This weekend saw a huge event in the OCR calendar, with the Toughest race series coming to the UK. The race was held at Pippingford Park, just south of London, and with competitors being greeted by 30 degree heat and glorious sunshine, it promised to be a classic.
The event saw the fourth stop in the Toughest Elite Tour - where the elite racers in the men's and women's devisions compete in incredibly fast-paced races for positions and ranking points to count towards their final placing in the overall tour.
With temperatures soaring, the racers would be battling against the heat as much as the obstacles themselves! The course at Pippingford showcased the type of challenge that Toughest are renowned for - an 8km course with 40+ technically challenging obstacles designed to really test the athletes.
The men's elite race was run at blistering pace, with dryrobe ambassador and current OCR world champion Jonathan Albon continuing his unbeaten run in Toughest events to take the win in a time of 41.15, over a minute ahead of second place. Athletes' four best results are counted towards their final tour ranking, so Jon is now well on his way and sitting comfortably at the top of the table.
The women's elite was another incredibly fast race, even with the sun blazing down the athletes in both elite divisions were pushing themselves to finish with some amazing times. Swedish racer Karin Karlsson took the win in the women's division with an awesome performance, showing why she is definitely one to watch as the season continues. Henriette Albon continued an excellent season with a 3rd place finish - taking her to the top of the current women's rankings. Can anyone beat the Albons to the Toughest title?
The racing continued throughout the day, with wave after wave of awesome runners pitting themselves against the Toughest course while the crowds cheered them on in the blazing sun.
The UK OCR community was out in force, with a great mixture of first time runners through to hardened OCR veterans.
The OCR racers showed why they are renowned for their team spirit, helping each other over, under and across the obstacles and cheering each other round the course all day long.
Next up in the series, Toughest heads to Milton Keynes for it's next UK race. For the first time ever, there will be the option to take on Toughest Double Distance - a double loop of the course means 16km with more than 80 obstacles - probably one of the most obstacle intense OCR courses at this length.
Toughest Elite London South Results
Men's top 3
1. Jonathan Albon - UK - Time: 41:15
2. David Nordström - SWE - Time: 42:27
3. Krister Sellman - SWE - Time: 43:29
Women's top 3
1. Karin Karlsson - SWE - Time:54:09
2. Annika Runegaard Thomsen - DK - Time: 54:52
3. Henriette Albon - NO - Time: 55:22
For more photos from the event, head to our Facebook page here.
We're constantly being told about the many different ways people use their dryrobes and it's the perfect time of year for one of our favourites - festivals! The season is well and truly here, so whether you're dancing in the mud at Glastonbury, rocking out at Download or hitting the beach at Boardmasters - are you dryrobe ready for festival season?
The team at HQ all love a good festival and after some very serious and scientific (honest!) testing, we're happy to report that dryrobe is indeed the perfect accessory for your summer celebrations.
It's the early morning, the sun has woken you up, keep yourself cosy whilst getting ready for the day's festivities
Not just for changing or staying warm - dryrobe makes the perfect festival blanket!
dryrobes have been spotted at festivals across the country - including the legendary fields of Worthy Farm for Glastonbury
Perfect for all weathers - the great British summertime likes to keep us on our toes so it's best to be prepared!
There's nothing better than staying warm and comfortable when you're out in your tent for the weekend - we've heard plenty of stories of people using their dryrobe as an extra sleeping bag!
The dryrobe team are already enjoying an awesome start to the festival season and are looking forward to a great lineup of events through the summer.
We always love to see people enjoying their dryrobes and being outdoors so we'd love to see your photos if you take your dryrobe to any festivals this summer! Remember to tag us on social media @dryrobe and #dryrobe and have a great time!
We are always asked the question - "Will I use a dryrobe in summer?" The answer is a resounding Yes!
Summer is always our busiest time. People are getting out and about, doing their thing, enjoying the great outdoors. Whatever it is you do - it's always a good move to take a dryrobe along.
