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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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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

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/Tramping

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 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/Canoeing

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

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

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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Organisations

Organisations
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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Slim Jim Goes Racing

Slim Jim goes racingI’ve been shy of meeting new people ever since I was a kid.  These days I’m experienced enough to know I’ve got nothing to worry about, but not always smart enough to remember it.  I still find the idea of turning up to an event by myself and not knowing anyone incredibly intimidating.  This means that in the days leading up to my first kayaking race with Slim Jim the Surf Ski, I was just as worried about showing up as I was about the race itself.  

All day Tuesday I had horrified thoughts of turning up to the race and finding a bunch of enormous men with bulging biceps and super fast boats.  It didn’t make things easier when I read the competition’s website and saw that they’d had their first female competitor ever just a couple of races before.  As the wind picked up in the river I had an image of myself limping in to the finish line well and truly last, or perhaps falling out and having to get brought back in the rescue boat.  

“What’s the worst that can happen?’”, one of my work colleagues had asked earlier in the day.  I had been telling everyone I was going racing so I wouldn’t chicken out at the last minute.

“You could fall out and die,” said another workmate, comfortingly.  Of course, I thought it would be much less embarrassing to fall out and die than it would be to just fall out and have to be rescued.

“Why are you intimidated?  The others should be the ones who are intimidated.”  This from my paddling buddy.

“What are you so worried about?  You’ll be fine.”  This from Dave, my partner.  “Do you want me to come with you?”  Of course, there was no way I was showing up with my own cheer squad, so eventually I forced myself to put my boat on the car and drive to the race, alone. 

When I arrived it was clear that there were going to be a lot of people in the race.  There were indeed a lot of enormous men with bulging biceps and super fast boats, but they were friendly and there were also a few women, to my great relief.  And as I took my boat off the car and hauled it inexpertly towards the put in point, I noticed that there were a few people out there looking a little bit wobbly.  As long as I didn’t come in dead last, I thought to myself, things would be alright.

As I got on the water I stopped worrying about the people and started worrying about what I should have been worrying about all along - the race itself!  The wind had whipped the Derwent up into a mess of waves and white caps and the course was about 8km long, up into the weather and then back with it.  I did a quick circuit for a fairly useless warm up then got into position at the starting line.  

The enormous men with bulging biceps and super fast boats sprinted out of the blocks before I even realised what was happening, and I found myself riding the wake of a few guys.  If I could just stay with them, I knew I’d be well set up for the rest of the race.  I learned a valuable lesson - enormous men with bulging biceps put out a fantastic wake from their super fast boats.  On we went, with me rather pathetically riding the wakes and getting a nice lift.  I refused to let myself turn around to look behind me but I knew I wasn’t coming last.  Yes!!!  Mission accomplished!!

We rounded the buoy and entered the downwind stretch, which is where I found my feet (or my arms, whatever the case may be).  The waves were perfect for my boat and I managed to ride wave after wave after wave.  I found myself overtaking one of the bulging-bicep men, who was looking more than a little bit wobbly.  I overtook another guy who had fallen out of his boat but he soon caught me up again.  I still couldn’t tell where I was in the field and the leaders looked miles and miles and miles away, but I was feeling excellent and having a total blast in the waves.  In fact, I think I was even smiling.

We rounded the last marker (a boat) and I decided to sprint hard for home, in the hope of catching up with the man who’d fallen out of his boat and overtaken me.  However, I couldn’t quite catch up and I resigned myself to coming in after him, until a freak of nature wave managed to tip him out again just before the finish line and I steamed past, a little embarrassed.  

I was absolutely shattered by the end.  I’d had very little warm up and it had been many hours of hectic activity since lunch.  However, while I managed a slow warm down I noticed that there were quite a few people behind me still coming in, including some of the enormous, bulging-bicep men.  I forgot to note my time and I had no idea where I was in the field but I was very happy I’d showed up and raced, proud of myself for overcoming the fear and not coming in last or falling out.  

It turned out Slim Jim did a great job for me.  The next afternoon I managed to find some time to look up the competition’s website and, to my great surprise, I came in about mid-field and also won the women’s race!  

So, the lessons I learned and can pass on to myself for next time (or for anyone else who’s interested), are as follows:

1.    Don’t worry too much - it’s probably not as intimidating as you think.
2.    Eat more between lunch and racing.
3.    Believe in yourself and don’t worry about what other people think.
4.    It’s probably best to think more about the race and less about the people at the race.
5.    Stick around to find out your time and how you did because, after all, you never know, and
6.    Don't be afraid of enormous men with bulging biceps because, actually, they can be really quite nice!

Bring on the next race!

Want to come for a paddle?  Go to the Southern Paddlers website.

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