Wetsuit Buying Guide

A good wetsuit can save your life

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Guide


A good wetsuit can save your life, so it is essential to know what you are doing when it comes to buying the right wetsuit. Here is the ultimate wetsuit buying guide for those new to water sports, and even for the seasoned pros who wish to know which features to look for when buying their wetsuits.

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Olympic Campaigner Struggles for Funding

Pushing like mad to make a 2016 Olympic Dream a Reality

Do you want to help one of our very talented young sailors with her Olympic campaign?

Mary Rook
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Mary Rook

I caught up with Olympic campaigner, Mary Rook, following her recent domination of the Nacra 17 GBR Olympic qualification series, with Helm Tom Phipps, and despite their win there can only be low level financial support for her Olympic campaign until they can achieve International success.

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How To Cancel, Leave, Opt Out of eBays Webinterpret European Sales Booster Trial

I struggled to find an answer to this online so I thought I’d post it here for anyone who wants to leave their eBay Webinterpret European Sales Booster trial.

I read the T&C and it says that during the trial period you can cancel at any time and it gives an email address, support@webinterpret.com so I did that and then a few hours later they called. I explained why I wanted to leave and then they gave me a URL which is all you need to do to cancel your account…

http://portal.ebay.co.uk/european-sales-booster/opt-out/

Thats it, I just ticked the boxes and my items were shortly removed

Surfing in lyme regis and the surrounding area.

saunton
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Surfing in Lyme Regis and the surrounding area has grown over the past winter season. With huge storms and constant monster swells in west facing spots Lyme has been recognised by more surfers now as a legit location to visit when a winter swell approaches. Not a huge amount of people actually know Lyme’s surfing side though which is a shame. The more famous Atlantic facing spots have been either blown over or dangerously big over some parts of the winter, which left us surfers at a stand still until a gap in the extreme winds let us get in the water. Then spots like Lyme Regis came up with a good swell that some people had ignored before. The shelter provided by the cliffs and the Cobb combined by the angle Lyme faces meant that we had a good swell coming in that wasn’t to big and wasn’t to small. This was great for us locals as we could just wait for the right tide then head down and paddle out. It was also great for the surfers from surrounding areas as it meant their normal hour or so trek to Newquay, Croyde or St Ives could be swapped for a trip to a much smaller and well formed wave in Lyme Regis.

These are the waves we want.
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These are the waves we want.

It was also a great booster for us local lads as we spend most of the winter thinking of what to do or where to go. But this allowed us to just go down and improve our surfing skills and learn about our local break and how the reefs can form a different swell to the others. We also met some surfers and people we hadn’t met before we started surfing Lyme which we wouldn’t have if we had chosen to go to another place. The atmosphere is chilled out and friendly when it comes to surfing and general water sports in Lyme. People have the time to talk and the space to share and don’t get protective of waves and are happy to share ( we call a party wave ) and happy to be joined in a group waiting for a wave. The surfers, sup riders, windsurfers and kite surfers comes to around 30 so there is not a problem about space in the water. A sport that Lyme is great for is stand up paddle boarding which has grown rapidly over the past couple of years creating a huge number of people riding the boards on waves, cruising the coast or generally messing about on lakes and slow rivers around the country. The area of Lyme and Charmouth is great for stand up paddle boarding as the waves can pick up lots and be a great laugh but still be able to get out fine.This is good for the riders as an equivalent wave in most other places would be near impossible for most riders to get out. When the storm St Jude passed through some huge waves were created with a peak of around 10 ft for 48 hours or so. These waves were loved by surfers and sup riders alike who got on well together and shared the waves, the biggest wave was surfed by a local sup rider. We had some decent sessions at the start of the year but then the waves started to get bigger and cleaner in mid December which were normally in the range of 2-6 ft in lines across Lyme’s pebble beach.  This is a map of the main surf spots in Lyme Regis and Charmouth. Please expand to create a better image.

 

