Here’s some of the things that I do or have done.
Well the best thing about diving is it’s how me and Becs met. I started to dive in 1994 with OUUEG (the Oxford University Underwater Exploration Group) – during the 2nd year of my undergraduate degree in Zoology. I kept diving with the club after I left Oxford (in 1995) and Becs began to dive when she started her PhD there in 1997. It’s a long story which I won’t go into here, but we got together in 2001 after knowing each other for four years.
Back to diving… even though I’ve dived for years I’m still a BSAC Sports Diver (pretty much the “lowest level” of qualification in BSAC). This doesn’t bother me as I dive for the enjoyment of being underwater. I’ve dived loads around the UK (Cornwall, Devon, Wales, Scotland, Northumberland) as well as Norway, the Med and Barbados (where I was on a two month research trip). I do enjoy wreck diving but also scenic dives (not that the two are mutually exclusive). People think that there’s no underwater life in the UK but, as I’m always happy to point out, that’s not the case.
I started kitesurfing in 2004 with a lesson with John from Ride Hi. When we lived in North Shields, I was lucky to be able to go to Northumberland beaches (Blyth, Druridge, Beadnell and Budle). There used to be very few kitesurfers on these beaches so it’s a beautiful place for it. There’s a beach guide on the North East Kitesurfing web site.
Now that we’ve moved to Oxford my “local” beaches are Hayling, Poole/Bournemouth and I also head to Porthcawl (Ogmore; Rest Bay) for waves. Kit-wise, I have a 9m Slingshot Rev, 7m and 14m Best Waroos (as well as a Flexifoil Super 10 – not used for kitesurfing tho!). This is fine for 13-40mph, which covers most of the stuff I sail in. I ride a Naish 6’1″ custom wave CR and a Lost Cause Exile (’06 135x47cms). I also recently purchase a Exile Skimboard.
I’ve got quite a few records and CDs – so much so that we can’t find anywhere to store them. Estimates of the amount of vinyl I have range from 3,000 to 5,000. This encompasses the indie/grunge/industrial that I was into as a teenager to techno/dance/house that I use for DJing to other bits and bobs. Becs has vastly improved my appreciation of music (she’s a cellist) and I’m now listening to (and enjoying) a lot more classical and latin/jazz/funk than I ever used to. Most of my unlistened vinyl is being sold off on Ebay (slowly).
Cycling is great – the most efficient way of moving around under self-power. I have an On-One Dirty Disco cyclo-cross bike for commuting and gentle offroad, and a Kona Cindercone 2008 for tougher offroad. I used to commute to work from home to Sunderland every day (22mi round trip), and occasionally did the full commute to Newbury (45mi round trip). The commute to Torchbox is a more do-able 17mi each way that I attempt to do three times a week (3600 miles a year).