How to store your wetsuit easily

Winter riding is haaaaard in the UK, and in many other cold places.  Sorry, not sorry, but I don’t feel bad for anyone who has to succumb to a 3.2mm wetsuit to get on the water because it cools down to 16c or something.  Try passing the handle in 5.4mm of rubber with cold muscles.  Not easy.

However, I do ride throughout the winter on our little grey covered island.  If I didn’t man up and ride, it would be six months off the water for sure.  And to top it off, I don’t even like the cold.  I hate it in-fact, (unless its in the mountains).  Along with wind and rain.  I can deal by wearing good clothing, base layers and of course, great wetsuits.

As well as riding/coaching at my local lakes, I tend to ride at a few different cable parks to keep it interesting, just as you would surf at different surf spots or snowboard on different runs/resorts.  Obviously with this, comes some road time.  I recently got my paws on a couple of Dry Bags (the Pro and the Elite). What are these I hear you ask?  They are specifically designed bags to store your wetsuit in so they can dry.  They work by hanging your wetsuit in half over a huge hanger (so you don’t stretch out the shoulders), allowing your wetsuit to drip dry.  When I heard about these bags, I was immediately on board.  So now, when I’m leaving a lake in my car, instead of putting my wetsuit in a giant plastic bag that has seen better days, I hang it in my new Dry Bag, and attached it to one of the handles in the back seat.  This means my wettie starts drying before I even get home and its such an easy way to store my wetsuit in the car without getting it even dirtier than it already is!  Genius.

They come in pretty handy over the winter for storing your wetsuit (or wetsuits, these bad boys can hold two suits at a time) as well.  Like if you hang it up in the garage, you could protect it from dust, dirt and spiders (yes, that is defo a legit reason for zipping you wettie away!  Who wants to put their hand in a wetsuit leg to turn it round the right way and grab a tarantula?  No one.).  Its ventilated as well so it won’t be festering or growing a colony.

Or if you love your wetsuit and don’t have a shed or a garage, and you store it indoors (the Dry Bag Elite is better for this), this will separate it from your towels, clothes etc so you don’t get that lovable wetsuit smell rubbing off on them.

The other thing I’m pretty excited about is when I’m staying over night somewhere, whether it be in a hotel or camping, I can hang my wetsuit in my car over night and know its stored away and drying ready for the next day! How many times have you had to put on wet wetsuit the second or third day because you couldn’t dry it over night…. too many.  Actually, I usually take a second wetsuit.  But if you don’t have the monies for a second wettie, the Dry Bag is a cheaper option so you don’t have to put on a wet wettie the next day.

So I might see you at the lake over these freezing months, but I might not be recognisable under 1000’s of mm of neoprene!

What wetsuit drying / travel issues or hacks do you have?  Get in touch!

How to wakeboard through the winter in England

Ahhhh its that time of year again..  The time when the trees are bare, 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 things.  The time when you physically have to peel yourself off the sofa and get your ass to the gym when the only thing you want to do in the evening is veg out in your pjs with a glass of wine (cough, Sherry).  Basically that time of year when England turns into a very gloomy place.  Or it does for me anyway.

Theres an up side as well though… Hallelujah!  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 love 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.

Photo Credit: Toby Oliver @ CWP

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.  I’m in the new Mystic Diva 5.3mm and its toastie warm.
  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. Keep active.  You can’t sit around doing nothing all winter and then expect to be able to shred your tits off come April.  Keep those muscles active and work out in other ways, whether it be gym work, cycling, running, yoga… just keep moving.
  7. 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 cafe with a cuppa.
  8. Flask.  Invest in a flask and fill it to the brim with hot tea / coffee / hot choc… you’ll be grateful post ride.
  9. Leave time for a shower afterwards – to warm up obvs.
  10. If theres no shower, take a sleeping bag and drive home wearing it.  Jokes.  Take thermals, sweats, mountain attire; anything to keep you warm until you get home.
  11. Fun is the word.  Just be grateful you’re able to get out there and ride.
Photo Credit: Janni @ CWP

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