January 14, 2016 Bella Collins

The RLAG Guide to Waves


A wave is just a wave right? Wrong. We’ve become quite accustomed to the waves out here and how they affect our rowing, body and mentality. Here’s our definitive guide… 

The Surfer – this is the best type of wave, it picks up the boat and propels it forward at superhuman speed. It feels like you’ve picked up a power box in that game Mario Kart and got the speed boost – does that make sense?! It’s epic and I absolutely love them. This is the only good type of wave and comes rarely.

The Let Down – the wave that looks like a surfer and you get so excited to find that it flops and takes you no where. A massive let down.

The Shin-Dig – this is Lauren’s favourite, the wave that creates a party with your oars and your shins.

The Slapper – when a wave hits the side of the boat and slaps it hard, just to remind you who is in control out here.

The Spitter – much like the slapper except it goes straight for your face. You can only say “Cheers for the that” and life goes on. 

The Lap-Dump – I’d say this is one of the worst waves, it’s another side one that picks up a bucket size load of water and plants it on your lap, meaning a wet bum and seat and therefore aiding the degradation of your once soft bottom. Will my bum ever look good again?!

The Ab Cruncher – if I don’t have a six pack by the end of this row I’d be amazed. The ab cruncher is when you have a series of side waves that rock you continuously from side to side, working your core beyond belief. It’s like the best work out ever and infuriating for rowing. However, right now my six pack is looking a way off, maybe we need more of these.

The Total Eclipse – we’ll get these when the winds are high, the swell becomes massive and you’ll see a wall of water rise above you, only to land on and engulf the boat making it feel like it’s sinking. On average they’ll shoot you down the wave at over 8 knots and leave you with a massive adrenaline rush.

The Strictly Come Dancer – sometimes the waves are just completely sporadic and leave you throwing an oar in whenever you can. This ends up looking like a form dance that I believe Len would give a 10.

The Wild One – the only other type of wave that I love, in these waves you see the silhouettes of animals. We’ve seen dolphins, a turtle, a chunky shark and today whales!!!

I write this whilst on para-anchor which I’m not going to lie – sucks. We went on it about midday yesterday as the winds grew and neither us nor our auto-helm could fight it anymore. It means that we are now lying two people up in each cabin, fighting for space and sweltering in the humidity. All our limbs are aching from sleeping in funny angles and we can’t wait to get back on the oars again. Never again will I complain about waking up after a 2 hour sleep in the middle of the night for a 3 hour row – that is bliss compared.

On another note – just a few shout outs. Thanks to everyone sending in messages, we receive them all and they are the highlight of my day to read. Special mentions to Jenny Spindler for the Daily Mail update (Zayn and GiGi – we saw that coming!) and to my colleagues at sponsor Scott Dunn for the Christmas party office gossip! Twinkie, please let me know the answer to that riddle before I go mad! Finally to a last minute sponsor Mint Capital who came on-board in La Gomera – a huge life saver and we couldn’t thank them enough.

Comments (6)

  1. Richard & Kathy Lidstone

    WOW! What a wonderful resilient bunch you are! Reading your blogs is often overwhelming. Your determination, strength, courage and pure guts are amazing. Well done, you all are an inspiration. Western Australia is cheering you on, but you’re already total winners. Richard and Kathy Lidstone

  2. The MacFarlane Family

    Great to see that you are under way again! Keep going girls, the end is in sight (well nearly…) and with any luck you will arrive while we are there to see you. We arrive on 28th Jan and leave on 2nd Feb, so hopefully see you in Antigua!!!

  3. Julie Henderson

    Hi Girls! I’m loving all the blogs and the waves sound both terrifying and amazing! I read everything that’s written about your adventure and you’re all never far from my thoughts. As the words of the poem go “Don’t Quit!”

  4. Andy Aitken

    You four wonderful girls have my undying admiration. The hardships that you are going through now don’t bear thinking about. I hope you get a good run of surfer waves. Looking forward to seeing your massive smiles when you cross the finish line.

  5. Angie Coker

    Wow Gee what a great Blog.

    Sorry I haven’t said much through your trip but we follow you all religiously and many people over here in sunny Hunny ask how you are doing and wish you well.

    I am so proud of what you are achieving! Keep going strong and I bet you can’t wait to see Mum and Dad on the quay in Antigua. Hope they don’t miss the plan there like we did 10 years ago!! They won’t they’re not as daft as me!!!

    I am so looking forward to seeing you again and I promise the Moet is on me when we meet up

    Love you lots



  6. Emma Pitcher

    Hi Ladies. Just read your RLAG guide to Waves. It’s a great piece of writing, should be framed and will be something to remember your amazing adventure by in years to come although I don’t think it’s an experience you will ever forget! We are watching your progress – only 584NM to the finish now. To have maintained your second place against so much tough competition is just incredible. Keep rowing and keep going!! It wont be long before you start smelling land. Emma, James, Freddie (and Charlie in English Harbour) xxxx

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