We've been seeing lots of awesome pictures of people getting out there and enjoying themselves - OCR season is in full swing, the ocean is warming up and it's great to see everyone out there and enjoying being active. We picked out a few of our favourite pictures - please keep them coming!
The only way to get dry and warm after a session in the Atlantic Ocean @swipe_and_you_might_miss_me
First surf lifesaving beach session this evening. What a glorious evening! Love where I live and loving the time outdoors ☀️ @princesssharona2012
Happy customers on a CLUB NIGHT! @camelski
We did it! Nuclear Race 12k with 193 obstacles! @danni.kirwan
Never leave the house without them! @elliehillbilly
It’s a real highlight for us to see how much people enjoy using their dryrobes everyday, so please keep them coming! Please remember to tag us in your uploads #dryrobe so we can keep seeing them and if you have a story you think is worth sharing please send it in via our Facebook messenger or email email@example.com
We always say that you will find dryrobe next to the water - our partnership with the Industry Wakeboard Pro Tour is a perfect example of this. The Industry Pro Tour takes the explosive, awe inspiring sport of wakeboarding to the heart of large maritime events and a variety of existing and well attended festivals. The best wakeboard athletes from the British Isles as well as key international riders compete at each stop and put on one amazing show!
The tour is organised by Industry Wake Parks, whose key objective is to grow the sport of wakeboarding within the UK by opening wake parks in new locations and to showcase the sport to new audiences at events and festivals. Using the revolutionary System 2.0 cable rig, it is now possible to install wakeparks almost anywhere there is a patch of water!
The Industry Pro Tour kicked off the 2017 season with an incredible event at the Foxlake Outdoor Festival, at Foxlake Adventures in Dunbar, Scotland. Some of the best wakeboarders in the country converged on the lake and showed why wakeboarding is one of the most explosive and awe-inspiring sports to watch as well as take part in.
After two days of incredible riding and plenty of insane performances along the way, the final results were in, with Matty Muncey taking the win and the bragging rights!
The next stop on the tour is the Gloucester Tall Ships Festival, taking place on the 27th, 28th, 29th May. This is sure to be an un-missable event as the action continues, with riders competing to claim those all important rankings points - with the rider at the end of the tour who has the most points taking the overall tour win!
The next events on the Industry Wakeboard Pro Tour calendar are:
We’re very proud of our ambassadors here at dryrobe; over the years we have put together a team comprising of some seriously awe-inspiring, amazing and inspirational individuals, none more so than Mr Jon Albon. The three-time OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) World Champion is an unbelievable athlete and a great friend of dryrobe, we’re incredibly proud to have him represent the team.
After a successful year of competition in 2016, Jon has literally hit the ground running this year and seems unstoppable. For the last two years, he has won the Toughest OCR tour - by winning every single Toughest event he has entered to date - so the start of 2017 saw Jon start the race season with his sights firmly on defending his title.
April saw the first Toughest race of the season, in the new venue of Amsterdam and was billed to provide a different racing experience to previous Toughest events - a lack of technical terrain and hills meant that this was going to be a seriously fast race. We caught up with Jon before the race to get his thoughts, check out what he had to say:
Amsterdam didn’t disappoint and after a lightning fast race, Jon took the win in 37 minutes after 8.5 km of racing. It then became an double win for team Albon, with Jon’s wife Henriette securing first place in the Women’s Elite race.
The Toughest tour then moved to Malmo, Sweden for the second event of their calendar. This is where the Toughest series started and is a special stop on the tour for this reason. 7000 entrants were scheduled to take part and with some of the best obstacle racers turning up to compete, Jon needed to be on top form to take the win - in the elite division just one mistake on an obstacle can cost you the race.