The conditions this winter had to be a certain way to produce good waves. The conditions were massive southerlies or south westerlies to wreck the shore and create huge mushy sets for a few hours, then the tide needs to drop and the wind needs to be very south westerlies to create the clean big waves we had a few times. The amount of surfers we have had in Lyme has increased over the year with only a few visiting to surfers in the tens visiting in early and mid February. The locals had lots of good sessions after work and school which people forget can be fun to as on certain days the tide will be dropping in the evening. The back of Lucy’s ledge in Lyme became one of my favoured places to surf in late September – late October as the reef was making a really good wave there. The wave got up to around 6 ft in one session and considering the reef was only waist deep at the time it was really fun. The back right of broad ledge was producing some big waves that just break on the reef so you can paddle out without getting battered. A spot that is only for advanced surfers and body boarders as the wave is a huge slab that comes out of no where and gives you a ride for a few seconds then will smash you straight into the Cobb wall. The local surfers who are the “old school group” use this spot when the swell gets good. Windsurfing was very popular this winter with the local and visiting wind surfers using the big waves created by the low pressure systems of February and were able to pull of some impressive tricks. The end of the winter was producing some ideal conditions for kite surfing with strong constant winds and small to medium waves for them to mess around on. It did get a tad crowded on occasion but surfers respected them and gave them space and they respected us by not taking their kites and boards to close to us. I interviewed some friends of mine who are a part of the surfing and water sports community in Lyme Regis. Jake Patrick What do you think about the people and groups who surf Lyme and local areas? “There are two groups here, the old school group who can be a little locals only and want Lyme as a secret spot and then there’s the new school group that’s compiled windsurfers, kite surfers, paddle boarders and surfers. who are more open as they do more sports.” Do you think the scene has changed in the past two years ? “I think recently the surf scene has had a re-boot now you guys have started getting more involved and some guys finding their dads boards and a wetsuit around which is kinda how surfing starts getting big in most places.” Is it worth coming to Lyme? “Yes if its massive storms from the south west but if its a regular day everywhere else has the same amount of swell in the surrounding area. Its a real difficulty with the tides knowing when to go out if your not there so you have to work out when to go in advance”. Do you think its a sheltered spot? “The big south westerlies mess up the rest of the coast so when its big and stormy its definitely worth coming” Matt Caton Your a Local guy but do you mix with the other groups? “I’ve never really met the older locals because they surf the Cobb and I’m not experienced enough and a spot they want to protect” Do you think what’s being happening lately will carry on? “As long as were here I think it will carry on”. Some of the locals have good views about surfing in the area and is clear that locals know about dangers in the water and the conditions their spots get good. Also that we have our heads screwed on and open to share. So if your in the Lyme Regis area pay us a visit. By will ure

A Beginners Guide to Surfboards

Surfing is a great sport that has been popular for many years and is rapidly becoming even more popular in the UK. The recent developments in technology is seeing a wider range of choice and price than ever before. So as you can expect choosing a board is just becoming harder. You enter the websites and lots of different categories will appear for surfboards, some may be fish, mini mal, short board, hybrid, long board, swallowtail and maybe even starter short board’s or Gun’s. Choosing the right one may be hard and I fell for the mistake of choosing a 6 ft 4 short board as my first. So I am going to give you a guide on what you can expect in the way of performance and suited ability, weight and wave style. First were going to start of with the classic long board.

The Different Types of Surfboards

Long board

This is a 9' class=
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This is a 9’3 seawards vessel

  • Wave Size: Small to Medium.
  • Fins: Normally one centre fin.
  • Ability: Beginners to advanced.

The long board is the longest and normally the widest usually with just one large centre fin. It’s possibly the best for complete beginners as the length, width and buoyancy make it easier to paddle and get up standing. It usually has small middle rocker and lots of nose rocker and a slight tail rocker. These boards are also popular with experienced surfers who want to make a change to their surfing. Walking the board and trying bigger waves may be a fun new way to try your surfing as opposed to a short board or as well as for the more advanced surfers. The turning capability and speed will be  reduced when using this board. The typical rider will use in knee to shoulder high waves but advanced surfers will take higher waves on.

Mini mal

This is an NSP mini mal
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This is an NSP mini mal

  • Wave Size: Small to Medium.
  • Fins:  usually 3.
  • Ability: Beginners to advanced.

This is a mini mal and is essentially the recommended board for complete novices and used by surf schools in a foam model usually. This is essentially a smaller version of a long board with lengths normally ranging from 7’4 to 8’0 with slightly more rocker on the middle and upper middle section with tail rocker improved as well. Another changed feature will be the number of fins with the normal number of three. An addition of a traction pad makes for improved grip on the back foot improved when turning. Also the width and buoyancy will have been reduced to allow for a more performance feel. The wave height is usually knee height to shoulder with more advanced surfers taking bigger swell on. The mini mal may have the addition of more technology than the classic long board with more noticeable rails and maybe even channels.

Starter short board

This is a Bic shortboard
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This is a Bic shortboard

  • Wave Size: Small to Medium.
  • Fins:  usually 3.
  • Ability: Beginners to advanced.

This is a starter short board which is the recommended board to advance to when your confidence and skill set has improved. This board will differ to a normal short board in the width and buoyancy. It may also have a greater length and a smaller price tag than a normal short board. This will normally have a three fin set up (a thruster) as this makes for easier turning but also not too slippy on the wave. This board will normally be an epoxy build as the beginner may drop, crash and be a little more accident prone than a more advanced surfer. The board will normally come fitted out with a traction pad to ensure you have the proper back foot grip when starting to turn down the wave. This board may include more rocker on the nose and on the tail with some channels included to help the water get to the fins faster. This board may have models where a nose cap has been fitted as the one in the photo above includes which is going to protect the nose of the board from scratches and being damaged. The wave height is normally waist height to just over head height.

