How to dry your wetsuit

It only seems a few days ago that I posted about how to protect you’re wetsuit. Time flies when you’re having fun!  And here I am again about to fill you in on how to dry your wetsuit easily and fuss free!

As you know my main sport is wakeboarding, but I had a weekend surf trip at the coast planned and so I thought I’d put my Elite Dry Bag to the test while I was there.  (The Elite Dry Bag has mesh on one side so more air can get in/out, you wouldn’t want it out in the rain!).

How in the world my husband and I lucked out on that particular weekend, I’ll never know, but we did.  First of all, thanks to my folks, we had a child free weekend.  CHILD FREE WEEKEND!!!  Thats two nights, not one, but TWO!  Ok so this was a huge deal as we haven’t had this luxury since baby number two came along.  And he’s nearly three years old.  Enough said.

Second of all, I booked a four star hotel that ended up having breakfast and a two course dinner in the grand restaurant included.  As well as full use of the spa.  To top it off we had a sea view room and a balcony overlooking the waves.

Thirdly.  The weather played ball.  A rare occurrence here in the UK, but it did.  It was baltic but it was bright sunshine, not a cloud in the sky for the two days and we even tanned in the balcony’s sun trap while enjoying a cream tea (room service of course).

Fourthly – I know, last one I promise.  The waves.  The wave gods were with us 100% and we had great waves for the two days.  We seriously couldn’t believe it, and even the tides were right.  It was freezing so there weren’t many surfers out either so we had pretty empty waves as well which was great.

Thank you stars, sun and moon for aligning for this epic weekend.

Anyway, back to the wetsuit drying test.  So as we were staying in a pretty nice hotel, we didn’t want to walk through with sandy wet wetsuits.  I threw them in the Elite Dry Bag and carried them through the swanky place without even leaving a grain of sand on the expensive carpets.

So with the estimated wetsuit drip drying time of between 4-6 hours (geek I know), I knew my suit would be ready to wear the following morning, and I could hang it anywhere in the room and not worry about it dripping on the carpet.  But to give it that extra something something, I hung it above the radiator to make it nice and warm for me… it was needed, we were scraping ice off the car to get to the surf.

So all in all, my little Dry Bag test went pretty well!  I took a second wetsuit as I didn’t want to put on a wet one the second day, but I didn’t even take it out the travel bag.  The Dry Bag works well and is very handy while on the road.  I’ll be using at home as well so I don’t have to hang my suit in the shower all the time.  Win.

 

Winning & losing: Wakeboarding Masters National Champion

After over a decade of Nationals, I thought that last year was going to be my last year competing.  I massively over cooked it on trying to get a title and I ended up undoing months of physio to try and get an air trick back.  It all backfired, I fell on both my laps and came in last.

Losing is weird.  You have to look at yourself and figure out what went wrong and how you can change things to get the result you want.  I wasn’t annoyed at the result as such, I was more annoyed at how hungry I’d been for it and how I’d pushed myself and consequently injured myself trying.  When would it stop?  Would it ever stop?  When would I just let it go now I’ve got two little kids at home who depend on me?  When would I just accept that after over a decade of competing, that a National title was just not going to happen.

I was deflated and had to learn that I needed to train my body harder to build myself up to prevent from injury.  I knew this but I started a new routine to push me further.  To become stronger.  I had to work harder post kids and post 30.  Sucks doesn’t it.

I thought I was over it, until the announcement came through that the Nationals were being held at Liquid Leisure, hands down, a ridiculous cable park, and one that favours park riding rather than air tricks.

My mind started racing.  My heart rate started increasing.  I started to sweat. My mind went through all the scenarios over and over again, I was in a trance like state visualising winning.  And this was with months to go.

I didn’t enter the comp for a while but then I thought, fuck it.  Just do it and if you don’t want to ride, then don’t do it, but at least you have the option.

The Masters Women had to ride their qualifiers on the Friday, which I qualified 1st.  I have done this before, years ago, and then cocked up in the finals so I wasn’t that confident.

Finals day came and I was nervous.  So nervous.  Multiple times over Champ, Steph Caller had given me a pep talk, and a super healthy breakfast to get me on my way.  I went through the nervous toilet situation, followed by getting into my wetsuit, then another nervous toilet situ.  Then it was time.

I was last out as I’d qualified first so I got to see what the other women were throwing down.  I put in a solid lap and was still in first.  Phew.  Only one more lap from everyone to go before it was all over.  The other women went and all the results came in… I had done it!  None of the scores beat my first laps score! This was a brand new feeling to me, I had to double check that I’d won.  I had a victory lap, my very first victory lap.  Ever!!  I cried on the way round.. what a dick.

Winning is very different to losing.  Winning is easier to deal with.  Winning the Nationals this year was like a massive relief, a huge weight off my shoulders.  I had finally done it, finally got a title.  After all the years I’d been wakeboarding, competing, filming, all the photoshoots, demo days, sponsors events, ladies mornings, girls days, GB development camps, coaching qualifications.  I had finally achieved the one thing that I had wanted the most. And it felt great.

I called my husband to let him know my big news.  The first thing he said was “Well done baby, I’m so proud of you!”  The second thing he said was “Great, so that means you can stop wakeboarding now then.”  Haha if only.. I might not do another Nationals, but I sure as hell am not going to stop wakeboarding.