Jon continued his winning run and stormed to victory in Malmo - his third win at this event now. With his incredible performances and the fact the he wins the races with quite considerable leads, Jon often gets asked how he makes it look so easy - he had this to say:
“I am pleased with my performance but still face questions of why it is apparently so easy for me…well it’s not, I am pushing everything I can in a race like this and have been preparing to do so for months. I am now in my 3rd year of competing in obstacle races full time and need all of this experience to be able to run a course like Malmo and come out on top against the other racers. I am working on trying to push boundaries to see how fast you can go in a race like this but my competition is catching up quicker than I can improve. So far I am two for two this year in the Toughest series but it will take more hard work to keep this clean sheet.”
The next big event in Jon’s racing calendar was Europe’s Toughest Mudder. Up until this year the 24 hour event ‘Worlds Toughest Mudder’ has been the only competitive race in the Tough Mudder calendar, so this 8 hour event in Europe would be the first time the format had come to this side of the pond.
The format for the event was a 5 mile course, with competitors given 8 hours to complete as many laps as possible. The race would start at 12 at night and competitors faced the challenge of running over churned up muddy ground for the following 8 hours, whilst being continuously dunked into water and muddy ditches. A cash prize for 1st place and a bonus prize for completing 50 miles (10 laps of the course) provided a real incentive to the race.
Continuing his unbelievable form this year, Jon ran an incredible race, pacing himself perfectly to take first place, plus completing the 50 miles for the bonus prize. That’s roughly two marathons in 8 hours with between 16-20 time and energy consuming obstacles per 5 mile lap - there’s a reason this man is a 3 times world champion.
Next up in the race calendar for Jon is a Skyrace - a discipline of mountain running that takes place at altitudes of 2000m. Best of luck to Jon, we look forward to seeing how he gets on.
When we were approached by the GoPro UK team about putting together a full custom design, we knew it was one of the projects we couldn't wait to get started on.
In fact we have a top 3, 'who we want to work with' list and GoPro were right there. (We have been fortunate enough to tick off two of the top three already!) Lets admit it, this was fun & super exciting to work on. Wherever there are outdoor extreme sports you always find GoPro. Such a perfect fit for our brand too. After all, any outdoor sport in the UK is #dryrobeterritory
The design took shape after some back and forth fine tuning and then we, excitedly placed the order for production. The chance came about to get delivery of some of the order in ahead of the Surfing England 2017 English National Surfing Championships at Perranporth, Cornwall, UK.
Surf was forecast to build over the weekend of the event and the weather was set to deteriorate along with the increasing swell. It was all set to be the perfect storm for the launch of the GoPro dryrobe, with some great waves and challenging weather conditions.
We had a great response to the dryrobes and whatever the weather does we know that they are a great bit of kit for competitors, staff & spectators.
We got this comment from Elliot Harper at GoPro
"The dryrobes look absolutely fantastic, work a dream and have become such an essential part of our event tool kit now. Not only are they perfect to loan out to participants at the different sports events, but they are also great for us staff when we have to deal with the terrible British elements on an event site."
We look forward to seeing these at GoPro sponsored events and on the back of some of the World's best athletes.
We liked them so much we bought the company! I mean.. we made a film about it. Check it out :)
The dryrobe team spend a fair bit of time out of the office and on the road, attending events around the country and meeting lots of amazing people, as well as demonstrating the many benefits of dryrobe of course. We recently received an invite to attend the Women’s Adventure Expo - an event described as the first and only adventure and travel expo in the UK dedicated to women, with the aim of empowering women who are interested in, or engaged in, adventure and exploration. The team leapt at the chance to be involved and hear some of these amazing women speak about their stories and adventures, so on a sunny Saturday in April we found ourselves by the harbourside in Bristol, ready for a day of inspiration.
The event was a new part of the Women’s Adventure Expo, as it focussed on water based activities and adventures. The day was set out with a series of incredible headline speakers delivering talks as well as fascinating presentations from water champions and organisations. From epic ocean crossings to swimming some of the planet’s most challenging waters, the day was packed with incredible stories and causes to get us motivated and buzzing to get out on watery adventures of our own.
