Thursday, May 05, 2016

A change is as good as a rest

Welcome back to my blog and to the start of a new chapter my life. With this blog my aim is to write about the trials and tribulations transforming from one adventure to another - The adventure of family life.

Photo taken with Finn at 8 weeks

It's been 3+ years since blogging, so please let me re-introduce myself.

My name is Jo Wilson now Jo Rabone. My job is a professional kitesurfer turned kite coach and my husband runs a design & landscape business. People think he is the chilled one, but not a lot of people know that he has traveled as part of a team with climber Leo Houlding to Ulvetanna & Mt Asgard to climb 2 treacherous unclimbed lines on 2 exquisitely beautiful rocks jetting out the Arctic & Antarctic ice.

Photo by Alistair Lee of Posing Productions of Chris crossing a river on route to Mt Asgard 

I bring shells back from the Pacific, the Red Sea, the Southern Ocean after my kitesurfing adventures and Chris brings rocks from the peaks of the mountains they conquer in the polar regions! We're quite the same in terms of adventure but wildly apart in terms of choice. By star sign he is water & I am fire, a perfect synergy!!

Around 6 months ago we welcomed our son Finley Jack aka Finn into the world and 6 months has flown by. What I have come to realise is how I always strive to have far too much in my hands and now I really truly have a good excuse.

Photo: Packing up the car for kitesurfing with Finns stuff too. Finn aged 9 weeks

By having Finn I do not intend for an adventurous life to end, just a new one to begin.

My career is a slightly less orthodox career; running kitesurfing holidays from South Africa to Egypt & Morocco to Brazil. I coach people who can already Kitesurf who would like to improve. I also run a youth program that travels around my home country of the UK helping talented riders to progress. Through this blog I plan to share my delights, secrets & epic fails of becoming a parent & striving to continue on this unorthodox path.

Photo First Round of the Youth Training Program complete, Finn aged 18 weeks

In my day to day life pre family I would try to work a 5 day week. Once on my trips I'd often work for 16 hours a day for 2 weeks straight. Simultaneously Chris has left the house by 7am and seldom returns before 7pm. Clearly post Finn these hours don't work out so I tend to snatch a few hours work on a Wednesday when Finn would be with his nana then I'd work after 8pm in the evenings when possible. Chris in my desperate times will 'work from home' and so I prioritise the jobs that need to be done the most in order to keep my business rolling.  He is incredibly supportive.

Photo Egyptian Energy Kitesurfing Holiday pre Finn.

My kitesurfing coaching holidays continue to run because I have someone who I've trained over the last 2 years. She has studied in sports psychology to. I consider her to be a dedicated coach I provide her with a detailed itinerary for each day on the trips plus nightly feedback for the days when trips are running. She has my complete support and she puts in the enthusiasm, energy & hours on a trip that I consider essential.  I'm very lucky to have her and it allows my coaching holidays continue to run the way I would like even though I am at home.

Photo The awesome Dakhla Dreamin' Crew with Nanette, April 2016.

Working during the day when I'm with Finn is out of the question. He's my koala and basically needs to be in my arms or within direct eye contact 90% of the time. Working at the same time would make me resent his constant need for attention & make me look forward to his naps, so it feels both luxurious, exciting & fun to pack our day with activities that we both like such as walks, runs, swimming & becoming coffee connoisseurs. Our routine involves leaving the house at some point & coming home again. I focus on him & him only.

Photo Finn in Coniston with Chris when aged 12 weeks

I have no idea how life will pan out - I kinda like that!!!

My entries on this blog will be about our adventures, successes & fails. I will talk about where we go, what we do & how I come back to full fitness & strength post pregnancy. I will never look back on things I may have lost, but on things that I gain.

Photo Early days of getting back in to exercise, Finn aged 12 weeks

Right now I am enjoying spending more time with my friends who I'd often go for months without seeing. More adventurously I've spent time exploring the Lake District which is where I live. I've been learning the geography and walking hills with just Finn for company. I've never felt comfortable with this before as I've spent all my time on the coast making hills feel daunting. One funny thing is that walking up Coniston Old Man now feels less daunting than going to the supermarket!

