GO! Girls Outdoors

A resource for women in Outdoor Education and Recreation

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Gear Resources
Gear manufacturers have realised that lots of women like the outdoors and they're different shapes from men. Here's what's out there, and where you can buy it.

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Travel Resources
A selection of travel resources especially for women who love to travel. Includes a list of online communities if you do it yourself, or companies if you need a little help.

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Surfing Resources
Listed here are some links to resources from all over the world that cater to women who love surfing.

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Hiking Resources
Extended walks are great for the mind and spirit and lots of women love to take part in them. Check out these resources and get inspired to go on a walking adventure.

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Snow Sports

Snow Sports Resources
Skiing, snowboarding, backcountry, polar expeditions - all done in the snow and all done by lots of amazing women.  Check out these resources to find out more...

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Kayaking Resources
White water, surfing, sea kayaking, sprint racing, marathon racing, multisport, fishing...is there anything you can't do from a kayak? Explore these resources!

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Cycling Resources
A list of resources for all sorts of cycling - mountain biking, road biking, touring, racing, recreation and commuting - all specific to women.

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Climbing Resources
Women can (and have) achieved incredible things in climbing. Listed in this section are a collection of climbing and moutaineering resources that are useful and inspiring for all climbers.

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A list of organisations that cater exclusively to women, or run trips exclusively for women. A great way to find a women-specific adventure in your area.

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Outdoor Industry

Outdoor Industry Resources
Looking for resources to help you plan programs, companies and organisations that cater for women or organisations you can join? Look no further...

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Multisporting and the "New Me"

The culpritIf anyone ever asks whether or not I’m competitive, I claim that I’m not.  I’ll usually accompany this claim with some sort of statement such as, “oh, I’d rather just go into the outdoors for fun and I’ve never particularly liked organised sport” or, “I’m more than happy to walk or ride all day long, but I’d rather not have to worry about trying to beat someone else” or, “I don’t really care if I win or not, the other person can win if it means that much to them”.  However, a couple of events in Tasmania this year have led me to reassess my claims of a non-competitive nature.  Although I still won’t claim to be really, really competitive, I have discovered a new side to my personality through a couple of multisport races.  Here’s how I found the hidden depths of the “new me”…
In Tasmania the team at Endorfun organise, among other things, two multisport races per year.  The Summer Survival is held in February, the Winter Challenge in August (Australian summer and winter, obviously).  The races consist of four legs - a kayak, mountain bike, road bike and run - and you can either do them individually or participate as a two- or four-person team.  They are fantastic events, very well organised, seamlessly run and a lot of fun, especially if you’re in a team and get to hang out and chat with other racers while you wait for your leg to come up.

After having very recently moved back to Tasmania after some years away, I was asked by some friends to do the kayaking leg for the Summer Survival in an Open Women team.   I’d recently done a lot of training for a big sea kayaking trip so I was reasonably fit, and the kayak leg was only 10km or so.  I figured I could just compete in my sea kayak, which is reasonably light and fast for a sea kayak, and muddle my way through the race.  The others assured me that they didn’t care if I wasn’t super fast, they just needed a paddler with a boat.  I figured I’d just head out and have some fun, have a nice little paddle and then go home.  We were all telling each other exactly the same thing, engaging in a bit of girly negative self talk before the race (ie, “as long as we don’t come last it will be fine…we’re just here for the fun of it…I haven’t trained at ALL, have you?...oh I bet you have, you look really fit…no, I’m so slow…well, even if we do come last it doesn’t really matter because we’re just here for the fun”).

The kayak leg was the first leg of the race and we had an on-water start.  As I got in the boat and fastened my skirt and paddled about to warm up, everything was normal.  As I meandered over to the start buoy and chatted to a couple of people, everything was normal.  I believe the exact moment when I morphed from chilled out, non-competitive and relaxed to a highly alert, adrenalin fuelled, slightly nervous competitor was the warning hoot telling us we had two minutes until the race started.  I started looking around, picking out my fellow competitors and saying to myself, “hey, you could beat that guy…and that guy in the wooden boat…and maybe even that wobbly looking surf ski guy”.  Then I found myself jostling to get to the front of the pack, right in line with the start buoys, in amongst all the serious racers in their super fast boats.  Then the start gun went and I exploded, paddling as hard as I could to get a good position.

Even though my boat was relatively slow, my muscles were good, my veins were coursing with adrenalin and my brain was in competitive mode.  I had several hard fought out battles with some speedy sea kayakers and ended up coming in a good ten minutes before the time I’d told the others to expect me in.  What’s more, I was hooked on the excitement and marvelling at myself at the same time - was this “new me” a girl who’s been hiding away somewhere for the past 27 years? Despite all our negative self talk we came third in our division and proudly went home with a bottle of wine and a coaster that displayed our achievements, along with plans to compete in the next race together.

Fast forward to the Winter Challenge, which we entered as the same team, and exactly the same thing happened!  Despite the fact I hadn’t trained nearly as much as before, and even though the kayak leg was last, I found myself pushing harder and harder to catch people, and again came in much earlier than I expected with a reasonably respectable time.  Bizarre!  This time we came out with second in our division, another bottle of wine and an engraved wooden apple for our troubles - despite even more girly negative self talk than last time (“I haven’t trained, have you?...I’ve been away and sick and I haven’t even looked at my bike for ages…I started my taper three weeks ago…well, we might not come last I suppose, we did ok last time…but last time we’d trained more…well, even if we do come last then at least we’ll have fun”, and so on).

The next event is coming up in a few weeks, and I’ve found myself craving a new, faster boat so I can go quicker and quicker and quicker and beat all those people who beat me before.  I’ve found myself training harder and doing sprints to practice for when I paddle past people!  I’ve paddled every day this week, regardless of the weather, including a pretty exciting little jaunt in the howling wind and rolling swell the other day.  So although Miss Non-Competitive is definitely still winning out for 99% of my life, Miss Competitive definitely gets a look in whenever I go out for a paddle.  I usually keep her hidden, but if you want to meet her in the flesh, come and paddle in the Freycinet Challenge next month - just for fun, of course - and “I’ll” see you out there!

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