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This is how girls skateboard in the UK – ‘Days Like These’ Film Trailer

Boardettes are super excited to share the new Rogue Skateboards ‘Days Like These’ Film trailer. Made by skate photographer and filmmaker Jenna Selby and the team behind Rogue Skateboards for MPORA.

This baby has been in the production basket for nearly a year now and it looks like they’re cooking up a storm. The trailer showcases some awesome riding from UK and European female skate talent with the likes of Camilla Mullins, legendary Lucy Adams, Boardette’s own Anita Almonte Arvelo and Nike sponsored skateboarder Julia Brueckler killing it in the trailer. Taking the classic feature skate movie to new heights with an all female cast, we absolutely can’t wait to see the full feature!

dayslikethesefilm.uk for more information. Also check out their facebook and twitter.

 

 

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Curve: Deptford’s first Skate/BMX shop honouring the area’s radical roots

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Touted as London’s next Shoreditch, Deptford is undoubtedly changing. The council perseveres in sprawling ‘affordable’ housing blocks across an already industrialised landscape; picture a mosaic of concrete blocks and waterless canals thickly carpeted in luminous green moss. It might sound bleak, but you just need to look behind the bricks to see that there is real community here and it favours curated growth and the preservation of the area’s rich if unknown history, over rapid gentrification.

Once the dockside trades were bombed in WWII, the infrastructure crumbled into slums and a fractured economy forced a synthesis of cultures and consequently an immense release of 20th century insurrections. Deptford market sowed a sense of hope and togetherness into the fabric of what is now regarded as the capital’s most diverse and vibrant high street. A homegrown radical arts community squared up to the National Front as The Albany Theatre hosted fifteen Rock against Racism concerts. The indigenous music scene saw Miles Copeland III set up Deptford Fun City Records and manage musician Mark Perry, whose band Alternative TV redefined punk rock rhythms with reggae and dub beats. Those were the well-documented subcultures that developed and though skateboarders, BMX riders and aggressive inliners have also been here since the 70s/80s, they are still ‘the next expression’ of survival and solidarity in this area.

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Descendants of Deptford and the southeast are protecting those movements by cultivating them, like twenty-nine-year-old Matthew Freer; the entrepreneur behind the area’s only skate/BMX shop Curve, opening this Saturday 31st of January 2015 at 4pm. His space, though retail, is the first of its kind to honour the neighbourhood’s grassroots in skate/BMX culture and places a heavy emphasis on being a social venue. Matt would say he’s just a dude opening a little shop, but he has been on the scene since he was a kid; he offers insider philosophies and hopes to encourage locals to take up his mantra.

He doesn’t measure his own worth in twitter followers, instead he gets his kicks riding new spots, taking photos of the world around him, listening to Archers of Loaf and watching retro classics like the X-files and Batman (“we can all be superheroes” he says with misleading conviction, “we just need to be millionaires!”) Of course there’s the whole jacking in his job and spending all his savings/nan’s inheritance on a few square feet of skater/BMX paradise: we’d say that makes him cape-worthy. Here’s what he had to say about how he could possibly put a dent in the world:

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Tell us a bit about yourself?
I grew up in Ladywell just down the road and I was always into bikes. At first it was mountain bikes, then I crashed mine and it was really expensive to replace back then. So I looked to buy something I could crash without breaking and when I was thirteen, I bought a second hand BMX bike off of a guy who lived on an estate in Deptford. I just started digging jumps, building my own fun – you’re fearless at that age – I regret not continuing that momentum but luckily my girlfriend also skates, so we try to get to parks in and around London as often as we can.

Did photography allow you to stay on the scene?
My mum’s a chef and my dad’s a producer, naturally they encouraged me to do something more creative, so I chose photography because that also tied in with that culture of sharing in BMX and skate, that era where everything was pre-digital and people had just entered the web. I was never that great at academic stuff at school but I was a very visual learner, and it was a way to be involved and watch people that were better riders than you, as well as capture the lifestyle around it all.

