The last year and a half has been a little crazy. I sometimes need to sit down and look around me and let it all sink in.
As some of you probably noticed, I retired from the professional windsurfing scene at the end of 2012 after many years of fun, travels, competition and dreams come true.
When I started windsurfing as a kid on our beautiful lake, surrounded by mountains and rarely getting more than a couple of knots of wind, one of my dreams was to ride waves in Australia, to live out of windsurfing and travel the world following wind and waves.
It took years of hard work, dedication and stubbornness, but it paid off and I did it.
Looking back on these amazing years of freedom, adventures and unforgettable friendships makes me smile. I wouldn’t change any of it - even the less good parts.
I am sitting at home in Western Australia writing this while our beautiful, healthy and happy 4 month old daughter Isla is sleeping peacefully. And I can’t believe our luck. I am eternally grateful for our lives and for having her.
I am sleeping less, windsurfing and surfing less... spontaneous trips definitely need a little more organisation... my hair isn’t bleached by the sun like it used to be and I some days have bigger bags under my eyes than after a PWA closing ceremony in Fuerteventura... But being a Mum is the best thing in the world.
So yeah, retiring from windsurfing and becoming a Mum have been quite big changes in our lives.
But we didn’t sit around for the last 18 months. While I was working as a sports coach for children, running my windsurfing coaching and doing childcare work, Simon and his brother, Ben, have been working harder than anyone I know.
Starting from scratch on a bare piece of land, they built a mind-blowing place. Go and check for yourself, it’s worth a look: www.perthwakepark.com.au, or even better, if you are around come for a ride or a coffee. I am so proud of them and what they achieved.
This is an intro I wrote a while ago for UK's Boards magazine's "How to" section. I talk about what it takes to learn new stuff.
Enjoy the read.
Even when you experience one of the best summers ever, swell-wise, you always get a few flat days in between. That's when I'm glad I'm into freestyle as well. There's always some fun to be had.
I might be getting a bit old for it (or at least that's how it feels sometimes watching all the upcoming youngsters killing it), but in the end you're only as old as you feel right?
And it's all been feeling pretty fresh out there recently with my new sails I'm telling you.
I've been using my new FREEK's, Severne's pure freestyle sails. The 4.4 is the one I sail with most as it planes super early and stays comfortable even when I'm stacked.
Besides its huge wind range, the FREEK is so incredibly balanced and easy to duck, I've been surprising myself learning and nailing new stuff I didn't expect. I can try a lot more moves as the ducking is easier, and the sail has got a really good lift, which helps getting more height even in lighter winds.
Fanatic Skate, FREEK and a sick new MB Fin, and there's no excuse for not stepping it up big time now!
Si took these shots this morning during a light easterly session. We were expecting it to be a good one but never mind. It's over 40° every day here at the moment so any time in the water is welcome.
Windsurfing’s taken yet a new dimension for me lately. First of all, we’ve had such a good summer so far, with so many amazing road trips, I have been enjoying windsurfing more than ever. I have learnt a lot too, which always helps with the frothing.
There’s been an extra frothing factor too. It’s bright red, super light, incredibly balanced. Guessed yet? Yep. I’m now sailing on Severne sails.
It’s great to be part of the local team. And to make sure I get my butt kicked by the man himself if I dare do a run without a stunt. Being under the constant threat of getting run over or having a huntsman sneaked into my bed is definitely helping me step it up. (I’m talking about Mr Severne here by the way, not about my other half - no domestic violence to report please. )
But what is unreal is how good the sails are.
Changing over to different sails usually takes a bit of adaptation time - well not this time. These are so light, balanced and responsive, they allow you to totally forget about your sail and focus 100% on the wave, jump or whatever you do out there. There is never any pulling you around in the wrong direction.
I am using the Freek for freestyle, and the S-1 for wave sailing.
And what they’re working on for 2014 is very promising - I’ve been using a 4.3 S-1 2014 prototype, it was incredible.
We set off early on Friday to catch what looked like could be a descent 3 day pattern on the South Coast. It’s quite a bit of a drive but it’s such a good place to windsurf, surf and hang around that it’s always worth it . Even when the conditions are not all time, it’s just good to be there.
I love how the landscape changes as you drive down. Leaving the city behind and driving through the native forest, the huge fields and farm land of the wheatbelt, the little towns in the middle of nowhere, the longest stretches of dead straight road through desert land, and finally, the white beaches and bright blue water of the South Coast.
We ended up getting a bit of a mix of conditions: light wind with good waves, strong wind with small waves, cross onshore, offshore... We all know that the conditions there can get heaps better, but it was a lot of fun and a great weekend nonetheless. We got to get in the water every day and to catch up with friends, and as usual got looked after by the very hospitable locals. A big thanks to all of them. And thanks Sco’y for the windsurfing shots.
After a busy season on tour I am back in WA for the whole summer, and available for windsurfing lessons, in and around Perth.
Lessons are opened to everyone, no age limit, no minimum level requirement.
So whether you are just getting into windsurfing - or never stepped on a board before - looking to improve your planing skills, want to finally nail those carve jibes, tacks, or freestyle moves, or want to get introduced to the world of wave sailing, there is no excuse...
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info and bookings.
For more information about my coaching check out the "coaching" section of my website.