Friday, 3 June 2011

Stop feeding our Cat!

Stop feeding our cat! Drives us nuts- every time there's a holiday, we have to go in search of Esme. She loves chicken! And the people who stay on the holiday park nearby obviously love giving it to her!! She's been OTFC (off to find chicken) for a few days now, AWOL. We found her by one of the statics, all stretched out next to a smoking BBQ! It's no big deal - she knows where her fish is buttered. But we did lose a cat a few years ago in exactly the same way, so we like to keep tabs on her movements just in case she gets shut in when everyone goes back home. We have two cats - no chance of the other one, Frankster, getting shut in. She's unbelievably lazy. She manages to go from food bowl to bed and back again, that's about it. To her credit she does get on very well with Libby, our black lab. They'll quite often curl up bottom to bottom. Quite different to Esme who'll come for walks with Libby in the field, but then at the same will show a real lack of humour should a big black nose start sniffing around her private area.

What an amazing day! It's great - I love it when everyone comes down and has a great time. There's nowhere else in the world that you need to be when it's like this. It's quite stunning.

Boil in the bag

Wear a winter wetsuit to teach in on a day like today, and that's how it feels - like a boil in the bag. So that's three days in a row for me - teaching back in the front line. Wanted to check out the new instructors (Ben, Luke, Dee, Johnnie) and see how they're getting on. And the answer is .. really good. There's a good buzz about the team this year. I think the new crew are strong, keen to learn, have good personal skills - very happy with them.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

All gone a bit crazy!

If we thought it might get a bit quieter after the weekend, we were much, much mistaken.

On the Job

The hot seat! Make no mistake, when you sit here, you feel it. Your task, should you wish to accept it, is to get everyone checked in, paid, sorted into groups - and do it all start to finish in 20 minutes. Sounds easy - but not when you've got eighty surfers checking in. It can at times be a real head spin. And it can't be anyone taking the helm. It has to be someone who understands how it works at the water's edge, know how to allocate the groups to the right instructor. It's a bit like the chaos theory. We might get someone checking in who's booked in two improvers - they then change this to one improver and one beginner.. the knock on effect can be enormous. A complete rework of groups. Janey did it for years, it's a real skill. You have to be like the swan, graceful and in control on the surface, and yet behind the smile you might be thinking "Oh my God, how am I going to sort this out!" Wailin is the main man (Sam on Wails days off) - and he's brilliant at it.

I've sat in the hot seat in the past ( I try and avoid it) and thought, "I've actually lost total control of this situation. I'm going to walk away and I may not come back!" I've had plenty of dreams where you're sat n the hot seat, naked, checking people in. Must be the exposure! Of course, it always pans out in the end. Helps when you've got an experienced crew to act as back up.

So next time you're booking in - check out the person in the hot seat. Observe the sweat on the brow!

Here's the crew - Wail made a decision pretty early on. We've always been a bit top heavy, a lot of experience. Trouble with that is you get a middle order who have no where to go within Surf's Up! Even as the largest surf school in the UK (I'm told the world) we only have so many senior places. That means that the middle order who've been with us a a few years can potentially get a bit demotivated. What Wailin's set about doing this year is retain the top tier and bring in a few fresh faces. And that works well on so many different levels. New blood is good for those that are here, nice to work with a different crew. And the rookies give a new dimension. All good.

Saltrock Open, Croyde

Max and Angus, under 16s finalists at the Saltrock Open, with Liam the under 12 winner

The Surfs Up Elite squad headed off to North Devon this weekend for the Saltrock Pro at Croyde. This is one of a series of surf competitions run by the UK Pro Surf Tour, where the juniors get to compete at the same events as the UKs top Pro riders. The focus of this comp was that it was a qualifier for the richest surf event in the UK, the Nike 6.0 Night-Surf to be held at Fistral, Newquay in July. In order to qualify you had to compete at Croyde, and you had to do well. In the Under 16s only the top 8 out of 32 competitors would qualify, in the Pro Juniors (under 21) the top 16 out of 42 and in the under 12s the top 4.

Conditions on the day included fierce onshore winds, driving rain and a strong rip. As the comp unfolded Rhys Barfield did his usual trick of being knocked out of his age class early in the under 16s but then charging through the rounds in the class above, the Pro Juniors, reaching the last 16 to qualfy for Fistral. Max Payne and Angus Scotney, although both new to the higher age groups this year, stormed to the final in the under 16s against the older opposition, reaching the last 4 and also securing their Nike 6.0 qualification. In the under 12s Liam Murray Strout dominated, cruising to a fine victory. He is the stand out surfer at under 12 this year, and has set the standard for all you other mini groms to come and have a go. (Report from JP - thanks JP)

Monday, 30 May 2011

Whitsun is upon us

Looks pretty grim out there! But actually it looks worse than it is. 2ft, super clean, very little wind - pretty sweet, just a bit overcast. It's been a busy Whitsun, lots of happy smiling faces.

I have nothing more to say - literally. I've got one of those ridiculous sore throats, the kind that grinds you down, keeps you up at night with a pathetic tickly cough. My current diet is honey and lemon. Would like to feel a bit chirpier now please. Sounds like a few of the team have got the same thing. Lots of spluttering going down.

My missus is amazing. Seriously. And I'm going to spend the rest of my life with her. Great Mum, fantastic wife, works tirelessly and selflessly. All I've got to do now is persuade her to let me do the Lanzarote Ironman. Entry has just opened. Limited places. But it's not cheap. Hopefully my previous remarks will be acknowledged... and rewarded. I jest, she's remarkably tolerant when it comes to boys toys. I think it's a man thing, but there's always that one little purchase that will make life so much better. It never does, but then again, life's never been so sweet.

Will we see a mass exodus this afternoon or are visitors staying for the week?

Great comp results from our Elite riders this weekend. Report to follow.