The first headline speaker was a wonderful lady who we at dryrobe know well - the amazing swimmer Beth French. If you haven’t heard Beth’s story before then we highly recommend you go and check it out - from being diagnosed with ME at the age of 17 and being wheelchair-bound, she has gone on to conquer the illness and live symptom-free and now fills her life with incredible adventures and endurance swims. From travelling the world and living in amazing places, to becoming ordained as a Buddhist nun, Beth’s life philosophy is about exploring the art of possibility to fulfil your potential. Her current challenge is to attempt a world first by taking on Oceans 7 - seven of the toughest swims on the planet. Only 6 people have ever completed this challenge and Beth aims to be the first to complete them in one year - incredible!
Beth’s talk had the entire room hanging on to her every word - with the dryrobe team being no exception. Hearing her story firsthand was an incredible experience and made us want to get out there and get swimming right away - her message of getting out there and going for your dreams was one that should certainly be put into practise as much as possible. The message that stuck with us the most was this - “If you don’t nudge your boundaries, you narrow your comfort zone...stretch your adventure muscles.”
The next main speaker was the fantastic Erin Bastian, who filled the room with laughter and awe as we listened to her tales of adventure via sea kayak. From her first journey around Sardinia to her paddle through one of the world’s most remote wildernesses in Patagonia, Erin’s message to remember was to never look at a challenge and give up on it because it looks too big, or too difficult. Instead, she taught us to break these challenges down into smaller, bitesize chunks that on their own are more manageable and allow you to conquer the main challenge itself. Erin carried on the same message that Beth had started the day with - which is to get out there and adventure! Many people fear failure and so never get started, but in Erin’s eyes the only true failure is the failure to learn from our experiences.
The final headline speaker of the day was the amazing Sarah Outen MBE, an adventurer of both land and sea who enthralled us with tales of her 25,000 mile, 4.5 year journey to circumnavigate the globe by rowing, cycling and kayaking. A truly awe-inspiring adventure, Sarah overcame huge obstacles and some seriously extreme conditions in her expedition which at times meant she wasn’t sure if she would make it out alive. Sarah’s journey was certainly not plain sailing and she was at times forced to change her route and alter sections altogether, but she showed us that these changes of plan actually enriched her journey and took her to places she might not have seen or experienced. This message tied in perfectly with Erin’s earlier lesson that we shouldn’t fear failure, but should see it for what it is - an opportunity to learn and even to find something new altogether.
We left Bristol after the Women’s Adventure Expo filled with inspiration and buzzing to get out on adventures of of our own, most of all we wanted to get ourselves out on the water as quickly as possible. The whole event was a real celebration of amazing women and their adventures, which we certainly agree doesn’t get enough coverage. The future’s bright though with fantastic events like the Women’s Adventure Expo doing an amazing job of empowering and inspiring all the potential adventurers out there. Their next event is October this year, if you can make it we highly recommend you do.
Here in North Devon we are immensely proud of our local community and love to hear about the incredible people who are part of it. There is a lot of good work being done in the area and we feel that this is something to really celebrate. We recently heard a story about local teenager Liv Bennett being named North Devon’s Most Inspiring Under 21 Year Old and we decided we had to find out more, so we sat down with Liv to catch up and talk surfing, volunteering and inspirations.
First of all Liv, please tell us about being named North Devon’s Most Inspiring Under 21 year old, where was the award from and who decides?
It was put out as a vote to the general public - I was put forward by the lady who runs Wave Wahines, I had no idea! I knew about the organisation and the awards because Peony Knight won it last year. I think a lot of parents of the girls I coach voted for me - because of the work I’ve been doing with Wave Wahines and Wave Project, as well as teaching yoga and surfing, so it all came about from that really. The award was from the charity North Devon Against Domestic Abuse (NDADA) and was part of the Inspiring People Awards, which celebrates people carrying out inspiring work in the community.
You mentioned Wave Wahines - what is it and how are you involved?
So Wave Wahines was started by a lady called Yvette Curtis - she approached me and my sister, as well as another instructor Karma - she got us together as she wanted to set up surf coaching for local girls. She had noticed there was a gap in coaching between beginner surfing and more advanced development squads and so the idea came about to set something up which would provide a fun environment for girls to come together and surf.