Photo Questing up from Glenridding towards Hellvelyn Finn aged 6 weeks (he's in my jacket)

I hope with this blog I can inspire woman who are not sure about taking the plunge with having a child because of their sporting sacrifice. I also hope to inspire woman who feel insecure about pushing their comfort zone once having a child & I hope that anyone else may just enjoy the read.

Photo by Angel Giudicelli of Jo building up confidence & strength in Dominican Republic, Finn age 23 weeks

Next post will be about exercise & our trip to Dominican Republic.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

National Watersports Festival 2012

I've just got back from the National Watersports Festival 2012 (NWF). To be fair at this stage its more of a windsurfing festival then kitesurfing, but having said that we can take a way a lot from the event and learn from it. The event was rammed! 400 entrants in total! There were people of all ages and all the windsurfing Pro's were there too, so it was a great one for the windsurfing kiddies!
In the evening they held a cool race event. the kids each could choose a pro to be in their 2 man team then they had to race out to a bouy and back in a relay format. The sailors were covered head to toe in glow sticks and spot lights lit the water. There wasn't a lot of wind but it didnt detract from it. In fact it made it better. Instead the spectators - of which there were 100's sat on the beach with the beers and stayed warm from the good weather (bad weather for riders). The kids raced out at snail pace, but it was only a short distance so it didnt matter, some of them swam their kit out and back while the others crawled a long pumping furiously. When they got back to the beach the pro who they picked then did the same. Both the kid and the pro then had to race up the beach through a finish line to become the winner. It was really good fun to see!
After this the pro's took to the water being towed along by ribs on their windsurfers. They would take a wide circle and build up speed! A lot of speed! It was intense. The boat would finish the circle close to the beach at which point the windsurfer would let go then with the momentum created from the boat then do a move to wow the crowd! It was phenomenal.
Through out the day their were stands and marquees and food places, live stream tv and commentary throughout. Jem Hall, Peter Hart and Guy Cribb ran windsurfing clinics on the beach for the masses to take some quick tips back home to practice. From the kitesurfing point of view most of the industry was there from Naish to North to Airush and more. Big names there were Chris Burke, Mark Shinn and a few others.
We scored a little bit of wind on the sunday afternoon, but mostly the weather was super hot and sunny! Great for stand up paddle boarders. This is the shot of the weekend for me.
Next up a trip to my original home beach - Bigbury! Plllleeeaseeee let there be wind!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Windy in Wales

