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Ambassadors: 2018 Commitments

We asked our Ambassadors to share their thoughts and commitments for 2018, both personal and in relation to the water. Here's what they had to say.

Matt Smith

My journey in 2018 is to stay with what is real. To connect with my breath and body as often as I can, always if possible. My first time surfing heavy waves in 2018 as waves were coming towards me I remembered my breath and breathed deep into my lower stomach, it connected me to the now. I was able to feel the wave and connect with the moment and subsequently rode the wave with more flow. It’s so exciting. My intention for waves, feel them more. I’d love to take off my buoyancy aid vest during heavy sessions and feel safer alone. The cold and winters are just a part of my life as the warm long days of summer. As I have been living with the seasons more I am growing fonder of the dark nights and frigid waters. Adventure and progression is something that has been a driving feeling I have searched for; although I don’t travel as far and wide, those aspects of my life are still strong within me. I am very grateful to live in a climate like Ireland and lucky to be warm and loved. 

Fergal Smith

2017 was a huge year for me and my family, and I feel this year will be even bigger. My eldest girl Sunshine will be 4 this year and youngest Grá will be 1. I'm looking forward to them both running around the farm and getting in the ocean. We plan to feed over 100 families this year and although I know we can do it it’ll be hard work. I struggle with the work and play balance but I have just come across these amazing wooden surfboards made by a Frenchman living in Ireland. It makes me feel good to be supporting people who care and are making products in healthier ways. I am very excited to ride these boards, wearing Finisterre clothes and wetsuits. Here is to a great year everyone! Keep your direction towards the light and I hope to see you along the journey.

Noah Lane

Since first visiting Ireland nearly 5 years ago, my life has moved in a way I'd never have imagined and I've developed a fascination with the colder climate and temperamental weather of the Northern Hemisphere. Surfing as an outlet, has been with me all my life, at times both imprisoner and escape. I'm looking forward to exploring more of these places both visceral and physical in 2018.

Easkey Britton

The time has come to shake off the covers, to take a stand, to give voice to (y)our story, to be seen and heard. To give expression to what it means to be a woman who surfs cold-water, to recover the femininity of surfing - the sensuality of the experience, how we feel our environment through all our senses, the fluidity of water, how we are in movement with waves, a water dance.

The world I want to see is one where it’s no longer a novelty to see a woman taking the lead and holding her own in a (big wave) feature documentary, without a single gratuitous ass-shot. Instead, I want to see a norm where gender isn’t a differentiating factor anymore. A world where we are able to represent ourselves the way we wish to be - where we have the freedom (and support) to authentically express who we are.

I realised I was responsible - I, you, we are the only ones who can make change happen, by each of our individual actions combined. A coming together that leads to a collective movement. {Read more here}

Sandy Kerr

The east coast has had an amazing run, starting at the end of October with three swells in as many weeks; almost unheard of. When looking back over yesteryear sessions there is always a slight view of them through rose tinted glasses. It started with a bang after a very poor summer for waves when a big North swell with favourable winds popped up we all got pretty excited, the first swell had a lot of hype with people traveling from all over to get to the east coast for four days, surprisingly the swell delivered and it was up there with one of the best swells I have ever seen. Even more surprisingly, a few days after this swell another started to line up. This continued right through November and most of December and even when I’m writing this them lows keep tracking over the north. Some are calling it the best winter in ten years; some our best ever. All I know is that over the past few months I’ve had some of the best waves of my life, right on my doorstep, without the need for rose tinted glasses and that's pretty special.

My plans for 2018 are to try and get over to Ireland in Jan if the charts pop up but at the minute it doesn’t look too good and the east coast still has waves, so I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

I start work for the RNLI again in February so that will consist of setting up the lifeguards for the 2018 season and pushing forward to getting drowning preventions messages to kids and teenagers all over the Northeast. 

But, as always, I want to be super available for swells that pop up in UK, Ireland and Scotland. Also, still in the early stages but hopefully I will spending time helping the charity City Kids Go Surf.

Sam Bleakley

In the last few months I’ve been to Sri Lanka, Taiwan, India and I am currently in China.

The Sri Lanka visit was working with Soul & Surf (a sustainable surf and yoga retreat with centres in India and Sri Lanka) to show some Brilliant Corners films and develop a free educational course for local surfers to showcase creative ideas about sustainable surf tourism that I will teach out there later in the season.

In Taiwan, I was working with the WSL to commentate at the final event of the WSL World Longboard Championships, and in my usual style I stayed with old friend and Donghe local (where the event was held) Baybay Niu and her family, which put me right on the pulse with local surfing in the area. A big draw of travel for me is building bridges with local surf communities, particularly in emerging surf cultures.

Most recently I have spent one month in India on the annual residency I do with my family at Soul & Surf in Kerala (for me the highlight of every year). This is my third consecutive season running a residency, and while my wife works as a massage therapist part time during the residency, and the kids get hands on in the cafe and around the site and in the water, I teach one to one surf workshops for all levels. 

Next up in 2018 is Hainan Island, China, where I’ll work as a commentator for the ISA World Longboard Championships. I’ve been travelling to Hainan regularly since 2009 and first visited in 2001, so I’ve seen the surf culture evolve here, and it’s still grassroots and very dynamic. I have a strong network of Chinese surfers who I love to spend time with. They are powerful voices for a contemporary China: bi-lingual, cosmopolitan, intellectual, environmentally aware and passionate about the ocean.

My other plans for 2018 include finishing the 2nd Brilliant Corners series on Sierra Leone, Oman, Ghana, Philippines and Mauritania to deliver all the assets to the distributor TVF by the end of February so they can start selling the series to TV internationally. Then I aim to start raising funds to shoot a 3rd Brilliant Corners series. I am also hoping to be commentating at WSL events in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, showing the Brilliant Corners Mauritania film at the Shore Shots surf film festival in Ireland with Easkey Britton, and starting to write my new book on Mindfulness and Surfing.

There are many other things, but that’s enough for now…   

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