We work with local surf schools to teach on the beach and get the girls together as there is often a real lack of girls at surf clubs, which is a real shame. It’s been going really well, we did a few weeks in the sea last year before the surf schools closed and then we’ve been keeping the group together, doing things over the winter - the group has actually grown before we’ve even got back in the water! We’re hoping to be back in the sea next week and we can’t wait. The girls really make it special, some didn’t know each other beforehand, but as soon as they’re in the water you wouldn’t know who is friends with who, they just all surf together and have fun!
You’re also involved with the Wave Project, can you tell us a little bit about this?
The Wave Project is a charity that helps disadvantaged kids to learn team building skills and build self-confidence through surfing, there’s kind of no better way to do it! There are projects all over the country and I volunteer with the North Devon project. It brings together children from the local area who have been referred to the project, it could be by a counsellor or teacher, and they can be referred for a whole range of different reasons, which is really exciting to see how surfing can help so many different children. It’s all run by volunteers and I love being part of it - it’s also great be in the water all the time!
It’s incredible to see the improvement in the children - on the last programme I worked with one girl who at the start was so petrified when she was ankle deep in the water that she wouldn’t stop screaming, but by the end of 6 weeks she had learnt to stand up on her surfboard and ride waves to the shore - and had stopped screaming! It’s so good to be a part of and it’s one of those things where once you’ve done one programme you just get addicted and want to do more and then you’ll be volunteering forever, it’s so much fun. There’s so many smiles, it’s equal between the volunteers and the surfers because everyone just bounces off each other!
As you’ve been named North Devon’s Most Inspiring Under 21 year old, what is it that inspires you?
I’d have to say my sister Jasmine. She’s just super busy all the time! I think one of the reasons I was nominated for the award was because I’m involved in so many things - and I think that I have that from Jasmine. So she’s doing a degree at the moment but she’s also involved in so many things, she’s very passionate about activism, the environment, equality - she’s always researching or getting extra qualifications, so I think I followed in her footsteps in that way.
Also one of my teachers from secondary school, Olaf Rinvolucri, he passed away last February, he was just the most enthusiastic teacher ever, he was great. I was in my GCSE year when he died, it was a real shocker for a lot of people because he was very young. We just all realised how much passion he had for what he did, and he was super accepting of everyone and everything. He was all about teaching us that it’s not necessarily what you can do or being the best but it’s about how much passion you can put into each thing you do. So I took that message from him, he was a really big role model.
So Liv, we saw you in your dryrobe - how do you use yours and what does it do for you?
Well I got mine for my birthday from my dad, from Ralph’s surf shop, so I wear my dryrobe at Wave Wahines and also when I work at Surf South West. For coaching surfing it’s ideal - SSW have dryrobes for the instructors but it’s great because I don’t have to share with the guys! It’s amazing when you’re always in and out of the water when you’re surf instructing and need to stay warm. Sometimes I even walk to work rather than cycle so I can wear my dryrobe on the way there!
What’s next for you Liv, what are your dreams?
I’ve applied to go to uni in September, I really like science so I’m going to study dietetics and I’d like to be a dietician one day. I also teach yoga currently so I’d like to continue doing that and getting more people involved in yoga. I’d also like to travel and teach yoga, I think it would be amazing!
All images courtesy of Guy Harrop Photography
Here at HQ we love to hear about the epic adventures and incredible locations where dryrobe can be found, it always amazes and inspires us to see people keeping warm all around the globe.
Recently we heard rumours of an epic surf session that happened north of the Arctic Circle, at Unstad in Norway, with none other than surfing legend Tom Carroll. So we did some hunting around and found some photos.
If anyone can be considered a great of the surf world, then this man certainly can. We found out that Carroll had come to Norway at the invitation of Tommy from Unstad Arctic Surf School, who we have been proud to supply with dryrobes after meeting them at ISPO when we were at the Cold water surfing section with our friends from Carve magazine, along with others, after receiving an invite to be there from Patagonia.
