Surfabella The First Year

Happy Birthday to Me

It’s the first birthday of Surfabella today. A year ago today I hit publish on my first post then ran away and hid in a cupboard because I was a bit shy about sharing my words.

 Surfabella started as a way for me to channel my longing  (stropping and sulking)  for the sea and to surf into something constructive rather than just continuing to alienate every human and some animals around me by boring them to death with surf talk. It has become so much more.

We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect  – Anais Nin 

So, I find myself looking back at the year I turned 40 and a year of Surfabella. Sharing my writing for the first time was pretty daunting but, I have learnt a lot about myself from the jumble of letters that fell onto the page and by being so honest with my pen. The act of writing it all down seems to have carved the path ahead for me so I can see which direction I’m headed in.

Looking Back

The year was not without its ups and downs and some major upheaval but, who wants to know about those? My shoulder healed, I ran a half marathon I didn’t think I’d be able to do so shortly after my injury. I met fellow blogger LLSG who has become a true friend and great surf buddy. Along my travels I have met and built up a little network of friends and  lady surfers  all over the place, specials thanks to Surf Senioritas for this. A year of firsts, I visited Morocco, Cornwall and Devon for the first time and surfed Scarborough and North Wales.   I had my first winter surf at Christmas and saw the snow on mount Snowdon from my board in the sea which was  magical!

I finally learnt to drive and bought a car. I just made my first long trip to Cornwall on my own and the grownups or police didn’t stop me. I met my surf idol Steph Gilmore and my music idol Mike Patton of Faith No More. I interviewed Surf Mama,  Wilma Johnson and was invited for a surf with Jessie Tuckman ( thanks Jessie, and no thanks to the stupid A30 traffic that made me miss it)

I lost a bit of fitness, gained some back, lost a bit of confidence, gained some back and my surfing deteriorated then improved. I almost moved to Bournemouth, then didn’t.   I continued to try and change my landlocked situation so I could get to the coast more and I finally found a way.  As of September I will only work 39 weeks a year, for ever. I have an Endless Summer for ever!

 Putting all the me, me, me aside for a change though, the absolute best thing to come from  Surfabella has been the messages I have received from people who said they have been inspired to do something after reading one of my posts.  People have said they can identify with the honest and not so glamorous truth of learning to surf or just trying something new a little later in life and of not being perfect or gorgeous or brilliant at everything.

If one person reads something I write and nods or smiles as they recognise a piece of themselves in my words, if just one person says I can do this where normally they’d say I can’t , that’s more than I ever imagined when I tentatively wrote my first words here last year. For that and for the 4828 readers in 61 countries I am truly grateful.

Looking Forward

 So, while celebrating this great year Surfabella is looking to the future and some exciting changes are on the horizon. Regular readers will know my friend,   ‘the man with long legs’,  who also happens to be the talented artist behind my logo. From here on in I’ll call him JT.

He’s currently in a darkened studio in deepest, darkest Leicestershire ( no, it isn’t locked from the outside)  working away on the new look for a revamped Surfabella which is coming soon.  We are also working together developing some products which we will be launching later in the year. You might say we are now officially working in a tiny team, we celebrated this last Friday by drinking way too much beer, red wine and bourbon.  I’m stoked to officially welcome my biggest supporter, encouragement, friend and pointer out of typos to Surfabella. Here he is being myserious, he’s a bit on the shy side as opposed to moi who is an incurable show off.

Introducing  JT the newest member of Team Surfabella

Introducing JT the newest member of Team Surfabella

On the surfing front I’ll be embarking on my first year of having the time and means to get to the coast more often. So, keep reading to find out where this adventure will go next, I’ll be blogging about what I get up to and hopefully meeting some of you along the way . Me and Surf Bloke BFF are off to Morocco again in November and I’m hoping to see a lot more of the UK coast.  Will I ever get out of the white water? Will I meet a handsome silver surfer? Will the Baked Bean stall on more hills in Cornwall causing traffic jams? I’m really excited to find out, stick with me .

                                                                   Thanks again for reading xx

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One Week, 783 Miles of Motorway for Waves

….Two surf trips , One hell of a great time

In the last week or so I have driven 783 miles for surfing. I feel like I don’t want to see the inside of the car for a little while.

Road tripping

Road tripping

My blind date in Cornwall came and went in a flash of sunshine, chatter, surf and blue sky. Before I knew it I was dropping Aussie Surf Chick off at Taunton station,  back at work, and 180 miles from the nearest surf almost as if the trip had never happened.

The night I got back after an excruciating 7.5 hour drive on the hottest day of the year I got into bed, deposited sand from various parts of my body into the clean sheets and drifted off to sleep. As I sank into the mattress I felt  a not unpleasant ache in my shoulders as my brain, still believing me to be on the water, gently rocked back and forth in my head like a bobbing boat.  As usual the Landlocked blues kicked in the moment I woke up for work the next day. This time, it wasn’t to last too long though.

A few days after arriving back from Cornwall, with washing still hanging all over the house because of the rain,   food shopping still not done and sleep still not caught up on Landlocked Surf Girl suggested a day trip to Devon.

An unused leash has many uses

Alternative use for a leash

So, on   Sunday morning at 11am after a 200 mile drive (thankfully not me driving)  we pulled into Braunton and into torrential rain, thunder and sheets of lightening. On the journey down I wondered if this was what life would be like now I can drive. Two surf trips in one week is normal to those who live by the coast and they would be reading this thinking so what.  To someone who lives so far away from the coast and sometimes goes 4 months without a surf and who recently couldn’t get anywhere without masses of planning  and mainly relying on  public transport,  this was a momentous week!

The tale of both of my trips is way too long for a post and shall stay instead in my head, suffice to say they consisted of waves, sun, fun, food, laughs, hanging out with friends old and new, a few bruises and many discoveries and ideas for future trips . I surfed 4 breaks I hadn’t been to before and I tried 5 boards ( including my Malcom)  over both trips. This has now led to an unhealthy obsession with a particular board I’m going to have to buy! Well, Malcom does get lonely, he needs a friend. If anyone wants to buy it for me for my birthday that would be great!

Apart from a hand/head/foot tan and a car full of sand this is what I took from my trips:

When driving to Cornwall from the Midlands add 3 hours to the sat nav, the sat nav does not know about Cornish time or tractors!

Surf spots change so quickly, if it looks good now get in don’t have a little rest because in 2 hours it will be flat or a mess. Equally if it looks shit right now that doesn’t mean it will look shit in an hour

The Beached Lamb Cafe do the best breakfasts and have the loveliest staff and they even list ‘sprinkes of sunshine’ as ingredients in their menu

Devon is not too far for a day trip

A gopro is not for posers, far from it.  It makes you look like a massive manatee and catches all your mad faces but, it’s great fun to look at afterwards

I feel really at home in Newquay and could totally see myself down there for 6 weeks next summer

Sunsets on a west coast beach are awesome, always watch the sunset, never turn down a chance to watch a great sunset

So, that was ‘2 trips week’ . Next up is my 3rd, so it must be annual now, Birthday trip to South Wales only two weeks today!