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Photographs from Matt’s collection

How did you come to be a shop owner?
I studied photography but fell out of love with it when it became a job – I ended up working in a still life studio and it was horrible. Then because of the recession I landed back in a local bike shop after working in one as a kid on Saturdays, and from there I went to a very prestigious road bike shop and got fed up of making other people money while seeing none of it myself: you learn how not to run a business when you work for other people. So I decided if I’m going to earn very little, I might as well do it on my own terms while giving something back to the skate/BMX scene and local neighbourhood. I inherited some money when my nan died and when you work in crap low paying job you take a hundred quid here and there and it ends up almost disappearing; it got to the point where I was like “I’ve got to invest this in something”, so I decided to invest it in myself.

What can we expect at opening?
I want to encourage British made stuff and unusual stock from elsewhere, and we’ll have a few pieces of our own. But ultimately it’s about bringing the community feel; holding evenings playing videos from the scene by the scene, where people can meet and hang out and share their spots and stuff like that (our opening parties are going to be ace!) Just creating a vibe that will get riders, skaters and creatives coming through so that it’s a little bit more than just a shop; it’s a positive place where you can meet likeminded people and find common goals. And we’ll get ‘em while they’re young, like the tobacco industry! Nah, if kids want to come in and learn that will be rad; I hope to organise trips and lessons at the shop and document them.

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Where has your inspiration come from?
I took one last holiday before being broke forever with buying this shop, and I went out to see the guys at FBM who make BMX frames in upstate NY; they started out as kids selling tees and they’re now a small but sustainable DIY company. There’s also a rider owned brand called Zeal who are UK BMX suppliers, the guy’s been great and his story has influenced me; it’s just about surviving and getting the word out. And the big thing is I want it to be open to everyone; having been to Labor stateside recently where everyone is super nice – they’re happy to talk to people and say “come in!” – I want to bring that over. For example, girls on the scene here have a tough time, they don’t always feel welcome walking into places like Slam City; my girlfriend wanted a special edition Hello Kitty deck and a kid in there told us to go to Argos. It’s just like, no mate?

What’s been the best moment in your journey so far?
I put flyers out and a guy tweeted at us about his five year old boy being really excited about a skate shop coming to the area and that was just really nice – to see that the locals are happy to have us here. It started as a drunk idea a few years ago, visiting other shops thinking “Oh I want to do this”, and now I’m grafting to make this happen because of things like that. This isn’t about the gentrifying the area, it’s about this is where I grew up and I want to do something for myself and the people around me that’s more positive than like a Pret.

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Do you have any advice for other people carving their own curve?
Do your homework; I checked out the surrounding area more and got to know my neighbours at Kids Love Ink and The Waiting Room café. Keep going; from idea to just finding an empty shop in the right area, it’s been a year – your hard work will pay off it you want it to happen. And have fun; the drive behind Curve is that I just want to have fun, to make fun ourselves and encourage everyone else to. Perhaps I’ll make a little money along the way, but you don’t go into this to get rich, it just won’t happen; with these industries, it’s more about doing something that means a bit more than just retail.

Help Curve become an anchor of real talk, proper graft and hard fun among a shadow of hopeless high-rises: head down this Saturday and support the opening.

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Girl Skater Tales: Harriet Alana explores the wilds of Edinburgh

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Skater and illustrator Harriet Alana headed north of the border with tattooist boyfriend Alex to explore the wilds of Scotland from the skatepark to the mountains. 

Arriving at Edinburgh Waverly station in a bustle, our rushed glances at the tremendous architecture in the car on the way to my aunt and uncle’s Edwardian home had us hyped about the trip to come.

The quest of day one was navigating our way to the Den of Iniquity, Scotland’s finest tattoo studio. Alex, a tattooist, was keen to investigate; Through the large black Victorian door, the Den boasts a high ceiling interior. Dark wooden cabinets and bureaus furnish the ruby-red room and the walls are decorated with framed sheets of traditional flash.

