Deep tissue massage…Why it’s oh so good.

307623_10151364969001411_1862255611_nFirstly thank you Mira for the most amazing and relieving massage today. I feel a million times better! I am still having problems with my back and hips as a result of my rib injury last year. I have been paying a lot of attention to my body recently and I am try to do everything I can to get back into shape the “right way” and to take care of myself. However, my body keeps shifting back into an unbalanced alignment where my spine corkscrews and my hips become twisted. This then affects the major muscles groups in my back (the erector spinae, quadratus lumborum, and trapezius) which can make it uncomfortable to even sit down. My rhomboids are also tight from paddling, especially on the left side where my rib injury was and compensation has been made around the problem area. I am still seeing the chiropractor weekly and I have just started going back to the gym as of two days ago. I am trying to practice yoga daily and do everything to keep my body in alignment and the muscles flexible, so the massage today really helped relieve some of my most stressed areas.

Surfing involves a lot of radical movements: swinging, twisting, cut backs. It’s only normal that we suffer from tight areas and pressure points. This is why a deep tissue massage is a key aspect to add to your training programme to keep your body happy and doing everything you ask of it. Massage is a form of passive exercise and stretching. It improves circulation, increases a sense of wellness and heath in your body, improves lymphatic flow which leads to detoxification, and enhances performance in physical activity; the benefits are endless.

Mira gave me a trigger point deep tissue that help release the hypertonic muscles, especially in my back and hips, and this will help keep the spine from being pulled out again.

I’m super stoked to be back onto my training programme with a much better understanding of how to look after myself and work with the injury, and I’m thankful to be surrounded by so many helpful and supportive people!

Post surf yoga and daily stretches

Yoga is quickly becoming something that is part of my daily routine. I never used to do yoga, or any kind of stretching on that matter. I’de normally get up and surf for hours and hours, eat well, go to the gym, do some work, and then sleep. Stretching never even crossed my mind. However, when I was recovering from my injury my physio would give me stretches to do to improve my body condition. I instantly felt a huge difference in my body once I started to do the stretches on a daily basis, so I did a little bit more research on some good yoga postures to relieve the major muscle groups we use when surfing. I now try to do these deep stretches every day for about half an hour, and can only praise the effects. As well as releasing all of the tension within the muslces, I have considerably increased my flexibilty and stability. I am much more confident in the water because my body feels better and stronger and my energy levels are much higher. Its improved my surfing so much I can’t tell you. Yoga is also a great way to train your mind to focus, and I feel it has really helped with my mental discipline in and out of the water. Here are a few of my favorite stretches. I normally do them before I go to sleep as they help me to relax, but you can do them at any point throughout the day when you get time. Dedication is key 🙂

I normally start off with a couple of rounds of sun salutations to warm my body up and loosen any really tight muscles before I go into these deeper stretches.
Downward dog is one of my favourite poses to release tension in my shoulders, and it also strengthens the wrists and the arms, it feels great!
The lotus pose is a nice position to start in after you’ve warmed up a little. It opens your hips, and stretches your ankles and your knees. You can also spend a moment here to concentrate on your deep breathing, which is something you should maintain throughout your whole practice.
The extended side angle pose stretches the top side of your body from your back heel through the raised arm. You will feel a stretch in your groin, an opening of your hip bones and a release in your shoulders and neck.
The dolphin pose (similar to downward dog but resting on your forearms) is another great pose to open up those tight shoulders.
Both warrior I and warrior II poses are great for increasing stamina and strengthening you legs. This is a great moment to really concentrate on lengthening your spine and using your core to hold you tall and straight.
The camel pose I love becuase it relieves any backache. It also improves flexibility of the neck and the spine.
Pigeon is my favourite way to open my hips amd stretch my glutes. It’s a great stress relieving pose, and I hold it for several minutes on each side.
To stretch you knees, thighs and ankles, try the reclining hero pose.
I like to include some kind of spinal twist to my practice, whether I am seated or laid on my back. There are several variations so chose one that you feel comfortable with.
I always end my session with a long seated forward bend. It stretches the complete backside of your body from the back of your head down to your heels. Breath deeply into into yout entire back and each day try to reach a little further to increase your flexibility.

Depending on your sore areas, you can add in stretches to each practice and try different variations to keep it interesting. The hardest thing for me however with the yoga is the discipline. It’s so easy just to skip it out of your routine. That’s why I dedicate to myself half an hour before I go to bed every day. It helps me relax and even improves my sleeping. I go to bed with peace of mind that I am going to wake up feeling bouncy and ready to get out there and surf again. Super happy with my new found love for yoga!

Let’s take a look at our pre-surfing warm up.