Short board

 

This is a Channel islands shortboard
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This is a Channel islands shortboard

 

  • Wave Size: Small to Medium.
  • Fins:  1-5.
  • Ability: Intermediate to advanced.

This is a short board and you can tell at the start by the picture this board is thinner and smaller than the previous styles we have looked at. The buoyancy has been decreased. Paddling and standing up will be extremely hard for beginners. This is not advised for beginners and is a bad mistake if bought as a first board. The fin set up can be anything from a single centre fin to a five fin set up. This board will contain technology that has been through months or more of design and trial so the price for a premium board can be in the lower six figure region. Channels and rails are advanced in some models and will have technology in the building of it that has never been used before. The short boards have lots of variations but wave heights can be from waist height to well over head height. These will normally be made out of fibreglass or fibreglass and epoxy.

Big wave Gun

This is a Nathan fletcher four fin gun
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This is a Nathan fletcher four fin gun

  • Wave size: 30 ft plus.
  • Fins: 3-5.
  • Advanced.

This is a board that you use when the waves are as tall as houses. The gun is a thin long board that is long so the chop and speed is easier to handle or even handle at all. If you want to surf a wave with a gun you have to have a massive skill set and the guts to match. The boards are very very costly as they have a great deal of skill put into them and are mostly from shapers or top companies such as Channel island. The skill set to use this board is basically pro. You can use this board on smaller waves but is too big so will be difficult. You normally have a 3 fin thruster set up but you can choose to have four or even five fin set ups on these boards.

Fish short board

This is a tiger fish retro fish
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This is a tiger fish retro fish

  • Wave Size: Small to Medium.
  • Fins:  2-5.
  • Ability: Intermediate to advanced.

 This is a classic retro fish surfboard which is becoming popular again in the surfing world. These are normally very buoyant, very short and wide boards that are typically two fins but can have up to four or five. The rocker on the nose of the board is normally big and also at the tail. This board can be used for intermediate riders as the buoyancy and width make it fairly easy to stand up on compared to short board, it is common now to have retail versions of this style with a few modern features and some which have a bit of added length and reduced width. These boards will cost lots from a shaper but no more than a good retail short board and can be picked up cheap second hand. These boards are designed for small waves but are easily ridden to a larger wave up to just above head height. The purpose of the fish tail shape is to catch swell on the tail and help to boost you on to the wave which is needed sometimes in most of the UK, the larger surface area is more useful as the water can push it better than a pintail as the pintail has less of a surface area to push on.

Swallow tail short board

This is a Tyler warren thin mint swallow tail
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This is a Tyler warren thin mint swallow tail

  • Wave Size: Small to Medium.
  • Fins:  2-5.
  • Ability: Intermediate to advanced.

This is a swallow tail short board and is very similar to the fish tail surfboard as the width, length and buoyancy is very similar to the retro fish and both modern versions are similar. The fins are normally two but fin numbers can range up to four or five. The swallow tail is there to catch even more swell than the fish so is great for catching even the smallest of waves which is around knee height. The board is less common than the fish and is a similar price.

Wooden layer

These are two shaped wooden layer
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These are two shaped wooden layer

  • Wave Size: Small to Medium.
  • Fins:  None.
  • Ability: advanced.

This is a wooden layer and is normally used for really advanced surfers who want to make a change and try something new as it’s very unstable and fin less. This is actually designed for surfing on your belly but is now used by some pro riders and advanced surfers. This is designed for small waves and will not cope with anything above shoulder height. These can be picked up online and from some surf shops and the occasional shapers shop.

Summer short board

This is a mini simmons
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This is a mini simmons

This is a Firewire potatonator
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This is a Firewire potatonator

  • Wave Size: Small to Medium.
  • Fins:  3-5.
  • Ability: Intermediate to advanced.

These two surfboards are on the right a fire wire potatonator and a mini Simmons, they are both designed for small summer waves and are both tiny. They are both good examples of either side of the summer wave designs. The fire wire looks like a normal short board just smaller and fatter with normally a five of four fin set up. Then we have a mini Simmons which looks like a tiny fat mini mal with four fins. These are grippy and buoyant and capable of catching ripples of waves. They are fairly expensive as they take a lot of skill to make and technology in the retail boards is high. The rider is normally advanced with these boards as the board is so small and is designed for tearing up little waves and having fun, but the skill set needs to be high for this.

Fins

There are loads of different styles of fins. I am going to give you the basic idea of what you might need. On the fin packs there will be either an XS, S, M, L, XL the basic guide is the more you weigh the bigger size fin you get, this is because the more you weigh the more it takes to turn so a bigger surface area in the water turning will help you turn better. Each company will have a different size guide.