Alex introduced himself to Mark McEwan, one of the tattooists and they hit it off instantly chatting all things ink. We were kindly given prints by head tattoo artist, Ed Staples, and then we made tracks to our next cultural destination, but not before Alex booked himself in for a tattoo.

Whilst Alex was getting inked the next day, I rambled alone up Carlton Hill – Edinburgh’s first park, which opened in the 1700’s for the benefit of the population’s health. A refreshing space to rejuvenate from the busy city which at the summit, the entire city and beyond can be seen – the coast to the east, north to the old town and west to Arthur’s Seat, the city’s inactive volcano.

Edinburgh is an ancient city with evidence suggesting habitation from as early as 8500 BC. An expanding population of the capital in the 17th century meant houses needed to increase in height to accommodate the city’s needs. These 11-storey buildings built on the hillsides are what give the city its dramatic layered effect. Steeples of Gothicism alongside turreted houses and grand hotels built in old blue-y grey and cream stone. After a couple of hours meditating through my pencils, I returned to the Den of Iniquity to find Alex with a permanent picture of a frog playing a banjo on his leg!

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The next stop on our culture tour was Analogue Bookshop, an independently run store selling artisan books and zines from local and far-a-field creatives. Here, I found two of my favourite art books, In The Wilds and In The City; colourful drawing journals of time spent in two opposite environments, by former Edinburgh University Student Nigel Peake.

As we left Analogue, the skies opened, we ran for cover and found ourselves sheltered by an Aladdin’s cave of wearable curiosities. It was W.Armstrong & Son, a vintage clothes and fancy dress shop. From the high ceiling hung a life-sized 3D model of a moustached 1920’s diver watching over the store, packed to the rafters with Victorian circus memorabilia and 70’s fashion.

Our second day in Edinburgh was dry and sunny skate appropriate weather, so we headed to the gigantean skate mecca that is Saughton. It offers a monstrous bowl in the centre and mini ramp adjoining and a separate deep bowl. There is a street section offering plenty of flat space amongst a great assortment of obstacles including rails, steps, angular hips, ledges and many different flat banks. I flung myself up most of them finding a short, steep bank to be most effective for that feel-good ollie.

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Alex demonstrated his array of impressive tricks including a front blunt, noted by an impressed local who introduced himself as TJ. The friendly locals, who initiated conversation, humbled us. Just like at any other skate park, they were a mixed bunch in age, ability and appearance, all with that shared love of shreddin’ the gnar. We gave out zines and stickers and took our boards apart. I gave mine to a long-haired fellow who’d been killin’ it – John Cardiel style – all day. His board was mashed.

After several days in the city it was time to see what Scotland’s wild had to offer us. Yellowcraig is an almost untouched beach on the East coast. To reach it, you have to walk through a small forest and then through the long golden grass of the dunes before seeing the treasure that is this beautiful, craggy stretch of coastline.

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It was a blustery, yet clear day with the ocean particularly clear at the shoreline and a rich azure shade out to sea. There are many scattered islands, including Bass Rock, a steep-sided volcanic rock and home for guillemots, razorbills, seals and over 150,000 gannets.

Shoreline explored, it was time to travel north, our mission was to camp in the wilds of the Trossachs. We borrowed a basic map and planned a rough route to go by on a two-day trail.

Our trek began on the old railway line in the forest. We were at the foot of the mountain, passing babbling brooks and spruces covered in lichen. Our ascent up the ‘Ben’ began. It was magical. Two inquisitive beings exploring the wilderness, content in the quiet presence of each other. There was an endless plethora of stunning views.

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After a day of hiking – quiet interactions with timid birds, steep ascents and varied weather – we found the perfect camping spot as the sun finally came out. Tent up and camping knife in hand, I located and cut up firewood from large fallen branches while Alex arranged rocks from the neighbouring stream in a pagan-like circle. Newspaper rolled, perfectly poised firewood, flames a flare – it was time to cook.

