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

the ocean and i

The ocean and I go way back.  My first encounter was in the south of France when I was eighteen months old.  My folks walked me down to the ocean and apparently I just kept on walking until the water was nearly over my head.  That was it, I was sold.  I needed the ocean in my life.  Like many millions of other who feel they have a connection to the ocean, I have my reasons as to why I love it, and I’m sure you do too… Here are mine:


1. Calmness.  When ever I pull up to the ocean, no matter what its doing, I get a wave (pun intended) of relief wash over me.  If you get the feeling you’ll know exactly what I mean, if not, its quite hard to describe.  Its like I’m exactly where I need to be.  The calmness sets in and time doesn’t exist.  (I get this feeling when I’m near any body of water which is probably why wakeboarding has stuck with me seeing as I’m landlocked!)


2. The lifestyle.  I absolutely love waking up not have to worry about clothes or make up.  When I’m on a surf trip, everything is stripped back.  No outfits, no make up, no hair styling.. just glowing skin smelling of sunscreen, salty hair and slightly burnt lips.  Its the simple life and its fabulous.


3. The beach.  I have always loved the beach, but now I have a new love for it because of my kids.  I’m doing all the fun stuff that my folks used to do with me, like build sandcastles and bury each other.  The beach is a much more valuable place for my kids to play than an indoor play centre.


4. The ocean.  If there are waves you can surf.  If the conditions are not right you can do anything else, swim, jump over waves, body surf the shore break, paddle board, the list goes on.


5. My body.  I absolutely love what the ocean does to my body, because I’m using it, it keeps me fit and healthy.  The salt heals everything.  Everything.  Also there are more negative ions around large areas of water which boost our mood and help us stay positive.  (Seriously, google it).


So if you’re an ocean lover like me, high fives!  If you’re not, get yourself to your nearest body of water, take a moment to just stare in silence and see you can feel it.


How to wakeboard through the winter in England…

Ahhhh its that time of year again.. the time when the trees are bare and look dead.   The time when driving gets a bit dodgy because the sun sits in that awkward low position for most of the day.  The time when you never have enough windscreen wash in your jet thingys.  The time when the only thing you do in the evening is veg out in your pjs with a glass (bottle) of wine.  Basically that time of year when England turns into the shittest place to live.

It does have its good days though.  Sometimes.  You know those rare bluebird days when theres been a frost and the air is crisp?  Those are my favourite days in the English winter. Unless it snows… I’m always a fan of snow.

Those crisp days are the best ones to ride on, theres just something slightly magical about them, even if they are bloody freezing.  However, they don’t come about to often, so you just have to suck it up and ride in the miserable grey windy, drizzly weather this beautiful little island attracts.

So, how do we survive riding throughout the winter….?

  1. Go abroad.  Get on a plane and go ride somewhere hotter than here, preferably for the season and you’ll come back all tanned and smug because you’ve got a whole new bag of tricks.
  2. If you’re going to ride in the UK, get a decent wettie.  Don’t prat around with some useless piece of rubbish neoprene.  Invest.
  3. If you’re rocking the open toe, get some socks.  Otherwise get your hands on some Systems because you’re basically walking around in a snug snowboard style boot – toastie tootsies!
  4. Gloves.  Its a coin toss really.  Do you want frostbite or do you want that unavoidable forearm ache that you only get with gloves.  I go for the arm ache personally.  Saves my manicure. 
  5. Maintenance.  If you’re landing new tricks in the winter in the UK – give yourself a huge pat on the back.  Otherwise, just maintain what you can already do so that you come into the next season ready to go.
  6. Take your mates.  Theres no fun in riding alone in the winter.  Fact.  And if theres people with you, you’re more likely to actually ride rather than sit in the bar with a cuppa. 
  7. Flask.  Invest in a flask and fill it to the brim with hot tea / coffee / hot choc… you’ll be grateful post ride. 
  8. Leave time for a shower afterwards – to warm up obvs.
  9. If theres no shower, take a sleeping bag and drive home wearing it. 
  10. Fun is the word.  Just be grateful you’re able to get out there and ride.  Cheesy but true.