Time spent in and out of the water with our ambassadors is vital; they form the basis of our cold water community and have done since the beginning. Reconnecting with Tom and the team in Ireland a few months back, filmmaker and friend Luke Pilbeam captured what it means to be a Finisterre ambassador.
Creating an ambassador programme for Finisterre started back in 2007, when we first met big wave rider Carlos Burle. Carlos had come to Ireland with Tom and Ernie to chase a swell, and as thick, heavy waves exploded around them, it was clear that Carlos felt invigorated by these natural surroundings and what Finisterre had set out to do.
Ten years later the people we are lucky enough to call ambassadors and work with are a unique bunch. United by a common love of the sea, yet each forging their own path and with it the potential to effect change. With a clear brand vision and firm promise, we search hard for people who can share our outlook and from whom we can learn.
November saw the team gather for the first time deep in NW Ireland. For some this was the first meet, for others a welcome reunion of familiar faces. We walked far, ate well, surfed hard and lived for a while, sharing stories. Every one of us had been introduced to the sea by our parents, be they surfers, farmers, teachers or sailors. The conversation moved onto how it had shaped our lives, and shed light on what may lie in our futures.
A lot went on in 2016 for the Finisterre Ambassadors. Fergal Smith stood as a candidate in last year’s Irish General Election and worked up on the Moy Hill Community Farm, showing us how to reconnect to the land. Noah Lane continued to push the boundaries of cold water surfing, winning the Wave of the Winter. Our team manager Matt Smith co-founded Backwash, a print anthology about surf and culture, as well as Hometree, an Irish re-forestation initiative. Easkey Britton finished her doctorate and founded Waves of Freedom. Sam Bleakley also finished his PhD, flying to all corners of the globe using surfing to affect change and deliver a positive social impact. Newcomer Sandy Kerr got engaged to his childhood sweetheart Rachel, bought a house and is spreading the word of surf and healthy living to younger generations in the North East.
We left with a further shared sense of purpose and common ground, excited to see where our paths take us in 2017 and beyond.
Film by Luke Pilbeam | Photography by David Gray