Tehillah McGuinness – A force to be reckoned with!

We are very happy to bring you an interview from the extremely talented and motivated Tehillah McGuinness. Originally from South Africa, Tehillah has become a role model for many a surfer, both her athletic prowess and her business acumen are something to be admired. We are pumped to be hearing from her and will be keeping an eye on her throughout the coming years competitions!

Give a brief rundown on how you got into surfing?

I always loved the ocean and we pretty  much grew up on the beach as kids. My mom enrolled us at our local lifesaving club when we were about 11 and I would always see my friends hanging out at the club house on weekends, surfing and having a good time. Everyone was so welcoming and it made me want to be a part of this ‘surfing family’. I remember telling my mom how much I wanted to surf and (as with everything I have wanted to do through my life), she surprised me with a surf board for my 13th birthday. I used it a few times, but I was still very much committed to running at the time. We moved to house right on the  beach when I was 16 and that is when I really fell in love with the sport and the freedom I felt from it.

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At what point did you realise that surfing was going to be more than just a hobby for you?

Literally, from the very first wave I ever caught something in me changed and I knew this was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.  I didn’t know what exactly and didn’t know how it was going to happen, but I just knew. It wasnt until I was in my early twenties and was working and studying in the health and fitness industry, along with signing with some of my very first sponsors that my vision became a bit clearer and I started to put my plans into motion, along with the incredible help from my family. Once I started experiencing how surfing was truly shaping my life and career I knew I wanted to share this with others.

Do you think your background in competitive running affects the way you train now/approach competitions?

It definitely has an effect, up until a certain point. I am a pretty competitive person by nature, which definitely stems back to my career in running from an early age. Don’t get me wrong I have had some serious battles with my snooze alarm, but on the whole I am passionate about what I do and that definitely helps me to focus and keeps me driven. When it comes to the actual competitive arena in surfing, I find this completely opposite to competing in running events. I know there is only a certain amount which I can control in any competitive situation but with surfing there are a lot external factors which have taken me a while to get used to again.

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How do you deal with losing a competition?

I have a little cry and call my mom if she is not with me…haha 🙂 I know it sounds silly and I know I am not competing on the world tour where there is so much at stake, but I think I am so passionate about what I do and I juggle so much to be able to work, travel to contests and still have enough time to train and surf, that when I don’t achieve the result I would have liked to it is very disappointing. I know contests don’t define who I am, I do them because I enjoy them and they help me to keep improving my surfing.  As my mom always reminds me – I have so much to be grateful for in my life and so many opportunities which have come from surfing, so I focus on the good and keep moving forward. I am trying to find the perfect balance between having fun with contests and enjoy the travelling/adventure part, rather than focus on the pressure…I will let you know when I find it 🙂

You get the opportunity to train a lot of celebrities in your work? Have you ever been star stuck? And have you had to deal with any divas?

haha…good question! Hmmm…In all honestly I can proudly say I have never had to work with any divas (yet) 🙂 I think an important factor is that all the celebrities I have worked with have come to me for help specifically, so they have been much more inclined to work with me, rather than feeling like they are forced to. I treat every client the same, whether a celebrity or not and although it feels a bit surreal at times I know that the celebrities I have trained, mostly just want to be treated like a ‘normal person’…no special treatment. This will probably sound strange but I have never really been star struck. I would say I have had more ‘Am I really sitting having a post training coffee with someone a just watched at the cinema a few months ago/ heard on the radio’ type moment. Its a little crazy but awesome 🙂

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Which of your celebrity clients are the best at surfing?

Stay tuned… 😉

How do you motivate yourself on days that you feel tired or just not into it?

I have to have a strong word with myself…followed by a strong cup of coffee:) In the last few months I have felt completely swamped and I guess the strange beauty of the media and social media is that people only get to see a tiny fraction of your day. Not how you are truly feeling emotionally, your worries, your lack of motivation or any of the other barriers we all face on a daily basis. On the same side people don’t always see the ‘wow…I feel so blessed’ moments or witness the little miracles that happen on a daily basis. I thank God for my blessings and the life I live everyday, especially with all the crazy things happening in the world every second of the day. My mom helps me to put everything in my life into perspective and one day it all clicked. I asked myself, ‘who am I doing this all for?’. Its not for my own ego or self praise…its for my mom and my family. As a testament to all their sacrifices and support every single day of my life. To all the brands and people who support me and make so many things possible. To all the lives I want to help and change through what I am doing. This is what pushes me, what drives me and makes me go that extra mile when I just want to sleep for another hour or take a day off. I think when you realise who or what you are chasing your dreams for and the reason why you do it, you find something within you that drives you like never before. You find your ‘WHY’. Don’t get me wrong, I am not super human – I wake up some mornings and my body aches, I am tired and I have very little motivation. I think it is a privilege to be able to feel those aches and emotions…to be able to have the opportunity to chase your dreams when so many wake up to war or poverty. That is what motivates me.

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You’re an ambassador for Women’s Sports, how important is it getting young girls into sports?

