Monday, May 23, 2016

European Championships - Official Training Begins

The competitions getting closer
Pretty awesome two weeks training out here in Plattling. Today official training kicked off which means the European Championships are just a matter of days away. 100 competitors from across Europe are now taking it in turns to get some quality last minute training on the wave. 

Everyone watches on as paddlers train

The levels have been all over the place the last two weeks but now seem to be settling at an awesome high water level. However a lot of rain is forecast tomorrow followed by several dry days of scorching sun so no one knows yet what the competition level will be but we do know the weather will be great. 

Hitting huge loops

Setting up for a Phoenixs

Loading up a McNasty

The Finnish Team in action

Cleaning up a huge loop

Its so much fun going big when the waters high
At this level though all tricks go. You can loop without thinking as it's super deep. The pile is sticky and big enough to keep you in as you land most tricks and the feature is steep enough to ramp up into big Mcnastys, throw tricks and lunars as well as crazy combos. The hardest trick has to be the Phoenix monkey as the hole is pretty uniformed meaning you need to create all your own rotational movement. It's not easy though all tricks take loads of explosive power and energy do if your tired or slightly off tempo the feature will win. Everything works though you just have to get them right. 

Dens Huge Air Loop

Den throws a huge space

This morning team GB had the first slot, tomorrow we're on just after lunch. So now paddling done, we're gonna stretch, chill, get some video feedback with the GB coaches Den and Bruce then this afternoon were all heading to the swimming pool before our official team dinner, pizza, tonight. Life at a major international event has officially kicked off. 

Flying into a Space Godzilla
So awesome to be back in the eddy with the Dr Islay Crosbie

Chilling, eating and watching the action

In a matter of days these stands will be stacked

We have also heard news that the event will be live streamed so you can follow the action live online. Here is the link. 

Thank you Tom Zach and Dennis Newton for the photos

Monday, May 16, 2016

Yorkshire Women Awards 2016

It's been pretty awesome finding out that I have been nominated for the Sue Ryder Yorkshire Women of Achievement Awards in the sports category.

The awards take place this Friday at the Royal Armories in Leeds. I will be missing the event as I will be training for the European Championships in Germany which start on the 26th May but I will be sending my Dad and sister to celebrate in my place.

Its the 30th Anniversary of the Yorkshire Women of Achievement Awards and should be a fantastic celebration of the amazing work of lots of incredible Women from across Yorkshire and a great fundraising event for the Sue Ryder charity.

Check out my interview with BBC Radio Leeds about my nomination.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Training in Full Swing

So with our Platting training camp over it was time to jump back on a plane and head back down under. This time as an Australian resident. 

Arriving home to an amazing sunrise sponsored by jetlag
Starting my first day as an Aussie resident

Checking out the locals
Yes that's right whilst watching the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, last month with Jez, we go the fantastic news that my Aussie visa had been granted and issued. Making me officially an Aussie resident. A process that had taken over 14 months it now means that I can work, play and live officially in OZ with Jez.

Just chilling after a run along our local beach

So I jumped back on a plane and switched training mode from full power on the water training back to a lot of off the water fitness sessions interspersed with some on the water sessions at Penrith. The weather of course was gorgeous and it was great to be back in shorts and Teva sandles again. 

Typical day in Oz

Beautiful beach for a run and swim

Hidden bays along the Manly to Spit bridge walk
Loving the catwalks through the rainforest

The Manly Spit

Catching the ferry home

With only 3 weeks at home as soon as I arrived I got in touch with Abel at 6degreesfit who gave me a pretty intense training plan to fit the requirements set out by Den (Sweet Water Coaching). 

Pretty awesome but full on training plan

On the water everything was focused on the style of paddling needed for Plattling. This meant some hilarious freestyle sessions, kicking out of loops way too early, trying to get my hands out of the water on phoenixs and mcnastys and even trying some of the most random moves in totally the wrong places on the features just to get the practice in. All in a new boat. Training in Plattling we realized that if levels were low I would be better in plastic than carbon and with the new generation of rock stars being a little smaller than the last I was now way too big for the 2016 Rock Star small so it was time to size up to the medium. So my 3 weeks at home were spent trying to work out the angles, timing and power needed to throw around the bigger boat. All the time whilst getting the most air, I have in years, automatically on almost every trick!

The kids wait for their ride in Skippys hole

With Jez still broken we intermixed bike rides and long walks and runs around Sydney's amazing city, harbor and along the beaches to help with the cardio component. 

Cycling along the loop
Epic sunsets

Home sweet home
More bike rides

Sydney Harbour

Sydney Opera House

Sydney street art
Off the water I had to get fit. I needed more explosive power and rotational power movements and the extra strength for the bigger boat. With my back a little shot from the flights, old age 😉 and the intense Plattling training camp, I had to go back to basics first before quickly building it up. With a mix of osteopathy and sports massage and a schedule of almost hourly conditioning exercises combined with daily gym sessions I could quickly feel my self strengthening and getting back into prime shape again.
Osteo conditioning programme part 1
So in just three weeks with the help of Abel and the team at 6 degrees fit, training was fully on track.

Road Tripping to England with Jez

Last month something very special happened, something I've dreamt off for the last 3 years, Jez came with me to England. 

7 days out of surgery and with a thumbs up from his surgeon we jumped aboard a plane and set off on our way home. 

Leeds : 2 days before we flew home

 We landed in Manchester to find snow on the Pennines and not a glimpse of sun in sight. Landing in my home airport and seeing all the sites had an even more special feel as I got to share it with Jez for the first time. Our tour started in Yorkshire back home in Leeds with my mum, sister, her partner and our gorgeous little nephew. This was the first time Jez had meet most of my family including our 1 year old nephew, 13 year old niece and my 88 year old Grandad. So it was a super special trip.

Jez and Grandad
Hanging out with Grandad

Over the course of the two weeks we didn't stop. We visited Durham, Leeds, Bradford, Ikley, Otley, Nottingham,Harlow, London, Hurley, Exeter, Topsham and Cardiff before returning to Nottingham and Yorkshire again. It truly was an epic family visit road trip.

Jez and Claire in London
London Bridge

Jez getting all artsy
Buckingham Palace Changing of the Guards
Jez at Scotland Yard
Some of the stand out moments had to be seeing Jez playing with our nephew, chatting with my Grandad in his favorite pub, eating Yorkshire Ice cream with my dad, Yorkshire puddings with my mum, sat round the table sharing stories and then playing football and cricket with all my cousins in London, going through our wedding photos time after time with all my family and friends, walking through my local park past my primary school and looking up whilst surfing the inlet gate to see him stood with Den and Islay watching from the bridge. 

Jez and mum in Meanwood Park
Leeds City Centre with mum

Celebrating our wedding with family and friends

Great evening at Mums

Great day out with Dad, Sarah and Olivia

Off course they weren't the only memorable moments, watching Jez riding a Boris bike through London one handed wearing a British flag woolly bobble hat, shivering non stop every time he stepped out side even whilst wearing two hoodies and a massive down jacket and hitting the floor time after time after banging his head on the door frames in every typically small British house we went into were also pretty hilarious memorable moments from the trip. 
Some good old Yorkshire Ice Cream with Dad
Onesie show with our cousins
Hanging out at the marble museum

Training in Nottingham with Jez and Den
To say it was a dream trip was an understatement. Although I only paddled 3 times and Jez didn't paddle at all it was by far one of the most enjoyable and important trips we've been on. An important and memorable moment in our lives together. The time that I got to show off my home to Jez and my Jez to everyone at home. The time Jez made the long journey to England with me to met all my family and friends and got a glimpse into my home, my history, my life in the UK.