and Miguel :-). You can find these waves a further 20 minutes South of Tamarindo. We arrived at Avellanas on the low tide and walked down to the rivermouth to find an overhead A-Frame style peak and little crowd. Perfect!The great thing about the Northern beaches of Costa Rica at this time of year is the offshore winds. You can wake up to a glassy surf in the morning, the offshore starts to blow at around 10am/11am, and then you can expect a glassy sunset session. It’s a dreamland. We ventured to Playa Negra after Avellanas, a right hand rocky point break that works well on a mid to high tide. The conditions were great, although we were still a little early for the tide and it was looking really shallow and rocky. We ended up heading back to town for breakfast at our favourite restaurant Kahiki. They do the best and biggest breakfast in town, and its amazing value. We worked our way through the menu over the course of the three days between the five of us. There were burritos as big as your head, amazing local gallo pinto with fried cheese, extra orders of pancakes for only $1, unlimited coffee, granola fruit plates, and my personal favourite; nutella filled strawberry topped cinnamon sprinkled french toast. Oh Yeahhh.
Tamarindo was awesome. We scored amazing waves, ate amazing food and enjoyed amazing company. The town itself is really fun with loads of great bars, clubs and hang outs, and there’s more surf spots than you can count on your fingers and toes. People tend to be turned off by how built up the town is and the reputation it has for being a tourist hotspot, but as a travelling surfer I thought Tamarindo rocked. Everything is reasonably priced, the nightlife is buzzing, the surrounding beaches are gorgeous, and the waves are insane! Thank you for an incredible three days!! We will be back soon 🙂