Surfboard for the UK?

The best style for all of England, Wales, Eastern Scotland is definitely mini mal, long board or fish tail/swallow tail as we just don’t have the power in the waves. Using these styles in my opinion is the best as you can catch the waves a lot faster and easier. However Ireland, West Cornwall, North Devon and North West Scotland can use whatever board they like as the waves are coming straight from the USA and have great power as they have travelled so far and been through so many storms (especially in the winter). When the waves get big in the open spots you may need a big wave Gun to cope with the massive wave coming from the big American storms.

Leashes

With leashes they are not too expensive. For £20 you can get the same leash as what a pro is using but if you don’t have the cash to spend you can get a good leash for a couple quid. With the leashes you can choose whatever size you want as it’s all about what length you actually want. The recommended length for starters is a foot longer than your board and the more experienced 6 inches longer than your board. The big waves are a different story as the bigger the wave the bigger the leash.

Traction pads

The traction pads are used for making turning easier and able to turn when you are going fast. You can get traction pads where the size has already been selected or you can get models where the pad is in 3 parts and you have to draw on the surfboard with a pencil the size you will need then stick the pad on. To put a pad on you have to peel the underside off then place carefully where you want it. You have to be very careful when putting it on as they are incredibly sticky. Also in the shops you can ask the member of staff to get the product out of the bag and see if your bare foot feels comfortable on it because if you’re not comfortable you will not have as good of a time. There are many designs out there so decide what style you like then look for it in a design you like as if you don’t like the look then you may end up just buying another. When removing don’t be scared when it takes forever to do it as they are incredibly sticky as I have already said.

What is rocker?

Rocker is the curve in the board, for example a board with no rocker would be strait and a board with lots of rocker will be very curved and the board will go over chop much better than a board with out rocker. The board also turns better with more rocker and will have more performance.   Why not check out our surf section on our website Written By Will Ure

Young Sailor of the Year Sets New Disabled Sailing Challenge

Disabled Sailor Natasha Lambert’s 2014 Sea and Summit Challenge

Natasha Lambert from the Isle of Wight is no ordinary teenager. Few 16-year-olds can claim to have sailed the English Channel singled handed, but cerebral palsy sufferer Natasha did it using just her mouth to control the boat.

The Yachting Journalists’ Association Sailor of the Year 2013 is already planning her next big challenge. In June she’ll sail from Cowes to Swansea and then climb to the summit of Pen y Fan Mountain.

Natasha Lambert
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Natasha Lambert

Sailing is Like Escaping into My Own World

Natasha loves the freedom that sailing gives her and enjoys being able to raise money to help others.

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What Clothing Would I Need to Start Sailing

A question I get asked a lot in the shop is something along the lines of ‘My son is starting sailing lessons with the school, what does he need to wear?’ Well assuming that the lessons aren’t going to be taking place in the middle of winter, here are a few tips on what to buy….

1 A Wetsuit

What do I need to wear to start sailing?
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What do I need to wear to start sailing?

Let’s start with the wetsuit. A 3mm thick wetsuit is ideal. Unless it’s the height of summer and we are experiencing a heat wave then this should have long legs and either have short or long arms. Long arm suits are more readily available for kids and are fine to learn in, but a lot of sailors prefer to wear short arm suits as they offer freer arm movement. Having long legs on the suit also helps prevent knocks and bruises whilst moving around in the boat.

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Some Great European Kitesurfing Holiday Locations.

There are plenty of places to go on a kitesurfing holiday in Europe. Over the last 10 years Steve Stubbs has been to some of the best. Here is his run down of some of the best places to kitesurf in Spain, Portugal, Tenerife and Rhodes…

Steve Stubbs Expert Kiteboarder
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Steve Stubbs Expert Kiteboarder

Tarifa in the very south of Spain is an ideal place to Kitesurf. It delivers a very strong and very consistent wind almost guaranteeing you of kiting for around 6 months of the year.

Valdevaqueros, looking back towards Tarifa with Morocco in the background.
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Valdevaqueros, looking back towards Tarifa with Morocco in the background.

There are 2 winds that blow in Tarifa, the main wind is the Poniente which is cross shore from the right resulting in hardly any waves, just wind chop, making it an ideal location for freestyle. The Poniente is dominant wind and tends to be slightly weaker than its counterpart which is known as the Levante. The Poniente wind allows you to kite on the very long beach at Tarifa itself, It has many spots within this beach but the most popular one is called Valdevaqueros. The Levante comes from the left and is known to be very powerful and a bit gusty.

Valdevaqueros Beach Tarifa
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The beach at Valdevaqueros looking back towards Tarifa

A lot of people travel about 45 minutes west to the beach of Los Canos de Meca to kitesurf, this is on the cape of Trafalgar where the battle of Trafalgar took place in 1805.

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