Thursday, 13 December 2018

Getting back in the surf

After nearly 6 months out of the water, I got to dust of my surfboard and hit the waves! However, this isn't the first time I have had months out of the surf. In the past, on some occasions, I have had time out due to injury, but this is the first time I have taken a step back from riding waves due to growing a human. This has been by far the most significant change and challenges my body has ever gone through, and it's taken me longer than I hoped to get back in the water, but boy did it feel good to get back in when I did.

I will be completely honest with you all, it took me longer than I expected to get back into the surf, and I felt extremely nervous, overthinking every aspect of which should be a fun experience, not a scary one. Funnily enough, it wasn't the prospect of the cold water or waves that made me feel nervous, it was, in fact, fear of my body failing me. Since having Albee I have felt weak, my stomach muscles feel like they don't exist anymore, my upper body feels broken from all the uncomfortable positions I have to get it while feeding or putting Albee to sleep. I couldn't feel further from fit and healthy if I tried. To be brutally honest this has been one of the hardest things for me. I thought after having Albee I would bounce back to fitness and feel just like I did before. The truth is, it's going to take a while to get back to where I was before, which I am fine with, I will have to make time for the gym, get in the surf as much as I can and on my yoga mat at home, all while trying to juggle being a working mom!

Anyway, I wanted to write this post for anyone who was in the same boat that I was in. Maybe you have gone through childbirth, or you're recovering from an injury, whatever the reason you've taken time out from surfing I am here to tell you  ... DO NOT WORRY. Your first surf back won't be as bad as you expect, take it from me. Here's how I overcame my nerves and got back on my board after having Albee.

Finding the right time

The day I got back into the surf, I felt terrific. I had a great night with Albee and for the first time in a while felt full of energy and lucky the stars aligned, and the Gods of surfing delivered me perfect conditions, the wait was worth it. I had plenty of other chances to get back in the surf, but on those days the waves were either too big, too small, too windy or my head wasn't in the right place. I didn't want to put pressure on myself to get back in too soon. I tried to make surfing fun again, and I knew a fun surf for me would be 2-3ft clean conditions on a weekend so Ben could watch Albee, and that's just what I had.

My advice would be to wait, the patient and surf when you feel ready and when the conditions are right for you. Avoid the days you know you won't enjoy, there's plenty of time to challenge yourself, but now is not the time.

My Pre-surf thoughts 

I felt anxious, which is normal but, it didn't let this stop me getting in the surf when I finally felt ready. The key thing here is "when I finally felt ready." I patiently waited for the right waves, and more importantly the right day for me emotionally, because let's face it, my hormones have been all over the place. I did have a lot of self-doubts flowing through my mind, but I guess this is quite normal. I thought I wouldn't be able to get to my feet, that I'd completely kook every wave and end up getting frustrated. Luckily it was quite the opposite.

My advice would wholeheartedly be, don't over think it. Remove the high expectations and pressure and just go out there and enjoy it. Even if you end up just surfing the white water, just enjoy being back in the surf.

Not as bad as I thought

I managed to get to my feet with ease, cruise along the waves and even attempt a little cutback, which felt so good! It really wasn't as terrible as I thought it would be. The feeling of the ocean on my fingertips, the light salt breeze on my face, I felt so at home. I built it up to something so much bigger than it needed to be, which in turn added extra pressure which was completly unnecessary. The moment I got in the surf and removed all expectations to ride waves like I did pre-baby, was the moment I began to feel excited again. I chose to surf my bigger board, a board I would catch fun waves on and just focus on cruising along the waves rather than trying to do any manoeuvres.

My advice to you would be this, just enjoy being back in the water. You've waited so long for this day, don't ruin it by pilling on the pressure. Just sit back, take it all in and embrace being back on your surfboard again. Surf a board you are comfortable in and in a place that's familiar to you.






I also wanted to end this blog post talking about the kit I am wearing this winter. I get asked all the time which wetsuits I would recommend, and my answer has been the same for over 10 years now. The best wetsuits for our UK waters are C-Skins. This season I have two wetsuits to choose from. 

November - January I will be wearing the C-Skins Solace 5x3 wetsuit, with boots, gloves and a hood. 

January - March because I really feel the cold and love nothing more than being cosy in the sea I will be wearing the C-Skins Wired 6mm wetsuit with a built in hood. As with the 5x3 I will team this with boots and gloves for extra warmth. 

When buying a new wetsuit, there are a few areas to consider. The fit, the thickness and type of zip fastening. I always favour a chest zip wetsuit, I find the prevent flushing and keep me warm in the surf. I also think where ever possible it's best to try on a wetsuit because the sizing always varies. For example, I wear a dress size 8/10 but wear a UK 6 wetsuit. 

Just make sure you pick the wetsuit that is right for you and the one that fits the best because ultimately that's what will keep you warmer for longer. 



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