Last week was an exciting week with a great forecast. My new kites for 2013 had arrived and I was waiting for my 2013 Custom global surfboard which I had been expecting for a few days already. The forecast was for 35mph and big swell and it was going to be my first chance to get out on my new small kites. The difficult thing was the wind direction was a bit wierd, so no where was working completely 100% for a few days so I was in the land of indecisiveness which never bodes well with me. The evenings before the wind was due to kick I ummed and rrrrr'd making a decision then changing my mind. Based in the Lake district I new we would have no waves so I had been looking up towards Tiree, then down to North Wales, South Wales, Cornwall and Devon. I was strongly tempted with Devon as it used to be my homespot, but it seemed a long way to go just for 2 days, but settled with that.
(My homespot in Devon) The next day I changed my mind and set my mind on Rhosneigr in North Wales which is when Ian Edmundson from Expix got it touch. I've been in touch with him a few times lately so he knew I was brewing up an escape, but he was ready for the decision and I wasn't. At that same moment my phone went and had a text from a person who I have just recently met. "The forecast for the week is good. 12 foot swell weds/thurs rhosneigr but just below barmouth is a left hand point that peels forever. it only comes alive a couple of times a year and weds/thurs looks like one of them so we are heading down howling winds cross cross off. P" Well that is all I needed to make a decision! I'm in! Ian's in! Dave Ibby's in and my new pal Paul must be in else he wouldnt have texted! Sweet! We ended up meeting up by chance about half an hour from barmouth and formed a convoy the rest of the way - Paul, Mark and Martin in their high top transit, Ibby in his bling lwb T5 and me in my very short indeed renault clio - good things come in small packages.
(packing up the clio the night before) On arrival it was howling! 5m weather for sure the problem is the waves hadnt yet kicked it! It was 5m weather freestyle! It had pain or boredom written all over it depending on psych levels! We crusied the coast to find somewhere a little more exciting for swell and finally settled on Aberdovey. By this time it was late afternoon so we sessioned until late in the evening. It was 5m weather, but I had a shiny new limited addition 6m to bring out the bag so I ignored that I had a bigger size then some of the guys and unleashed some growing kitesurfing excitment. We had a great session in cross shore wind with some small and regular messy swell about, but it was a great introduction to the waveboard as I havent ridden it since December.
(Sliding back in to the way of it) That evening I shared out my flapjacks and the boys shared out their beers before pitching camp ready for the swell to kick in and a 6am start. 6am the following morning we peaked our weary heads out of the doors / tents to see a grand solid 1 foot weebling its way in! Dire! The forecast so good, so much indecision, so much thought! We weren't going to splash around in that. Meanwhile in Rhosneigr it was sure to have some swell so in a dosey 30 minute turnaround time we upsticks and drove the 2 hour winding wales roads.
(Rhosneigr View) 8.30am we pitched up to Rhossy! Only in Rhossy can it look so much like lunch time. There were vans, cars, kit everywhere. Everyone had been waiting and the swell was pumping! Windsurfers and kitesurfers alike were already on the water. 5 minutes later we were on the water too! I was happy to see it was shiny new, once used limited edition 6m weather!
(A stolen pic of from the day) The swell rolled in over head high all morning. The sun shone bright and there were many faces from my past which was nice to see! Rhosneigr was on form. I was super rusty on the waveboard, but was pleased to find myself making most of my gybes and snaking my way on some big and small waves. As the day progressed my riding did too and I began to feel my flow!
(Taking another wave) I took some good waves and a mega wipeout. My kite went down and I tumbled through. My head bent the wrong way twice and I heard it click, but I came out all in one piece and thought ocrrectly that I would probably pay that consequence the next day! I have no idea how, but my kite also survived! One wave broke over it and I resurface to see it still looking healthy, but with one more wave on the way, but like an obedient child it responded to my requests to relaunch and we were back on our feet again. The session was epic, but short lived. By lunchtime the tide had pulled back and the waves had died down. The clouds drew in and finally the heavens began to crack turning the air into wet mist! The waves slowly vanished and left us with barely a ripple, but a good session for freestyle! The wind had dropped a little so I rigged a slightly bigger kite and set about some unhooked grabs and tricks. I landed a handful of bigger tricks to and finally came off the water tired and achey around 4pm! That seems like a good day in the office!
(Enjoying the new Naish Park) I stayed over that night to wake and find another small wave, and took the waveboard again but once more it frizzled away with the tide leaving a freestyle session to be had! Aching already from top to toe I managed a few hours before heading back to the Lake District for a warm shower and a soft bed! It was a great couple of days made good largely by the waves that first morning and it was fab to have the old crew of Dave Ibby, Ian Edmundson and myself back together! Watch this space for a mag article! Im going to see if I can twist kitesurf arm to print the better images from the day! Thanks to Ian at for taking the photos. Heading to Portland this weekend in Dorset! Im running a short burst session weekend for people looking for some quick hint and tips in freestyle if you are looking for some quick hints and tips in wave riding then check out the website for some of Dom's courses.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Back in the UK