The rewarding sound of sizzling (veggie) sausages accompanied by Scottish whisky and great conversation to me proved the true meaning of our trek – this was love, happiness, wholesome being – real living.

The fire died and the midges arose – time to retreat. We snuggled up like hibernating bear cubs and slept soundly through the cold and mostly peaceful night with only the sporadic rustles of what must have been a curious mountain sheep.

We rose to a lovely day not a clue or care to the time. Egg sarnies for breakfast – thank you, Alex. He was in his element; “There’s nothing quite like cooking yourself breakfast on the mountainside, Harriet.”

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Despite a good night’s kip and a lighter load on our backs, our packs felt heavy on our knees as we gradually headed down the track. Our slow descent led us to the Falls of Docart; where a river flows over boulders through the town of Killin and into Loch Tay. Alex and I refreshed here for a while as the afternoon sun shone down, before the last stretch back to base.

We arrived back weary, but contented, in a dream-like state. A steaming cuppa in our hands, we spent the evening drawing and writing about our adventures in Scotland. Our most awakening experience in the wild proved that sleeping and living outside is wondrous. Despite its challenges, it’s something everyone needs to experience for the sake of our planet. Learning, whilst living within nature, is key to educate us all of the importance of protecting the natural world around us.VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

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Film Review: Stephanie in the water

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By Gina Burns

Stephanie Gilmore’s highs and lows from being a five times world champion athlete are documented in the film Stephanie in the Water, directed by Ava Warbrick.

Competing since 2001 as a child she won her first world title in 2007 at just age 17. In the film her smile radiates across the screen  and it is easy to see where she gets her nickname “Happy Gilmore”.

Intimate footage of her and her fellow surfer girls show true friendship and girl power at the house in Hawaii. However Stephanie shares deep feelings of how she has a large network including other high profile surfers such as Alana Blanchard yet she feels separated and different than the rest of the group. Ava and her crew must have become close friends with Gilmore due to the open nature and details in her story.

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She held the world title for four years before a very traumatic experience effected her performance and she had to personally hand her trophy to Carissa Moore. The mood of the film changes dramatically at this point, it is clear that Stephanie cannot accept losing her title – and she starts refusing interviews.

Determined to get back on track, rather than practising in the waves Stephanie uses the technique of balancing on a ball for more than 2 hours at a time. The theory behind being that it avoids any opportunity to have a bad set which would psych the competitor out before a competition.

The final section of the documentary film see’s Stephanie on top form regaining her title in 2012 and then showing her free surfing some sweet right hand barrels.

The film provides less actual surf action than expected, however, it does reveal the tale of Stephanie’s life and a better understanding of the true pressure an athlete faces.

 

5 minutes with Stephanie Gilmore & Ava Warbrick:

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So what was the time frame of shooting the film?

AW: There was no end game really – We had an extremely small crew which was all women and sometimes it was just myself filming so that we could get as much natural footage as possible.

 

Obviously you have won a lot of competitions, which would you say were your best wins?

SG: It’s hard to pick but if I had to choose my favourite wins were at Honolulu bay. Another best surf win would be in France as it was on Bastille day the beach was crazy!

 

When do you expect women to start surfing at places like pipeline? Is there talk of a women’s competition there?

SG: There is talk of a Women exhibition at pipeline actually so fingers crossed i won’t drown. (laughs)

 

When are we going to see money makers?

SG:  I think guys and girls levelled 3 years ago and now guys have gone crazy! Girls are just learning and progressing constantly.

 

What advice would you give someone starting surfing?

SG: If I look back at my first years surfing i didn’t worry so much and now I am definitely more stressed I so could learn from that, from my younger self. I would also say to take it all in instead of floating through, everything happened and then I worried about winning 5th world title. It’s also important to always have fun.

 

Do you ever feel social pressure to sell your body when modelling?