Pure stoke

How to fly with small children: Travelling Circus

A friend recently mentioned to me that she was flying to New Zealand (or it could have been Australia and I misheard over the kids being kids) which is exciting. They are a family of four, including a newly turned four year old and a newly turned one year old, and it will be the first time they have flown with the kids.

Being a serial vacationist and all, I thought I would look back over my travel blogs and amalgamate them into one big updated travel blog for her, and anyone else who is brave enough to fly with small people.

Where to start… tips for travelling with small children:

Packing: I am OCD when it comes to holiday packing.  I start about a week before we fly.  I get the clothes out and make sure they are washed.  I put together a weeks worth of outfits and thats the cut off as I use washing facilities while away, and I make sure everything matches – this is for each person as well – so that it minimises the luggage.  I’m actually going for a PB on our next trip, we can fly with either two medium suitcases, or a medium case and a surfboard bag – this trip I’m going for a board bag and a cabin suitcase, and no buggy!  Its going to be epic.  A week also allows me time to organise things like sunscreen and nappies which can be pricey abroad, and also travel money (I do not go shopping with the kids because its a pain in the ass, so sometimes I need to have all this planned five days in advance depending on the husbands work schedule).  I could dedicate an entire blog post to just packing.

Car seats: I have travelled with car seats and I have rented them from the car rental companies.  Obviously its easier to rent them but they seem to rapidly be heading north in the expense region.  Flying with them is fine, you just need to wrap them up and use an isofix protector if you want the bars to stay intact.  I’ve had to claim a new car seat before and it was pretty easy.

Sleeping: I never fly with a travel cot, I always order one through the accommodation and check that it comes with sheets…  My kids both use/used grow bags to sleep in at home, so I fly with a grow bag for my youngest so that he’s sleeping in what he’s used to.  If he sleeps well, everyone sleeps well.  And whatever you do, don’t forget their sleeping feely’s/stuffed animals.  Also ask for a mattress protector or take one with you if they are newly nappy free at night.

Plane cot: If you’re flying long haul, you can be put on a list to request a bulkhead seat where a plane cot can be attached to the ‘wall’.  I have never had this luxury due to age and timings, but seeing people fly with them – they look like they make life easier.

Food: If you’re flying long haul then pre order the kids meals.  You can also take their favourite foods/snacks with you as well.

Milk: If your kids/babies/toddlers like milk then you can fill your bottles up before you fly and travel with a cool-bag.  This will be put into a machine and tested at security.  You can also buy milk from a restaurant or cafe in the airport and fill the bottles up then.  Or nicely ask an air hostess once on the plane.  Another friend of mine travels with small bottles/cartons of follow on milk which is sold by the baby formula brands, which I think is a great idea as it doesn’t need to be kept cold.

iPad: Another friend of mine once told me to buy an iPad before we flew to Florida.  We now don’t fly without one, especially on the short haul flights where the seats don’t have personal TV sets attached.  They are also very handy for delays.  Make sure its fully charged and that you’ve downloaded a couple of movies and a few episodes of their favourite programmes.  Travel with the charger handy.  If delayed, find a wifi spot for some kids you tube.

Goodie bags: The kids are allowed hand luggage, so I pack their little backpacks with activity, sticker and story books.  Also a set of kids headphones, snacks, small favourite toys and their cuddly toy.  They are set.

Baby/toddler carrier: Out of all the times I’ve flown with the kids, I’ve only had the buggy brought to the plane on landing once.  Is this an option?  Can you request it to be there?  It has never been there and one time it just magically turned up.  We learnt this the hard way – walking from the plane, standing in immigration lines and waiting at the baggage claim, all while carrying our baby/toddler.  From then on, we always fly with a carrier, that way the baby/toddler stays in one place, is usually quiet because they’re on you, and you have your hands free to keep taking your passport out and putting it away again.

Supplies: I always travel with a spare set of clothes for both kids.  If they spill something or wet themselves with no change of clothing, you’re fucked.  Make sure you have enough nappies on board to last an extra day incase delayed.  Don’t wear white.  Order wine when you can.

Nappies/wet wipes: I take them everywhere with me.  I have checked the supermarkets in Spain, France, Portugal, America (Florida), Dubai and South Africa and the standard packs you can buy from Aldi for £4 (52/56 nappies) cost anywhere between £18 – £25 in said countries.  I’ve also had a packet of baby wet wipes cost £8!!  WTF.  Worth checking before you fly if you’re pushed for space.  I put a couple of packs of nappies in the car seats before I wrap them and duct tape them in bubble wrap and bin liners – glamorous, I know.

Calpol: I used to take calpol with me to quieten the kids down but I’m not sold that it actually works.  I always fly with it though incase they are actually ill, nothing worse than a poorly baby on a flight.

Thick skin: If you have kids you know that they are not aways little angels. What better time to perform to an audience than in a confined aeroplane cabin.  If you baby/toddler/child is screaming, someone will always tut, sigh loudly, glare at you, turn around and look over the seat or give you some advice.  You know your child so you know they’re just bored, tired, agitated or their ears hurt while the planes descending.  Obviously you try to keep your kids on a leash, physically and emotionally, but it doesn’t always go to plan, and the sooner you learn not to care when it all goes tits up, the better.

Holiday: At the end of all the travelling you have a holiday!  Which is not like a pre kids holiday, but its quality family time, which to me, is awesome.  Its definitely getting a bit easier now they kids can walk, eat anything and sleep well.

Happy holidays!