Team manager and ambassador Matt Smith writes about Hometree, a new project emerging from Moy Hill Farm in Ireland. By planting and reforesting trees, it's a community effort to reconnect with nature and assume responsibility to protect the land we live on.
I have been working part time for Finisterre for a decade. I have camped in fields, stayed in hotels, flown, sailed and cycled to get to shoots and meetings. I have worn jackets made from recycled plastics, jumpers from sheep's wool and since managing the ambassador program, I have both signed off on people flying to surf a special wave for just a few hours but also encouraged ambassadors to take the bus. It’s not always easy to choose the best environmental practice. We have to weigh up the balance of ethics and morality, using our inner compass for guidance.
When I first started planting trees, I knew that it could be a real tangible solution towards many of the environmental problems we face as a global community. Each time a native tree reaches its roots into the ground and grows, it supports the ecosystem around it. Some trees help fix the soil, some breath deep, replenish our oxygen supplies whilst others make homes for other creatures around it. Much like the oak, which can support up to 450 other species, us being one of them.
When myself, Fergal Smith and Mitch Corbett started Hometree, a woodland foundation in Ireland, I called Tom Kay and asked his advice about engaging with the surf and business communities. His advice was invaluable, and I was humbled by Finisterre’s contribution, donating 500 trees to be planted on the west coast of Ireland.
These little saplings have grown in the year they have been in the ground; their leaves have started budding and they are breathing out the oxygen we now breath. We often show films about how wonderful surfing is in Ireland. People come for the magical feel of the land and waves beyond our dreams, but knowing that we have created home for other creatures and added fertility to the soil is a wonderful feeling.
We care deeply about the land that we live on and strive to honour it in our commitment to the environment. If you are ever on the west coast of Ireland near Lahinch, call upon the farm in Moy; witness these guys budding and growing each year; stand on the hill overlooking the cliffs of Moher, surrounded by saplings that will be around long after we are.