SG: I always think it’s best to be yourself so if your sexual person go for it but don’t be something your not – should celebrated your athleticism as long as it’s in context. At the end of the film it’s a clip of you free surfing.

 

What was the decision on sharing the Contest footage verses free surfing at the end?

SG: I was so happy there, it was the best surfing footage we had you know I was in my dreamy happy place so it felt right to end it there.

Watch the film online here: http://www.stephanieinthewater.com/.

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The Amazon Riders: Teaser with Claudia Ogorondik

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Wer’re in Sao Paulo Brazil for the weekend, filming for our new production The Amazon Riders. It’s 9pm and we finally manage to get a few hours without rain. We find ourselves in the epic Marquise do Ibirapuera, designed by legendary Brazilian architect Niemeyrer. It’s a sloping structure, which with it’s curves, columns and contours, is a haven for those on wheels whether they are on skateboard, longboard or rollerblade wheels. Thousands flock to the area every weekend and it’s easy to see why, it’s an enormous space, protected from the rain with a perfectly smooth surface – any skateboarder’s dream.

We find our subject of today’s shoot, 25 year old Claudia Ogorondik, hanging out in the freestylers corner, munching on bacon flavoured potato chips and sipping Guarana with her girlfriend. She’s proudly donning her black ‘Per Canguru‘ hoody, from the freestyle skate company that sponsors her. Claudia Ogorondik is not unique only because she is a girl on a skateboard, she is the only female freestyle skateboarder in the entire continent of South America – and she represents.

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After a warm up chat we get shooting, it’s cold and it’s getting late but as soon as Claudia steps on her board, we forget everything else. She seamlessly performs a rail slide and effortlessly displays her footwork connecting walk the dogs with space walks and cross-footed rail flips. We are open-mouthed, in awe - this girl has talent.

After capturing Claudia’s skills on film we get to the interview. The fun begins as we trade our segmented knowledge of Portuguese for her limited English and burst into fits of laughter due to our hilarious miscommunications. Luckily we have a translator nearby to get things running smoothly as Claudia talks about her love for her sport, “It’s like meditation, you forget everything else and just have fun.” she explains.

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Despite the cold night, we leave the shoot with a warm feeling from not only capturing raw talent on camera but from encountering such a passionate, down-to-earth person with a silly sense of humour. Check out the teaser from the shoot below and like The Amazon Riders Facebook page to keep updated with all the action.

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The Amazon Riders Film

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Boardettes have been on the quiet side for the last couple of months but not without reason, we have been out in sunny Brazil, heads tucked under the shade of our cameras, working on the production of our new film ‘The Amazon Riders’.

The film, the first of it’s kind, explores the female street skate, freestyle skate, longboard and surf scene in Brazil. So far, with our partner producers Guanabara Boards, we have been in Rio de Janeiro filming downhill longboarders and longboard dancers Sara Watanabe, Maria Oliveira and Enia Paula Lobo as well as street skaters Bia Sodre and Isabela Belinha. We also hit Sao Paulo to meet 40-year-old longboard dancer Erika Giannella and the number one Brazilian female freestyle skater Cláudia Ogorondik.

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Street skater Bia Sodre in Lagoa Skatepark, Rio de Janeiro

Next we’ll be heading to the sunny coasts of Northern Brazil with the Guanabara Boards team to capture some female surf action in the coming months.

The film will not only capture the girls in motion but will also introduce the key characters behind the growing story of female boardsports in Brazil. In interviews the riders speak about what drives their passion and how the scene is for women in Brazil. We ask them about the obstacles for women in boardsports, the support that sponsors and the national sport industry provide and about the cultural boundaries they come across.

The rest of the world know Brazilian women as some of the most beautiful in the world. In this alluring land where perfection is actively sought by women, it takes a lady cut from a different coat that dares to step on a board, risk bruised shins,  break a sweat – or sometimes even their bones.

