Action Women.

Thursday, January 14th, 2010No Comments

Sport England recently announced a £10 million National Lottery funding round to encourage ‘Active Women’ – in a drive to get more women participating in sport.

The announcement is being supported by UK sports minister, Gerry Sutcliffe, the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF) and Olympic gold medallist Denise Lewis.

At present, one in eight women regularly get stuck into sport in England. While this has increased significantly, women’s participation still trails behind that of their male counterparts.

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There are a number of challenges facing women wanting to take part in sport. Time constraints, childcare, transport, cost, friends to go with and self-confidence can all present barriers to women’s participation.The ‘Active Women’ fund is aimed at addressing some of biggest challenges to female participation. It will help achieve the government’s 2012 Olympic legacy goal of getting a million more people playing sport regularly and focus on building a world-leading community sport system.

Sport England is calling on a wide range of community groups and sectors to make applications, including those who have not previously considered applying for funding. Schools, local councils and national governing bodies are just some of the organisations behind existing projects which have successfully engaged women.  Denise Lewis, mum of three and Olympic gold medallist, said: ‘As a mum, I know how difficult it can be to prioritise yourself and find that personal time to play sport and be active. This campaign will offer women the opportunity to take those first steps towards making a change in their lives.’

Gerry Sutcliffe, Minister for Sport, said: ‘Getting more women and girls to play sport is top of my agenda so it’s fantastic that Sport England has committed £10 million to making sure this happens. There is a sport out there for everyone and this investment will help clubs reach out to women who haven’t found theirs yet.’

If you’re a women or girl who wants to try out an extreme or adventure sport challenge CLICK HERE

ADRENALIN JUNKIE INTERVIEW: Adam Harvey

Thursday, January 14th, 20102 Comments

Sixteen-year-oldAdam Harvey is the rising star of surf kayaking. This summer he paddled his way to the top of the sport when he was crowned junior surf kayaking world champion, improving on his bronze medal performance in 2008. Riding the crest of a wave, he also managed an impressive 7th in the senior world championships, which were held alongside the junior championships in Porta Nova, Portugal. Adam’s performance made it an incredible double gold for the Channel Islands. While Adam, who’s from Guernsey swept to victory in the juniors, his neighbour from Jersey, Dave Speller, won the men’s world title.

How did you get into surf kayaking? From about aged seven, I went out kayaking on Sunday afternoons with my family. When I grew a bit older my big brother Chris dragged me down to the beach in the freezing cold and made me surf. I thank him now. It is hard to say when the sport really hooked me. I loved it from the beginning. However, when I entered my first competition I decided I wanted to do well in this sport and it has just grown.

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Explain what surf kayaking is to a layperson… Surf kayaking is very similar to surfing in the way you use the wave, but instead of a board you have boats designed for the surf. The boat is propelled by a paddle when heading into the waves. The sport has taken off in the last few years and people are moving it forward very quickly. Competitors are doing more tricks and the sport is becoming more well-known.

What is it about the Channel Islands and surf kayaking?  How come these tiny islands produce two world champions? Over the past five years it has really grown, you would be hard pushed to head down to Vazon – the top beach in Guernsey – and not see a surf kayaker.  I think Guernsey also good, because we have beginner-friendly waves and there’s some good clubs here. And we have a lot of water around us.

What do your school friends think of you being a surf kayaker? Quite a few of my friends have known me for a long time, so they just see it as a part of my life. They all love going out and surfing with me, or day-dreaming about it in school. I am always trying to get my friends into the sport.

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Who’s your extreme sports hero? As I grew up, I saw my brother Chris compete and fly through the rankings. (Chris came 5th in this year’s world championship.) I thought one day that would be me. So he has inspired me a lot and given me the most help. He has always been encouraging (when he was not bullying me).

What’s the greatest extreme sports thrill you’ve had? OK, this is a tough one. I think it must be on a local surf spot here in Guernsey. It was a very big day with a good vibe out in the water. One of the biggest waves I have ever seen came towards me and I was in the right spot, at the right time. Most other surfers were paddling for their lives. I turned and paddled, not quite appreciating the steepness of the wave. I dropped down the face. It was the biggest drop I have ever done in my life, and I just charged down this huge wave holding my edge as hard as I could. It felt so amazing. I cannot describe the feeling. It is what makes surfing such an amazing sport.

Where are the best locations to surf kayak in the UK? Well, because I live in the Channel Islands I obviously love the local breaks. They are not very consistent, but can be amazing. There are world-class breaks all over the UK; it all depends on the conditions.

What skills do you need to do the sport? For surf kayaking you need to be of a reasonable standard in a kayak. You also have to put up with the cold and don’t expect it to be too easy: you’ll get blisters.

What would be your advice to someone who’s thinking of doing surf kayaking? Go with people who know what they are doing, in most areas there are good clubs that can give you a push start in the right direction. And no matter how rubbish you are, start going to competitions: you will be very welcome, meet new people and get lots of tips of how on how to improve your skills.

What other extreme sports are you into? I also do surf boarding when it is not good enough or worthwhile taking my surf kayak out. I love most extreme sports and am willing to give anything a go.

How expensive is it to compete in the sport at the top level? I have a number of sponsors: Watertech – surf kayaks; Nookie – spray deck; Runandjump -clothing; Gath – helmets and Stream Lite – paddle. But I am always on the look out for more sponsors; it is very expensive to get away to all of the big competitions and any help is appreciated.

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What are your future ambitions? Tokeep my junior title, the men’s world champion, and spend as much time as I can out in the surf. I’d also like to encourage others into the sport.

If you’re interested in dipping your toes into a range of water sports, click here.

LOAD OF BALLS.

Tuesday, January 12th, 20109 Comments

gonuts100Protecting one’s manhood is never far from the mind of male paintball players. But a new paintball site – GoNuts Paintball – has gone a step further. It is donating £5 to the male cancer charity Everyman with every paintball package booked.

The Everyman campaign, which has been supported by a host of celebrities such as X Factor presenter Dermot O’Leary, pop star Robbie Williams, Mayor of London Boris Johnson, and comedian Ricky Gervais, raises awareness of, and funds research into, prostate and testicular cancer.

There are over 37,000 cases of male cancer every year in the UK alone. In fact, prostate cancer has overtaken lung cancer as the most common cancer in men. While testicular cancer is the most common cancer in young men aged 15-44, it is now 99 per cent curable if caught early. Everyman aims to raise awareness of male cancers and help overcome some of the traditional male reticence about health down under – and that’s not referring to Australia.

X-Factor presenter Dermot O’Leary said: ‘Having had personal experience of a loved one who has suffered from cancer I am delighted and proud to be a patron of Everyman.’

Mayor of London Boris Johnson added: ‘One of the best defences against cancer is being aware and taking care – so don’t be embarrassed chaps – look after yourselves and check for those telltale signs.’

British comic Ricky Gervais has given his support to Everyman by urging men to get involved: ‘Everyone can do something to eradicate prostate cancer. Come on, pull your finger out. Unless you are a qualified doctor. In which case you know what to do,’ said Ricky.

Male cancer affects men of all ages, and as fathers, sons, husbands, brothers and friends touches many lives. The incidence of male cancer is rising rapidly, yet we still do not know why. Despite this, and the fact that it affects so many men in the UK, research into male cancer is severely under-funded. Everyman has set up the only dedicated male cancer research centre in Europe to investigate the causes of these cancers and to improve diagnosis and treatment for thousands of men.

If you want to talk balls, for painted ones, go to GoNuts and for the other kind visit the Everyman website.  Either way, it could save a life.