IN the heart of Basildon, just off Cranes Farm Road, there is an oasis of water where you can give wakeboarding a go.
Anna Butcher realised a while back that there weren’t many women getting involved at Festival Wakeboard and Aqua Park.
She set about making wakeboarding accessible and fun for them by setting up Shred Sisters.
Launching in May, the all-female group meet on Sunday mornings one hour before the park opens and then they continue for another two hours.
“That quiet hour in the morning really makes a difference,” explains Anna.
“The women have a chance to settle in and practice in the water before the park opens.”
Anna has been supported in her efforts by general manager Bill Turp and manager Dee Bailey.
“They are brilliant and have created a lovely positive environment here, giving me reign to create Shred Sisters.”
Since launching the sessions Anna has seen a big changes in the women.
She said: “Many women have anxiety that they can’t wakeboard and they don’t feel safe to make mistakes. We set goals together and l support them so they see their progression.
“I found they achieved all the goals in that first session so we had to go back and set more! I had some ladies the other week trembling with fear before the session then screaming with joy afterwards.”
Anna had chronic fatigue at age 23 and her dad suggested they go to Egypt to learn to kite surf. “There was no wind so I gave wakeboarding a go, and it clicked,” said Anna, 30.
Bill and Dee head up the team and they accommodate beginners and experienced wakeboarders.
The fun aqua park is a open and costs £20 per person for an hour session for ages six and up.
Dee joined the team last February having been a support worker for severely disabled girl for 18 years.
“It was a change of direction for me but I am a real water-lover and have volunteered for Hanningfield Sailability and I have a powerboat licence,” said Dee, 55.
“I love working here, they make sure people who are new to it are supported and the whole team wants them to succeed.”
Visit www.festwake.com and for Shred Sisters contact Anna on Instagram @shredsistersoffest.