Boardettes Productions and Guanabara Boards exposes these pioneering women, warrioresses of the tropics – The Amazon Riders – to the world.

Stay updated on the film’s facebook page

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The Rise of the Girl Skater: Boardettes in Prowl Magazine

Boardettes was featured in this month’s Prowl Magazine with article by myself, Boardettes founder, Teresa Madeline.

In a double page spread I lay down the law of what it means to be a girl skater in the UK and give a sneak peek into the developments of the skateboarding sport for women. Citing from my own experience of how I got into boarding and what inspired me to start Boardettes, I go on to speak about the incredible, creative, fearless and enterprising women who have inspired my journey further and keep me rolling, even when the going gets tough.

“Skateboarding inflicts it’s practitioners with a very distinctive attitude, whether they realise or not. The action of consistently falling on your knees, elbows, hands and arse, then getting right back up and trying all over again, instills a very special frame of mind that transcends beyond the skatepark to everyday life. This is why so many adult skateboarders are freelancers, entrepreneurs and pioneers in their field of work. That ability to fall down and get back up again are often the key attributes one needs to succeed in business.”

Read the article below and pick up your own copy of Prowl Magazine here.

Prowl Magazine Article: Riders of the Dawn

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Pro Wakeboarding Mum Lex Balladon is Back Shredding

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After the arrival of her son Ethan last year, Lex took a necessary and thankfully brief hiatus from the water.  But now she is back and smashing up the cable parks better than ever.  In her latest edit she joined the rest of her Watersports World UK team down at Club Wake Park in Northamptonshire to shred and film together as part of the team’s 2014 shoot.  

Not one to just stand back and let others out do her, Lex stepped it up joining in with the guys hitting some pretty technical rails put in place for the shoot, and throwing her first kicker to rail transfer, in her words “she got balls”.

 Check out the edit, sit back and enjoy with Lex’s effortless style and her ever present elegance on and off the water, and proving that for the sports that we love, nothing keeps us off the water for very long at all!

Lex Balladon – Back Shredding from watersportsworld on Vimeo.

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10 reasons Why You Should Try SUP Yoga

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By Gina Burns

SUP Yoga is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK; the practise is fairly self explanatory – brave yogis risk the plunge as they perform the ancient art of yoga on a floating stand-up -paddle board.

Surfdome hosted a week full of free activities at Wake Up Docklands recently and I thought it the perfect opportunity to find out what it is about this new sport that has captured the world.

On a Monday afternoon in London I leave the insanity of the city in search of some calm on the water. Kitted out in wetsuits, myself, our instructor Nicola Cummisky of Surf Sup Fit Yoga and three other newbies paddle a few metres out on our boards and anchor them in place.

Floating in the middle of the Docklands we start to get our lotus and our downward dog on. Balancing on the water creates an incredibly relaxed environment but also an unstable surface so you must deepen the engagement with your core generating a more intense workout.

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The typical London rain starts to fall, but instead of my usual grumble about the rubbish weather, the refreshing droplets actually heighten my sense of calm. We progress into the class and as the postures get more technical the reliance on the muscles to keep balance and remain on the board increase.

Nicola gently guides us into crow and, balancing just on my hands, I manage to hold the pose for just a couple of seconds before falling head first onto the board. It’s actually pretty fun when you fall down – opposed to falling onto hard concrete when I am skating – the SUP boards and the water make a gentle change.

Effortlessly Nicola then demonstrates several headstands. Although I have never mastered this unassisted on solid ground the soft landing motivated me to conquer it while on water. I think every single one of us made a splash at this point! Laughter echoed across the docklands until we returned to lotus once again.

I was incredibly sad that the session came to an end, as a yogi and board sports enthusiast it really was even better than I ever imagined.

Don’t let the sight of winter scare you away; Nicola from SurfSupFitYoga.com runs sessions regularly across London. (PS. There is word on the street that indoor swimming pools will keep SUP Yogis happy during the chillier months, or if you brave enough don a wetsuit, grab a paddle and float away in Lotus.)

