We sat down with one of our favorite Irish surfers, Grace Doyle, a member of the Irish Surf Team competing in Ireland and on the UK Pro Surf Tour. You can read more about Grace on her blog gracedoylesurfer.blogspot.com.
Cleary Coastal: Where in Ireland do you live?
Grace Doyle: Tramore, Co. Waterford, but I work in Co Meath so currently living in Trim, but I also spend a lot of time on the West and North West coast with friends and surfing, so you could say half of my life is In my car!
CC: What age did you start surfing at and who influenced you to do so?
GD: I have always been a water baby and don’t remember exactly when I made the transition from body board to surfboard but I would say it was around twelve years old thanks to the influence of two of my older brothers who also surf and gave me my first big fiberglass board to practice on before I started to buy my own custom boards.
CC: When you started out surfing did you surf for fun?
GD: Yeah for sure, I always surf for fun! I used to mess around on a body board and then just sort of fell into surfing because of my brothers and because I spent so much time at the beach. Also, when I started beach lifeguarding when I was old enough, It was always good fun to go surf before and after work and at lunch time!
CC: How do you celebrate Irish culture as a surfer?
GD: Rocking up to a local surf spot at home and surfing it with just family and a few friends can be pretty surreal. It’s different to surfing in the tropics and other popular surfing destinations. With the colder temperatures in the winter and bleaker, less tropical conditions. We obviously have to wear warmer suits and hoods and gloves and boots throughout the winter. Usually there is flasks of hot water or flasks of tea involved for before/after surf. People hang around for coffee and chat after. It is definitely more personal and I definitely feel at home when I surf in Ireland.
CC: Are you passionate about any other hobbies?
GD: I love to swim a lot as I used to be a competitive swimmer and a Surf Lifesaver at National and International level in both sports. I also just enjoy going to the gym and keeping fit in general! I enjoy taking in part in most sports whenever I get a chance, although I never went down the GAA route!
CC: What music do you enjoy listening to?
GD: I listen to large variety of music, mainly chill house music or upbeat songs for all my long drives. My favourite Irish band would probably be the Coronas.
CC: What advice would you give to surfers new to the sport?
GD: Keep on trying and don’t give up. Don’t start on a board that is too small for you. Ask your shaper and maybe a few others for advice. Take advice on board from others and just have fun!
CC: Who inspires you most when it comes to surfing?
GD: The top girls on tour are all ripping at the moment. I like to follow Steph Gilmore, Carissa Moore, Tyler Wright and Courtney Conlogue!I I also look up to my older brother who rips and got me into surfing and encouraged me and believed in me that I could improve and surf bigger and better waves!
CC: What's the best thing about surfing in Ireland?
GD: The best thing is probably that we have some of the best waves in the world but without the heavy crowd factor. There are times where it is crowded but when you get those sessions with just a few others like your family and friends out, it makes it all worthwhile and keeps you smiling for days. I also love to warm up after the surf and wrap up in warm clothes or climb under a blanket. There is something satisfying about coming in from a cold surf and just warming up and eating a good Irish stew or roast dinner :)
CC: Thanks Grace, you are an inspiration! We'll be following you on your adventures! Find out more about Grace by reading her blog gracedoylesurfer.blogspot.com.