148618_507644352601091_425100720_nI’ve never really been the kind of person to do a proper warm up before surfing. I arrive at the beach, I see the surf pumping, I may quickly bend down and touch my toes in a loose manner but then I’m straight onto my board and paddling out.
I’ve been told by many people that stretching before paddling out isn’t actually as effective as it’s praised to be. But recently I have done a little more research. Having spent the last year injured and definitely not paying enough attention to my body, I am now just getting back into shape and realising the importance of post surf stretching and warm up. The deep stretches and yoga can definitely be saved for after your surf session, but should not be ignored. They are incredibly important for flexibility, core strength and recovery. However these stretches aren’t ideal for your pre surf warm up.
Essentially what we want to do before any vigorous sport activity is gradually increase the heart rate, raise your body temperature, and start moving the body into positions that we will be using whilst surfing. One of the benefits I love of this warm up is that it will have you performing better from wave one. Instead of paddling out to the line up and wasting your first couple of waves to get into rhythm, you’ll paddle straight out there and be ripping from the moment you pop up. Your mind will be more focused, your muscles ready to contract, and you are also reducing the chances injuries.
I have chosen several dynamic stretching exercises, which I now do before every surf session. I can really praise the benefits. From the moment I hit that water, my body is awake, my muscles are ready to perform, and my mind is focused. And what’s even better is that it doesn’t even take 5 minutes.

1. Lunges: walk forward four, holding each lunge for 2 seconds, and then walk back four. Pull in though your core. Repeat 3 times.
2. Squats: 15 squats. Get your bum really close to the floor, and spring back up.
3. Torso twists. With floppy arms, swing left and right.
4. Torso twists. Rigid arms, and turn your head to look behind. 15 twists.
5. Explosive twists. Squat down low “hands over your rails” position, and then explode up and twist into the opposite direction, turning your shoulders and head. 10 starting on the left side and exploding up and to the right. And then 10 vice versa.
6. Lower back warm up. Lie on the sand, hips at 90 degrees and knees at 90 degrees and let your legs fall left and then fall right.
7. Same again, but shorter, more explosive twisting movements back and forth. Use you core and your stomach muscles to pull your legs back and forth.
8. Lie on your back with your arms stretched open. Straighten your left leg and kick over to your right hand. Then repeat on the other side, right foot to left hand. Repeat 10 times.
9. Warm up the hamstrings. Standing up and using your board as a balance, kick you left leg as high as you can, swinging it backwards and forwards. Repeat with the right leg. 10 each side.
10. Fast scissor lunges to get the heart rate high, followed by some high jumping jacks 🙂

Surf video analysis sessions with the girls in Santa Teresa

videoanalysisI have been really lucky to be involved in the video analysis training sessions with all the girls here in Santa Teresa. Once a week, they all meet up at 6am on the beach and film for two hours with Martin, a fantastic surf coach from the UK who has kindly offered up his time to help the surfer girls in Teresa really progress and push their surfing to the next level. In the evening everyone gets together and the video footage is projected on a large wall so that the girls have front row seats of their morning waves. Martin explains in detail exactly where improvements can be made, and demonstrates key techniques.

Video analysis can make a massive improvement to your surfing skills and rapidly increase your learning curve. I can’t think of a better or more productive way to get better at surfing quickly. Even though at times it can feel humiliating watching yourself surf haha, the amount of important and valuable information you take away from one video analysis session will have you seeing results after day one; it’s incredible. A great piece of advice is to watch your video just before you go out surfing so it’s fresh in your mind exactly what you need to work on. You can also write on your hand, or stick masking tape on your board with key words to constantly remind you of what you should be focusing on whilst you are in the water 🙂

After session number one, my key word from Martin was HOLD. What he wanted me to concentrate on was to hold my body positioning for a second longer to help drive through my bottom turn and through my roundhouse cutback. On the cutback, this means holding the rotation in my shoulders for a fraction longer so I come back up the wave higher and rebound off the white water, creating more speed to enter the next section. On my bottom turn, holding the rotation and looking up at the lip will help me to enter the wave more vertically (judges love this in contests!).

I was stoked today to get this shot from Antonio Russo this morning. Having been given the advice the day before from Martin, I went out there with one thing on my mind which was to hold through my bottom turn and try to get more vertical and boom, it actually worked! I am so so stoked and super pumped for my next video analysis session on Monday! Yewwwwww
65069_507644962601030_194520553_n

How to surf small waves. Yes it’s lame, but sometimes we gotta do it

evie johnstone surfer girl
Lets face it, we all know that rocking up to the beach and being confronted with 1-2 foot onshore mush can really kill your surf froth, small waves are lame. However, surfing small conditions can really help you develop and improve all aspects of your surfing. So first things first, we’ve got to change our attitude. This means instead of getting back in the car and driving home dry, we need jump out and attack the water with full energy and positivity. At the end of the day, waves are waves, it could be flat. Let’s not forgot that 80% of the contests we do (especially as girls), we are challenged with small conditions, the worst tide times, and normally mid-day onshores. The main thing to remember about the small days is to stay light on your feet and to really work it. On bigger days the wave does most of the work for you, but on the smaller days, you do. Doesn’t sound fun does it, but here are some useful tips to get you ripping on smaller waves and out there surfing more days of the year.

Paddle hard and attack the take-off
You need to enter a small wave at high speed, so when you chose what wave to go for, go at it hard. Paddle fast, kick your feet, and fully commit. Also think about taking off behind the peak so you get down the line projection.