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Here are my top 10 reasons why you should try SUP yoga too…

It combines your two favourite things.

Board loving yogis experimented by practising asana on their 10-12ft paddleboards to create SUP Yoga.

A more intense workout.

By practising yoga on an unstable surface your body has to work harder to balance and hold postures creating a more intense work out.

Improves technique.

The board will move with your body so if you’re applying more pressure on to one side more than another the board will tilt, highlighting how you can improve your posture.

Make new friends with like-minded people.

Group sessions are a brilliant way to mingle with cool fellow board sport and yogi enthusiasts.

It’s a season round sport.

With the introduction of indo-boarding and sessions held in indoor pools it doesn’t matter what the weather is like or what time of the year it is to take part. Also to those brave enough to don winter wet suits there is no stopping you taking your board out during those cooler months.

If you fall over it won’t hurt.

SUP yoga teaches you to get back up again and again when you take a tumble. The soft landing of the water means less worrying about hitting the ground and enables you to lose the fear and focus on your technique.

It connects you to nature.

Floating on the water creates a feeling of being closer to the earth yet more freedom than solid ground.

It’s fun.

It’s hard not to have a smile on your face when paddling out and splashing around – adrenaline rushes are inevitable when you might fall in the water.

Be part of the fastest growing new board sport in the UK.

See what all the fuss is about like I did, you won’t regret it!

Get out of the routine.

Sack the gym for the great outdoors- simple!

 

For more information on Surf Sup Fit Yoga’s classes check out their website and facebook.

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Skate Like a Girl: Boardettes 3 day skateboard course

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After the success of our hour long skate classes throughout the summer, Boardettes introduced something bigger and better – the Skate Like A Girl intensive three-day course. Six hours of hardcore skating over a three day period, including the option to pick and choose to attend a one-off session. Either way, coach Carla Von Marx and I, Harriet Alana, seriously put these ladies through their paces – plenty of blood sweat and… smiles!

Day one saw a great turn out with eight attendees and despite my complete failure to get anyone’s name correct, (we had two Sophie’s and two Lucy’s) everyone had an awesome time and progressed rapidly in such a short stint. It was a day for getting the basics spot on – pushing, tick tacks, balance/control tricks, riding flat banks, kick-turns and pumping the mini ramp.

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Most of the girls didn’t know each other and hadn’t skated at all before so it was great to see the camaraderie right from the get go. We had an excellent range of ages from those in their early 20’s to a woman in her 40’s, Sophie, who fought her struggle to get to grips with her skateboard – essentially a piece of wood that moves – even after many dramatic bails, at no point did she even consider giving up. Mad respect.

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By the end of the two hours, the girls who had opted for just that session all received a goody bag including a t-shirt, stickers and magazines. Well done to the two Sophies, Lucy and Eva.

All Boardettes sessions previously have been blessed with dry weather, that is until Day two of Skate Like A Girl. My attempts to squeegee the skate park were futile as we became victims of the tail-end hurricane downpour just as our ladies were arriving. We didn’t let this dampen our spirits as the session went off like a firecracker – and we had skate photographer extraordinaire, Rob Shaw to capture the evenings activities.

Emily, Roisin, Caroline, Sarah and Lucy all returned and we went through ollies, shuv-its, also re-visiting kickturns and pumping, and finally dropping in mini half-pipe!

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Now, dropping in is not technically difficult, but many people tend to avoid learning it because it seems so scary! It took me months to pluck up the courage to do it, and I learnt the hard way, with punk boys yelling at me to do it on the concrete quarters at Stockwell. I did it in the end, but I’d already been skating for six months. These girls had been skating for the grand total of 3 hours.

Split in to two groups, Carla worked on pumping whilst I got Emily and Caroline dropping in used to the mini ramp. Emily took to it straight away, as while the main group was re-capping flat bank skating, trickster, Carla, pushed Emily to learn not only how to drop in, but rock fakie, backside slasher and tail stall all in the space of half an hour!

