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She Wakes Mini Festival 2021, New Forest, UK


Waking up the morning after a She Flies Mini Festival is always a funny feeling. Utter exhaustion, with a heavy dollop of happy and a big chunk of pride. Of course, after a She Wakes, you can add in some achy arms to the mix too.

2021 was our second She Wakes and thanks to the support from DUP Wake UK and the supportive team of Ben and Millie at New Forest Water Park, it was bigger and better than the first. With a dock full of stands selling goods, professional speakers, yoga instructors, music and workshops like SOMA breath work, it had that festival feel from the moment it started.

Whilst the festival vibe is awesome for you arriving, the best part for me is actually you arriving. Not least because it was a constant feed of smiles, happy, excited bodies stepping up to check in, Hen Do's, women with broken ankles just coming for the vibe and as always, those who have rocked up alone - but more that so many of you were already wearing a She Flies item of clothing. You were already in.

When you wear a She Flies Tee, you are telling another person that you're open, you're ready to meet them. You're asking them to come up to you and say hello. Seeing many women arrive in that t-shirt, with that mindset, as I walked round the speakers tent for the first talk with backs of bodies reading 'She Flies' - I had a little moment to myself.

"Showing off is a superpower"

In the opening talk, I challenged you all to remember the last time you showed off. Some raised their hands to have shown off as a little girl, some in the last few years, few said in the last years and a couple in the last few months.

As young guns, we're often told to 'stop showing off'. We are calling for attention and in society it's deemed negative. But Showing Off is one of the She Flies core values. Showing Off brings confidence. Showing Off is a super power.

One of the last hands up was a women I didn't recognise, she had pink hair and as she realised she was one of the last hands up, she looked around and I saw a glint of wonder from her if she'd exposed herself. She hadn't.

As they day went on, we had our beautiful energetic host Laura introducing the day and next up was a brilliant mindfulness talk by Sports Psychologist Helen Pickford.

Helen started out as a freestyle skier, but after sustaining a serious injury she developed an interest in the psychological side of sport, particularly extreme sports and recovery from injury. Now a Chartered Sport Psychologist, she’s fallen in love with wakeboarding and helping others enjoy their sports as much as possible - having her talk was inspiring as you all established how to translate her words into action on the cable.

Next up was meet the Pro's. Charlie Hay representing the British Army Wakeboarding and currently ranked number 1 in the world, Katie Batchelor sponsored by Liquid Force and our steezy queen, Madison White. Sadly, Katie B was held up on a concrete car park so we decided to bring the groms up to chat too; Lotte Docherty sponsored by Liquid Force, India Laverick recognised by GB, looking for sponsorship and Leah Morgan who has been spotted by Madison and now rides in the grom team for DUP Wake UK.

All of these women and girls come with a modest mindset, hard work that has led to their success and each one has a very unique and individual style - which of course we got to see when they took to the cable at the end of each session.

We also had talks by Nikita from the Wetsuit Centre giving advice on the do's and don't's of Wetsuits, Tips for Tricks with the Pro's and Beginners Tips with the groms plus on both days we invited Clare to bring us a little slice of rehabilitation with her beautiful Yoga practice.

When I talk about events with She Flies, I talk of the energy that can't be recreated elsewhere. I sometimes wonder how that energy really feels... Then I witnessed that SOMA Breath Work session led by Shaina. Having experienced a session myself, I knew she was perfect for She Wakes. But walking around and watching from behind, seeing the synergy in the tent and the hold Shaina creates on the energy - I was mesmerised. She is a goddess and I hope those of you who joined that session will remember it for a long time.

Finally - we can't forget the Wakeboarding. With a huge thanks to Laura, this year I got a chance to ride, just for 20 minutes, but it was a chance to ride! As a Kiteboarder, there's an arrogance in me that Wakeboarding is pretty similar. It's safe to say I felt like a beginner again but it didn't stop me getting some 360's off the kicker.

The best part wasn't pushing my tricks, it was the crew of Women in the line up next to me. There was a specific woman that stood out. As I started talking about 360's, she leant in... "If you do it, I'll do it".

I did it. And as I swam away from the crash, I looked back and there she was, as agreed, spinning off the kicker and landing it smoothly. By the time I got to the dock, I turned back to the cable and she was round again - she hit the kicker and smashed out a Tantrum.

As she rode off, I realised her hair was pink. That's what it feels like when you show off.

"As she rode off, I realised her hair was pink."