Monday, June 13, 2011

WINTER TRAVELS: The destination is the journey...

How time does fly… especially when you’re flying around the world with a hot pink fish and living out of a bag.

We love lists so here’s my (Natty) top five events that occurred in the last 7 months:

Car breaking down in Portugal

Mother and Father weren’t keen on me hijacking their car and driving South of France till I hit the ocean. I made it, hooked up with friends, surfed lots, protested on Japan Dolphin Day and then it broke down. I was stuck in a campsite in Peniche, and it was flat. Then I had to get a bus down to the Algarve for my Animal Healing and Communication Course – and then a bus back. Then the car broke down again in the Pyrenees mountains on the way home, it was fixed by a man in a garage called Jesus. He was, indeed.

Yoginis in bikinis

I knew ditching the waves for my yoga mat would be tough. But thank the Buddha I found the only longboard in Goa so during my 6 weeks of non surfing confinement in yoga training camp I managed a couple of little sessions to keep me sane. Thank you Ray Winstone lookalike Lee! And thank you to all the yoginis in bikinis, Bhakti the dog, Christmas day curries, flesh eating mosquitoes, Dr. John, cake at yummy place, the resident dolphins and Laguna Vista for such a memorable experience.

Whales in Sri Lanka

It was pretty lucky I ended up in Sri Lanka in the first place, and to top off my time there with a whale watching trip with Philip Hoare (author of The Leviathan) spotting hundreds of dolphins followed by 6 blue whales was a dream come true. To then meet my surrogate sista Shone for a crazy night out and bump into the dashing Quincy Jones all before jumping onto a plane at 6am… well, things couldn’t really get any better and that last day left me on a high, which thankfully helped me get through Belgium and back home to the South of France in the deep, dark depths of winter.

Massive full moon in Morocco

Who knows why they have me back, but luckily they do…My latest stint at Surf Maroc felt like going home. The family included new additions and kindred souls. The largest full moon for 19 years meant a big party was in store. We partied, we ping ponged, we didn’t manage to make it night surfing. A couple of days later Gamy the kitten came into my life and the world of the Surf Maroc staff house was changed forever.

Climbing the volcano in Bali

Sic lefts, barrels, slabs, yes,yes, the waves in Bali are awesome but the highlight for me this time was actually climbing Mount Batur during a meteor shower and watching the sun come up. Truly amazing.

Right then, enough reminiscing - it’s about time we started getting fancy dressed up and selling off men for charity. We’re back in the Yuke, getting our act together, or trying to at least.

Stay tuned

Nat xxx


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

In the summer we went to Hossegor...

and ended up in dicks sands bar

Obviously the chicks with sticks in dicks was brought up... with Dick himself and the possiblity of a fundraiser there in future!

So watch this space!

Dicks Sand Bar

Sunday, September 26, 2010

a small act

I went to see a screening of A Small Act the other day .. its an inspiring tale that makes you think about the importance of education and the difference you can make however big or small a contribution you can make.. if the trailer inspires you then you can find out more about the Hilde Back Education Fund here:

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Biarritz to Lacanu à velo et surf!

Cycling through the forest… camping under the stars…. Surfing the shorebreaks of South West France….

Big Friday’s Cycle Surfari had all the elements of a great adventure. A solid team of people up for anything; which was lucky as covering 300km on a bike whilst catching a daily surf in pumping conditions in one action-packed week would need a lot of energy!

And of course there’s the point where the adventure gets interesting – when things go wrong!

But injuries, punctures and wrong turnings aside we had a brilliant time and the weather, waves and environment proved just how special the French coastline is; reinforcing our love for the area, the outdoors and the ocean.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Secret Sea Shepherd mission... chicks with sticks, surfers 4 cetaceans and an eco adventure to save the pilots of the faroes

I am writing this aboard an unmarked Sea Shepherd vessel, patrolling around the Faroe Islands. Our mission began as a secret operation but since then the locals, customs, police and navy have all been involved so Captain Paul Watson has ousted us from covert to overt and we are now flying the “jolly roger” flag proud. Whether we have been in the news back in the UK, is unbeknownst to me!

I joined the Sea Shepherd campaign in the Shetlands, with Howie Cooke of non profit org. Surfers 4 Cetaceans. A lone surfer representing Chicks with Sticks; together we are a mismatched duo standing up for Surfers 4 Cetaceans everywhere. I received the invitation in my electronic mailbox –

“Was I up for a secret mission to save cetaceans in the North Sea?”

“Hell yeah!” Was my response. A month later I was travelling to the most Northern islands of Scotland to meet up with the Golfo Azzurro who had already had a week sailing around the Faroes on her way from Holland.

The Faroes are a group of remote islands in the North Sea, owned by Denmark; a self governing nation who have a sadistic secret pastime. Each year they kill hundreds of beautiful pilot whales in a twisted, testosterone fuelled “rite of passage”. The kills are called “Grinds”, and are spontaneous massacres of whales who come into shallower waters to give birth to their calves. Once a pod of whales are spotted out to sea, they are herded by fishing boats and unnerving sound devices into fjords so they are beached on the beaches of the fishing villages. Traditionally the men prove their masculinity by using hooks through the blowholes of the defenceless whales and cutting off their heads. The corpses are then collected and discarded back into the ocean.