Emily admitted she used to skate when she was a teen, but never had anyone to skate with so gave it up. I was glad all this positivity and encouragement was re-lighting her fire. Caroline needed a little more help with dropping in and she did bail a few times, but once she got over the fear factor, she mastered it. Nice one.

I wanted to keep the session moving, so needed to get the other girls on it. With the practicalities and physics explained, and after a few bails, Lucy, Rosin and Sarah all got the technique right, holding my hands for support. Practising ‘pumping’ before learning to drop in is always a great idea, so you know what to do once you have dropped in and I was pleased to see Roisin had mastered this art. A few more goes and Sarah and Lucy had also got it.

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Forced to skate indoors, with less space to cruise about, meant we had to concentrate on learning tricks. I was stoked that all the girls were getting ollies straight away. Shuv-its were another trick that was mastered just like that. Emily naturally did frontside shuv’s instead (something I can’t even do myself!) At the end of just the second session, we were already seeing the individuality of skateboarding – discovering of tricks for oneself.

Day three, thankfully, was dry, but presented new challenges with local young delinquents riding a stolen scooter into the skate park not only disturbing our session, but other skate park users too. Thankfully they went away and we were able to get on with the session. Photographer Phil Hill was on hand to capture every magic moment, Anastasia Kuzina came down for a shred and Camilla Alexandra Mullins and Charlotte Twig Brennan also joined us for the evening… and very kindly agreed to judge the competition later! But first, the girls had to practice!

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We began by recapping everything learnt in the two previous days, then Carla took Emily away for some more expert extended training whilst I continued with dropping-in with the other girls.

Then, it was time for the comp! A few moments practising moves and then down to the real deal. We split the competition into two halves – street and mini ramp. I felt a bit bad about making the girls skate amongst the busy-ness of the park.. ‘it’s good for them!’ Camilla piped up as she began observing some moves. And she was totally right. The girls made great use of the park, skating over the ‘nipples’ and using the hip and flat bank as well as flat ground tricks learnt. Sarah landed a couple of shuv its and Roisin’s ollies on the move were looking rock steady.

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Then it was time for the mini ramp jam. Although not all the girls had fully learnt how to drop in, I felt it was still worth doing. After a shaky start, Emily killed it on the mini with a great run – rock fakie, tail stall and 50-50. Lucy hadn’t quite got there with dropping in, but with encouragement from myself and the other girls, she left the illogical fear behind and proceeded to drop in for the first time! A roar of cheers from everyone. After that, she did it many times, each time more and more confident, even with a bit of pumping afterwards. Sarah also learnt to drop in un-aided during the comp – I was so proud.

And so like everything great, the Skate Like A Girl intensive three-day course came to an end, but not without prize giving. Camilla and Charlotte totalled up the scores whilst I went to fetch the swag.

Roisin Larkin and Sarah came joint third receiving themselves each a goodie bag of t-shirts, stickers and magazines, Lucy Barker rode in at a steezy second place winning a pair of converse shoes and t-shirt and Emily Barker placed first winning a deck kindly donated by Descent skateboards.

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Thank you to everyone involved in the course, including all our sponsors; Orijin skateboards, Descent Skateboards, Lovenskate and Parlour skate store and to Rob Shaw and Phil Hill for taking sweet snaps and to our judges Camilla and Charlotte. A massive thank you to Carla Von Marx for her excellent coaching skills – couldn’t have done it without her!

Carla and I were both sad to see the course come to an end, but we felt so inspired by all the girls. They were throwing themselves off their boards, probably gaining a fair amount of bruises the next day, reminded me of how dedicated you should be to learn something new, therefore progress, no matter what level you’re at. Everybody had an amazing time and achieved so much in just three two-hour sessions. The positivity and encouragement from one another was incredible, and paramount to their confidence and progression in such a short space of time. A massive well done, girls!

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Life & style on the edge