After take-off
Lift your arms on takeoff to lift the weight off the board and accelerate you forwards. Turn down the line fast with a slightly further forward stance and stay on your toes. Really work using your legs, keep you weight centred over your board, and be as light as a butterfly; you’ll be speeding down the line faster than the longboarders. Remember when you go for a turn manoeuvre to shuffle that stance back again.

Manoeuvres: When. What. And where.
Floaters and cutbacks with re-bounds off the foam are good manoeuvres to maintain speed and flow. Tail slides, 360s, chop-hops, and airs are also great tricks to practise in small waves, but make sure you chose your section wisely as your more than likely to only get once chance to pull it off.

No hopping/bouncing
Rail to rail surfing is key for fluidity and style. My coach drills this into me on a weekly basis. Work using your legs and your back foot to skim through those flat sections, and eliminate the hopping! The other key to gliding through flat spots and connecting waves is having enough foam under your feet (Rob Machado), which leads me onto board selection.

For small waves you want to look for something that has more volume in the tail and through the middle than your standard board. A wider nose can also help increase your paddle speed, and get you into waves easier. Look for a short, fat, flat, wide design with a wide tail, and don’t be afraid to go a good few inches shorter than your standard board. Swallow tails, bat tails and diamond tails are all great designs for surfing the small conditions as they will help you release from turns more quickly and also turn on a tighter radius, which are all key elements to enhance our small wave surfing.

My normal short board is a 5’11, 18 1/4, 2 1/4, but when the conditions are small like they have been recently, I always chose my magic “Diamond Geezer” Quiver. It’s a 5’8, 18 5/8, 2 1/4 wide nose, wide tail magical creation. I love it. Whatever the conditions are like, I still froth to get out there because I know I’m always going to have a good surf on this board. I think it’s really important for the mental side of surfing to love your board :-), so chose something that really works for you.

DiamondGeezerQuiver
So to finish off, what are the benefits of surfing small waves?? You work harder, so you are fitter, you will perform better on the bigger days, you can add another board to your quiver, and you’ll be smashing the contests. Yewwwwwww 🙂

First day back in Costa Rica! No swell, but plenty of laughs and wipeouts on the longboards!

Super happy to be UK Number 1 Female Surfer 2012! Yeeewwwww

Super super happy to have got 1st place on the Women’s UK Pro Surf Tour this year! It’s been an awesome three months of travelling around the UK, meeting all the British surfers, hanging out and surfing with all the British girls, and generally having the best time. Its been such an amazing experience, and I couldn’t be happier to have come away with the British UKPSA title. I want to give a massive thanks to my sponsors who have made it possible, Calavera Swimwear who are my support life-line, A3 Energy, and Dragon Alliance. To my friends and family who have been there for me always, I can’t thank you enough or show enough appreciation for everything you give me. Also a huge thanks to Dave Reed for organising all the events and putting on a really fun tour for us all, and Rob Tibbles, our legend photographer sticking it out for hours in the cold, thank you as well! I’ve has the best time and couldn’t be more stoked!

Demasiada feliz por ganar el campeonato nacional del Reino Unido 2012. Quiero agradecer a mis sponsors por todo el apoyo este año y también a mi entrenador Geancarlo Loria Fonseca. Sin el apoyo de todas estas personas, mi familia, mis amigos y Costa Rica, no hubiera alcanzado mis metas este año, les agradezco demasiado. Mil gracias y muy feliz!!

Yeeeewwwwwwwwwwww x

Super stoked to get 1st place in the Relentless contest up in Thurso this weekend!

I am really happy to have got 1st place in the Relentless Contest up in Thurso this weekend on the UK Pro Surf Tour. We scored amazing waves, with Thurso East being probably one of the best waves I’ve ever surfed, and home to the nicest people I’ve ever met. We stayed in a great hotel, The Station, which has AMAZING all you can eat and whatever you want included breakfast, ideal for keeping you warm in the freezing cold and your energies high for the epic long surf sessions! The staff were so kind and friendly and made our stay feel so welcomed. The rooms were perfect, nice and spacious, and the radiators were forever blazing and the showers forever hot! It couldn’t have been a better set up. Despite the freezing cold weather, the waves were EPIC. It’s my idea of heaven with perfect right hand barrels and 6-8 foot of playful walls. Definitely in my top 10 surf spots without a doubt.
I want to give a HUGE thank you to my Mum for driving Lucy and I up there, 16 hours into what felt like the middle of nowhere, and also for always having hot tea and beans for us when we got out the water, you are the best Mum! Also a massive thanks to Calavera Swimwear for making it possible for me and always providing the best support, Firewire Surfboards for supplying me with awesome boards, and A3 Energy and Dragon sunglasses. Thurso town, thank you for having us, it was an amazing weekend and we will definitely be back soon. BIG thanks to the UK Pro Surf Tour and all of the sponsors including Scottish Power Renewables for organising a great event! Super stoked! Yeeeeewww xxx

Don’t miss the Quiksilver Pro in France!

Watch it live here 🙂 Quiksilver Pro, France

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 🙂