B A T T L E | B A C K

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A couple of weeks ago I went down to Heron Lake (a Disabled Waterski Facility in Wraysbury) to coach the guys and girls who were involved in Battle Back.  Battle Back is an organisation that was set up by Ash Clare, Recreational Adventure Therapist (RAT) at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court.  He was there with budding adventurists who were ready to get on the water.  Its amazing what Ash has created and developed, he takes the guys away skiing, kayaking, you name it, they’ve done it or are working on doing it.

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photo 3-3I have never coached anyone with any kind of disability before so I was pretty nervous but luckily I had Owen Pick there to introduce me to everyone.  He started wakeboarding because of Ash and Battle Back, so he knew everyone.  The types of injuries these guys have suffered are all extremely different but they all managed to get on the water.  Honestly, its amazing to witness.  One girl I coached had been in a wheelchair for two years and had only started walking again in January, and she was up and riding on the Little Bro and on boat!  Another guy was kneeboarding behind the boat who is a triple amputee, (who surfs as well I might add).  It was really interesting and very different to what I usually do.  I was fascinated to find out about everyone and to see how they got on the water, and how long it had been since they had done anything like this and had this kind of excitement and joy from sport. 

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photo 2-2Ash took me out on a sit-ski.  I’m not going to lie, I was pretty scared because you don’t have the use of your legs, they are tucked into a footstrap and you are sitting in a little seat with a bar underneath your knees for support.  It was a very strange feeling but I figured I’d just watched these guys do it, so I had to give it a go.  Once the boat got going we were off!  Ash was teaching me how to jump the wake, have sit-ski fights (where you try and push the other one off) and we even cranked the boat speed right up; what a rush! It was only then I really understood the reason of Battle Back.  The smiles and excitement that shine through after a set on the water for these guys, who possibly haven’t had that kind of rush for two or more years, would feel incredible.  At the end of the day, what better feeling is there than skimming across a lake… and Battle Back is about giving that chance to people.

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Ladies Wakeboard Workshop

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of hosting a Ladies Wakeboard Workshop over at Club Wake Park.  This was very different to my usual five corner cable coaching style as it was on a Wake Station (straight line cable).  So I usually coach a group of up to 25 people at my Ladies Mornings / Kids Clubs where everyone rides at the same time and they just head back to the dock whenever they fall off to get advice.  With the Wake Station I got to coach the girls one on one as only one person can be on the cable at any one time. This is a great way to coach someone as the feedback is immediate and you can see the progression each and every lap. 

So the day started with a group warm up session where we did some dynamic stretching to get the muscles engaged and we also got the heart rate up a tad more with a few burpies thrown in for good measure.  We then hit the water!  Each girl went out three times and progressed each time which was fantastic to see.  Once the riding was wrapped up and after a few healthy snacks we enjoyed a chilled Nalu Beads workshop for the remainder of the day, where the girls got to make something amazing with their new surf beads.

Well done to all the girls who got involved, I’m so stoked that everyone went away with at least one new trick under their belt!  Until next time! xx

Click here for all the photos from the day.