My Movement: How I Fell In Love With Surfing
"It makes me feel more positive and happy within myself"
We chat to surf coach and RNLI volunteer Grace Doyle about her love of surfing, and why you don’t need to be an expert to hit the waves.
Were you always into fitness?
I’ve always been a very active person. I played nearly every sport in school, but all of my focus went into competitive swimming from a young age. I trained 10-12 hours a week in the early mornings before school, with fitness training alongside of that. I’ve always kept up my love for fitness and the water, even though I don’t compete in swimming anymore. I used to also train a lot as a beach lifeguard which led to competing on the Irish Surf Lifesaving team for many years at international events.
How did you first find surfing?
I always loved the ocean from a young age. One of my older brothers got surf lessons as a gift for his 18th birthday. He fell in love with it, which then trickled down to my other brother and myself. I became hooked on surfing pretty fast, probably around the age of 12.
View this post on Instagram
What do you love most about surfing?
It’s a bit of a cliche but it’s true what they say “Only a surfer knows the feeling”. There’s so much I love about surfing. The freedom, the adrenaline, and the overall feel-good factor of surfing a wave. Surfing is powerful, rewarding and energising, and that energy from a good surf resonates with me for hours or even days afterwards. It’s definitely addictive.
Do you think there are any misconceptions about surfing?
I think in the past there may have been some negative misconceptions about surfers in general, but luckily for me, and perhaps in Ireland in general, growing up, I have always seen and experienced surfing as a very healthy, enjoyable (maybe even tough) and rewarding activity.
How do you stay motivated?
In the depths of winter in Ireland, it can often be hard to be motivated to get into the sea. However, having the right equipment, eating well and keeping up the training in the gym or the pool on the non-surfing weeks helps a lot. You need a lot of energy for a 2 hour surf session, so that motivates me to eat healthy and keep my fitness levels up.
View this post on Instagram
What is your advice for people looking to get into surfing?
Surfing isn’t about being the next best thing. You can enjoy surfing at any level, from a beginner to an advanced surfer. So the advice is to just get out there and have fun. Book a lesson if you’re new to surfing, or if you’ve already had some lessons, then get out there and practice. It’s so important to know your limits and comfort zones too, so as not to get yourself in danger, so it’s always a good idea to get some lessons to get started.
Why is movement important to you?
Movement is important to me for both my physical and mental health. It makes me feel more positive and happy within myself, but also more energised. It’s really important to me that I will be able to surf when I am much older and therefore, looking after my body now is important!
How do you like to unwind and relax when you’ve had a busy week and you’re not doing this?
Spending time with my friends, walks, cold water swims, camping, watching a good movie or documentary, going to festivals or gigs, reading, or often just finding a nice spot to park up my van and chill out/work remotely from there. Ireland is a pretty amazing country for that! I also am an RNLI volunteer crew member in my home town, which means being on call for emergency lifeboat sea rescues. I enjoy training for this and being a part of a great local crew.