We have found dead bodies, bones and whale graveyards; but there has been no sighting of any live pilots whales. There are meant to be approximately 800,000 pilot whales in these waters. We are worried they have killed them all. Although without whales, no Grind can take place, so for that at least we are thankful. We patrol the inlets and pray that if whales are seen we can get there first, herding them back out to sea and making sure we intervene before it’s too late.

We have been all over the Faroese news; every fishing port we pull into posts our coordinates on a website, and car headlights and twitching curtains keep track of our every move. We have been boarded by police, searched by customs and followed by the navy… we are definitely not welcome here!

I’m not sure I like this place, the landscape is dramatic, beautiful waterfalls cascade into the sea from volcanic, jade cliffs; caverns, and caves protrude in and out of jagged rock faces. It is majestic, yet cold, hard, prehistoric; a forgotten land devoid of soul.

I’m pretty sure I will arrive on shore unrecognisable. I’m eating the best vegan food, thanks to Laura the amazing cook and with no action and no whales, eating is the most popular past time aboard.

There a dozens of beautiful seabirds following our journey in the hope of some fish being up for grabs. But the absence of sea mammals is chilling, for centuries these islands and their inhabitants have raped the ocean of abundant life, whilst claiming their practices are sustainable. Are we too late to save the pilot whale?

Friday, August 6, 2010


Chicks with Sticks Surf Off was held on Saturday 31st July! It was a celebration with fancy dress and girlie treats; and we spent the day raising awareness and money for charity; with the funds going to Surfers Against Sewage this year.

Due to unforeseen circumstances it went from a Surf Off to a Man Off, but as the weather and waves were drizzle and dribble, it meant total energy went into raising some serious cash at the Chicks with Sticks Evening Event.

In the morning Nat and the Oakley Surf Sistas were joined by charities PANTS and Animal Aid, who are currently raising money towards Sea Shepherd.

Nat said “It was an honour to offer a free taster to people who work incredibly hard for charities, and who live in Cornwall, but have never had the chance or opportunity to experience the beach, let alone a surf lesson. I think they thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and they certainly deserved it”

The beach bar was home to the evening event; and we’ll let the pictures speak for themselves! We had killer DJs from Wales, who turned the tiny dancefloor into a mass of writhing bodies!

As always, something went wrong – the microphone had gone missing – but luckily music guru October was quick to offer a slightly renegade solution. That’ll be headphones. As a microphone. And they worked like a dream!

Once the “Man Pen” was in place Nat did her thang in a daring, swimsuit-leggings combo, assisted by “keeper” Swanson, “herder” Shone and “transporter” Nikki. Czuczy was on hand with her photog. skills to capture all the man action!

Congratulations to Virginia Taylor; winner of the coveted Surf Maroc Roxy holiday! And the winner of the Paulo Award for Outstanding Effort was Lisa Jones, who’ll be joining Surf Sistas with Oakley in Hossegor this September for a boutique surf and pilates holiday.

The Paulo Award was created in honour of our friend Paul Brewer; a shining star who always put 100% into everything he did! We will always remember his winning smile.

Now for the thanks you’s.

Firstly the CWS team who are now “Team Man”; we couldn’t have done it without you girls (and guys!)

The Fistral beach bar; Paulie and co. for keeping the drink flowing and being genuinely supportive of the man auction concept.

The DJ’s; Colin Francies, you are a legend! A massive "diolch yn fawr" to team "bag" for coming all the way to Kernow and blowing our minds with your vibe.

Of course we are eternally grateful for all the men who put their dignity and pride on the line and offered themselves to a mob of frenzied females in the name of charity. Especially the Sportsvision boys who were unfortunately bought by men. You did us proud and we salute you!

A huge thank you to all the prize donators;

Surf Sistas with Oakley for a boutique surf & pilates holiday to Hossegor and coaching weekend in Newquay; Surf Maroc for a Roxy Girls week; Lusty Glaze for a Surf Fitness weekend; Sportsvision for 4 VIP Relentless Boardmasters passes; Ripcurl’s ESF Surf School; Quiksilver Surf School; The Harbour Hotel & Restaurant; Lusty Glaze Restaurant;; Surf Girl Magazine; Fire Fly Tonics; Yoshimi Spa; Celissimo hair and beauty; Sands Resort spa; The Central; Café Irie; The Lanherne; The beach bar; PANTS charity shop; Sunset Surf and Oakley for raffle goodies and finally Pot Tea Training Café (also for the amazing Paulo award made there!)

Thanks and well done to SAS for doing what they do so we can surf cleaner, greener waves.

Finally thank you so much all who came along to the event and supported us. We will be back next year – again, bigger, brighter and with more prizes!

Get your groovy selves to the internet art auction page on to score some amazing surf art, where all proceeds are going towards Surfers 4 Cetaceans and Ticket to Ride’s Foundation Project in Cape Town.