I truly believe it can have life changing effects. Even if its not surfing, I believe any sport you love will have a positive effect on your mental and physical well being. I know people are sick of speaking about body image but it is a HUGE issue, which is not made easier by the media. I believe taking part in sport will help to take the pressure off ‘working out to look a certain way’ and actually help you to focus more on the skill and enjoy the benefits of having a ‘healthy body’ and mind. Sport builds confidence, builds friendships and helps you to stay active which has a positive knock on effect in all areas of your life. As a spokeswomen for Women’s Sports I want to encourage women to be confident and happy in their own skin. To be brave, bold and beautiful!

If you could change one thing about the way the world of competitive surfing works…what would it be?

Wow…tough question. I may have to get back to you on this on! 🙂

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Business wise, we are all working on so much as a family (my mother and siblings) and to have everything come together in the way we pray and dream about is definitely top priority. With my family, spreading the love of surfing, growing our businesses, having achieved my own personal sporting goals and making a difference in the lives of others will make me a very happy Tee:)

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Dream surfing location?

Put my family and I on a boat somewhere tropical with great waves and we can be best friends 🙂

Scariest surfing moment?

I broke my hand a few years ago and that was a pretty scary moment for me. Just looking back now and what could have happened, as the spot I was surfing was very shallow and when I surfaced (after going over the falls) I was standing in ankle deep water. I definitely had my guardian angels working over time that day. Sorry guys :/

Favourite and least favourite thing about surfing/ocean?

Favourite – Having a break from technology, doing something I love, being in nature with family and friends and just creating the best memories.

Least Favourite – Reefs, sharks, crowds and ‘flying’ surfboards 🙂

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We loved hearing from Tehillah and as we say, we will be keeping a close eye on how she gets on and with her comps this year and will keep you all up to date!

Surfing Taghazout – By Sam Warren

We first came across Sam Warren on Instagram when his amazing surf photography caught our eye. You will often see his work gracing the pages of our Instagram and our blog. Late last year Sam headed to Morocco for a surf trip and has been kind enough to let us know his top tips for the famous surfing destination of Taghazout. Hope you enjoy!
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We headed over to Taghazout in December 2016 and would highly recommend it! We stayed with Surf Berbere, a surf house/hostel in Taghazout who were incredible! They catered to everyone’s needs, all dietary requirements covered, incredible staff and instructors, super duper friendly!
Whilst there the hostel also arranged for us to go on a series of different trips as well as surfing. I’d totally recommend checking out the Souk (market) in Agadir, it’s quite an experience and you can pick up some great souvenirs! It is also apparently one of the more relaxed Souks in Morocco, so you can wander round at ease!
We also headed over to Paradise Valley. It is about a 45minute drive from the hostel and is a series of rock pools hidden in the desert. It’s beautiful and there’s some sweet cliff jumping spots!
It was however the surfing that we had made this trip for so the spots that I’d recommend are:
Banana Point – The break is by the next town over from Taghazout (Banana Village). It’s a lovely right hand point break which works both on small and large surf depending on tides. It can get busy when the swell is good, but I’ve had a great time there when the tide is high and swell is smaller which resulted in us having the break to ourselves.
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Devils Rock – can be dumpy as the swell picks up but can also produces some nice left and rights. I’ve typically surfed here when the swell was 2-3ft so not crazy sizes, but still fun on a foamy! Gets a bit shit at high tide from my experience so probs best for a low to mid tide surf. There’s loads of beach salesmen here too, so if you fancy a donut (I don’t recommend the chocolate ones) or camel ride, I’m sure you’d be able to haggle a good price! (Will also have these guys at K17)
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K17 – a sorta point break between Devils Rock and Taghazout. Righthanders peel off a mini reef in the middle of the beach marked out by a ‘Magic Buoy’. You can see the reef at low tide, so it’s easy to avoid surfing on it, but at high it’s submerged so it’s best to keep the left of the buoy when you face the horizon (to the right if you’re facing the shore). What we found was just sitting right next to the buoy was the perfect take off point for most days, there’s a slight cross-current which drags you away from the reef which you’ll have to paddle against to maintain position but I’ve caught a few good long rides at this break when it doesn’t close out. Similar to Devils rock, can get dumpy when the wind and swell is strong enough.
Hash Point – situated right opposite Surf Berbere (check my insta for a photo of the lines coming through), this break is probably the most beautiful place I’ve surfed/watched surfing. Surfing here at sunset is incredible for visuals, and the waves are generally very nice! Can be a battle getting out back with the strong currents, but if you’re feeling brave you can jump in off the rocky point, although you might get smashed if you time it wrong! Popular spot for locals, but it’s totally worth getting in there just to give it a go. From what I’ve seen, it’s best at mid to high tide, but it still has surf at low. I tended to see surf of around 4-6ft here but can get bigger on the sets! Just be careful not to surf too close to the point or you’ll get smashed into the rocks!
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Sewers – Just next door to Hash Point, very similar case to Hash Point all round from what I saw.
Anchor Point + Big Swell = Heaven (either you die and go to heaven, or you think you have as you’ve just caught the best wave of your life!) Never surfed here, I value my life too much!!
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Imsouane – 1 hour north of Taghazout (totally worth the drive!) – famously the longest righthander in Africa, this is a beautiful place to surf, a very interesting wave which wraps around the headland and sea defence to scoop around the bay. I went when it was fairly small, but it was perfect for beginners. Been told on larger days it’s an incredible ride! Not sure about tides here unfortunately.
Imsouane (Cathedral Point) – point break off a headland which is very popular! The entire beach has breaks so doesn’t have to be crowded but by the headland it’s very busy. When I went it was low tide and it was nice, 4-6ft, sometimes bigger!
The dunes just south of Imsouane are another great place to to visit, amazing scenery and a little bit of sandboarding! Take the fins off a foamy and take the short hike up the dunes to witness beautiful landscape as far as the eye can see! There’s multiple slopes you can ride down, but we found the higher up you went, the better/steeper the slopes became! Probably best to ask a local or a surf camp about this as it’s pretty remote location and easy to miss the entrance of the dirt road which leads to the dunes!
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We had an absolute blast during our time in Taghazout, eating well, surfing well and even seeing a few sights! Who can ask for more!
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You can follow Sam on Insatgram here.