Add in to the mix the incredibly talented photographer Olivier Morin and this was an adventure that just had to be shared.
With water temperatures of of roughly 5 degrees C, this was a slightly different climate to Tom Carroll's home of Australia.
With air temperatures as low as 2 degrees C, keeping out of the cold wind and using a dryrobe to get changed on & out of wetsuits, makes a whole lot of sense.
dryrobe is right at home in Unstad - definitely #dryrobeterritory
At 55 years old, Tom Carroll still shows the style and skill that won him two world titles
Olivier keeping himself warm between shooting in Norway's icy waves
Tales of the day's surf being swapped next to the campfire
All photos by Olivier Morin
We scoured the internet to group these photos together so a mention must go to the article posted here: http://darkroom.baltimoresun.com/2017/03/arctic-surfing-unstad-norway/ - check it out for more great photo coverage of the trip.
For the past 3 years dryrobe have had the privilege to be involved in one of the most challenging and unique open-water swimming events out there - Red Bull Neptune Steps. This is an adventure race that challenges athletes like no other - pitting them against 420 metres of cold water, forcing them to climb 18 metres over 7 canal lock gates and pushing participants to their limits. This year’s event was no different, with over 320 competitors hitting the water on a rainy Saturday in Glasgow - and dryrobe was on hand to witness this intense challenge.
Mark Deans (Instagram @markodeans) - Undefeated RedBull Neptune Steps Champion
dryrobe ambassador and big wave surfer Andrew Cotton was one of the brave swimmers taking on the Neptune Steps this year and he told us it was one of the hardest challenges he has faced yet - and this is from a man who takes on the world's biggest waves! “The cold was a good 7 out of 10 - the swimming and the climbing was definitely the hard part - next level hard. It was definitely dryrobe territory!”
We also caught up with Nicolas Dewalque - a truly inspiring athlete who conquered the Neptune Steps this year. Nicolas is a visually impaired triathlete who takes on some seriously extreme challenges, with the Neptune Steps being no exception. After completing the course, Nicolas and his guide Sarah gave us their rating for the event:
Sarah: “It was at least an 8.5/10 for difficulty - but over a 10/10 for fun!”
Nicholas: “It was definitely hard, but it was a lot of fun. It’s easier to say it’s a lot of fun once you’ve finished though! We definitely enjoyed it very much!”
Nicolas Dewalque - Visually impaired Triathlete & dryrobe sponsored athlete & guide Sarah
The event itself had a real festival feel to it, with crowds of spectators lining the canal through the entire day, cheering the swimmers the whole way up the course. It almost became a race against the swimmers as the crowd moved up the canal to keep up with the competitors - they weren’t hanging around! There were some seriously nail-biting races through the day, as the top swimmers from heats progressed through to semi-finals and then the finals, which saw the biggest crowds of the day encouraging the athletes on - almost willing them up the obstacles with their cheering.
The finals themselves were intense, incredibly fast races up the canal - in the Men’s division it was local Glaswegian swimmer Mark Deans who topped the podium, for the third year in a row. His winning streak just keeps on going. Andrew Horsfall-Turner came in second and Marc Austin took third. The women's final was equally as incredible to watch - 25-year-old Jennifer Davis took the crown, with Lilyella Craw-Seamen coming in second and Fiona Gibson in third. The swimmers took to the podium to celebrate their achievements - and having claimed their coveted Neptune Steps dryrobe!
Left to right - Andrew Horsfall-Turner, Mark Deans, Marc Austin, Lilyella Craw-Seamen, Jennifer Davis & Fiona Gibson
Red Bull Neptune Steps truly is one of the most unique and awe-inspiring events out there, every single swimmer who completed the gruelling course can certainly be immensely proud of their achievement. We are very proud to have been a part of this event and we are already looking forward to next year - see you there.
To see more images from the event click here.
Photo Credits: Pete Hill & Red Bull Content Pool