I've spent a month away from the UK and avoided the much talked about British weather. From all accounts its been worse then ever and even my mum was out in her wellies at 4am a few mornings ago to heard the soft and fuzzy Al pacas to high ground before they became super saturated giant water bombs. I returned to 4 days of sunshine and didnt understand what the fuss was about. This weekend was my first weekend back in the country so I ventured down the road to Llandegla to meet Johara Sykes Davies for a bit of mountain biking activities in the absence of wind.
(A quick Go Pro Shot) We spent a few happy hours charging round the forest hitting the only signs of the bad weather which was the mud and puddles at full speed! We however were in vest tops and shorts and well happy to have a catch up and burn some pent up energy. After our reward of tea and cakes at the cafe we hit the high road checked her horse was still alive and then went to the pub for some drinks. Being carnival season the pub was in full swing and we knocked back a few ciders and it was good to catch up. For the following day I had packed light. Johara has been on a kitesurfing break and I wasn't about to encourage her back on the water unless she was ready, so I had chucked in a 10m kite, my board, harness and wetsuit in the quiet hope that she might be ready for it. Sure enough when we awake the following morning the white caps twinkled in the llandudno sunshine. It looked like 10m weather to me!
(The view down to west shore after our session) We arrived to west shore in perfect timing. The tide was mid way which is a bit choppy, but by the time we rigged up, launched and hit the water the choppiness was over and Johara and I found ourselves in our very own lagoon with perfect power for my 10m Naish Torch and 133 Money Shot. Johara was finding her chi and you couldnt tell she had been off the water for 6 months or so. She was chucking in some unhooked kite loops, moves to blind and her styley hooked in rotations too. I meanwhile was feeling a bit chilly from being in Egypt so long, plus everything seemed much heavier - myself and the wind so I was a bit slow in to my tricks equalling a few big hits. Being such a cool spot to kite I sat on the sand bank with my kite on its wingtip and watched Johara having an amazing session. After 10 mins or so my psych was back and we took it in turns to hang out on the sand bank and shout works of encouragement to bust our moves bigger and better.
(The view from the van before rigging up) After a few hours on the water it was time to pack up and head home. Ive been away from my new husband for 5 weeks now and he was getting home from a stag do that night, so after a sweet weekend of biking and kiting I hit the road in the direction of home ready to remember what my husband looks like once again! Next session looks sweet for Wednesday! I will be sure to hit the water then and now Im ready for the great british temperatures once again! Xatch you soon and happy riding. Jo x

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Another month in Egypt!

I can't bring myself to closing the curtains at night - its just not within my capacity of being. Shutting out sunshine seems like sacrilidge, but Im my own worst enemy as once again Im awake at 6am and the bus to the beach doesnt arrive until 8.15am. What would I be like on the poles?
Ive been out here in Egypt for exactly a month now, staying at the Breakers Hotel in Soma Bay. Its become my second home as its my 3rd long trip out here and I feel like the people who work here are starting to become my friends! My arabic has extended passed thank you, but Im far away from stringing complete sentences together. Im determined to learn some in time for next year.
While out here Ive been running some coaching holidays which you can find out more about on, but Ive also had some time to kite for myself too. I ran 3 x week long holidays back to back where people came who wanted to improve their level. I had a lot of clients who have been on my holidays before, but some new faces too. We had incredible wind and so the coaching holidays went well.
Its been an exciting year so far for me so far culminating in getting married at the end of May and during that build up there was a lot of work to do. Thank goodness for my mother in law who kept me on the straight and narrow while putting the wedding together. Chris and I were married in a church, but then moved to a cowshed for the wedding reception. My husband and I plus two very good friends had spent a week transforming it from this cowshed where the cows had been for the entire winter into a beautiful wedding venue. It was phenomenal.
Anyhow during the build up there hadn't been a lot of time left for kitesurfing and I arrived in Egypt a smaller version of myself making a lot of the tricks that I can normally do that much harder. As a professional kitesurfer a lot of tricks comes very naturally and perhaps we lose sight of just how much core strength is required, so it took a while to get my tricks back up to standard, but 1 month later Im feeling strong again. Let me remind you - if your heading out on a kitesurfing holiday soon make sure you get on the floor each night and do something for your stomach muscles to get you ready for your trip.
While out here I have been working with They have been taking photos and sequences of me which you can look out for in the magazine. ive been using my Naish Torches and have had a hard time pulling myself of the 10m - my favourite by far, but yesterday the 8m came in close too.
Ive been using the Parks for people who are working on hooked in tricks and for those who are just getting in to the sport which has been wicked. Its definitely a cool kite to do everything and I feel really safe when my clients are on it knowing it responds well, is stable and easy to relaunch. Egypt is a great place for the bindings to. I ride in bindings from time to time just to feel completely locked in and as though I can hold as much power as possible. Wipeouts put me off trying the more difficult tricks, but for powered stuff that I can do consistently I love it. The water is flat making it easy to swap between straps for harder tricks and bindings for powered sessions.
For me its time to head back to the UK. From what I can tell Ive avoided a tonne of rain so far, I just hope that I can pack some of this sunshine and bring it back with me. Im already a fair few kg's over weight some Im gonna have to pull out some charm to get away with that either that or have to pay a big charge. lets see how we get on. My next session will be at either Morecombe Bay or Barrow! Bring it on.