SurfEars: Worth the Hype?

We are in the lucky position to be sent some of the best new products in the surf market and are also lucky to have a great team of bloggers, photographers and sportsmen as part of our community. So when we were sent a couple of pairs of SurfEars we decided to get some members of our team to take them for a spin and to let us know what they thought!

These crafty inventions came into being after one of the inventors got a serious ear infection on a trip to Morocco. They were tired of poorly performing ear plugs so they spent a long while testing and developing what they believe to be the best ear plugs on the market.

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The two reviews come from our very own Mr Brown – he is our man in the know when it comes to surfing. He has surfed most of his life on the sunny coasts of Australia and knows a few things when it comes to getting in the water! Our second review comes for Nick Corkill – the Bristolian who is proving to be a rising star in the world of surf photography.

Review 1: By Mr Brown

I don’t suffer from surfers ear, but I really struggle with too much water getting in both my ears when I duck dive. I usually spend a minute trying to jolt the water out of my ears every time I paddle back out after catching a wave.

I have a pair of water ear plugs from the pharmacy, but they don’t have a secure way of staying with me when I’m surfing. They are fine for the swimming pool, but I’ve never chanced them in the ocean. So I was very excited to have an opportunity to test a product that at first impressions seemed to address this issue.

Test Day 1, 18th October 2016
Location: Yanchep, Western Australia.
2 – 3ft

It was a particularly classic sunny Perth day, but with a moderate SW swell the conditions called for short drive up the coast to this not so secret spot that loves a bit of SW swell. It was a great spot to test out Surf Ears for the first time as there is generally a lot of duck diving due to the consistency of the waves and the skate park nature of the line up – lots of take off zones.

The test didn’t start well, as I had carelessly tossed the SurfEars casing in to a very messy boot when packing the car up – so I struggled to find them once I was suited up. Maybe a brighter casing would avoid such issues? Or I could not completely disregard the convenient carabiner which is attached to the case. I now know better!

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Removing the SurfEars from the casing is a breeze, no tangles etc.
Placing the SurfEar plugs in my ears was even easier and I really like the extra orange element which hooks under the hard cartilage in the middle of my ear. Its a nice security check that you’ve placed them correctly.

Paddling out, I duck dived a few wide set waves which proved two things instantly.
No water was coming into my ears.
The SurfEars were securely placed in my ears.
We surfed for 2 hours and I didn’t have any issues with water leakage or the plugs coming out.

As the wind picked up and turned side shore I did have some struggles hearing people talking to me from a distance of more than 5metres, but so much better than my soon to be extinct swimming plugs. I didn’t expect to hear the same as I do without the plugs, but it was still a huge improvement.

SurfEars will be a ubiquitous piece of surf hardware for me moving forward, in the ocean and in the pool.

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Review 2: By Nick Corkill

I’d never used any before so didn’t quite no what to expect! I decided to use them over the course of 2 days during a trip to Wales.

Day 1 – The surf was pretty heavy and obviously being the photographer I was in the ‘kill zone’ all day. I was sure that the earplugs wouldn’t last the day after the bashing that I had taken but even though we left with slightly bruised and sore bodies, I left the water with two ear plugs!

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Day 2 – The surf had died down a little and so was able to check out the affect the plugs were having on my surf a little more. The sound quality was pretty good, a little muffled but then again, you’ve got ear plugs in right! More importantly the fact they were stopping water getting in my ears was pretty damn good. They also folded really nicely into my ear and were comfortable to wear.

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Overall – 5 stars all the way! I will definitely wear them again!

Well it seems that SurfEars were a great success, with both of our reviewers saying that they would use them again! If you fancy picking up a set you can find them here.

Also if you get a chance to try them out, make sure and let us know how you get on!

Thanks for reading!

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