Tullan Strand, a beach I surf at a lot. It’s beautiful at all times of day and all year round. I have even ran along the beach in hail showers. It means a lot to me in the context of this journey. It’s quite the backdrop.- Lauren.
Well, hello there! I’m buzzing to be a part of this wonderful project sharing the stories of those who are busting their asses to reach for their dreams. It’s a brilliant idea on Marjo’s part. My name is Lauren. Some people call me Loz. My mammy calls me Laurie. ‘Looney’ might have been a more appropriate name. I’m Irish; proud of it too. I dig my own culture and I’m passionate about experiencing and learning about other world cultures too. The world is a wonder. The people in it -in my view- are part of what makes it such a wonder.
I grew up on the outskirts of Dublin, close to the mountains where I spent a lot of my weekends hiking and being beneath the blue sky (ok, maybe more grey skies than blue). I have always loved the outdoors and since I was about 16 I knew I wanted to be an Outdoor Instructor.
I have many loves and passions though and I always had a talent for academics so I was pulled into the Leaving Cert, Points, College application game that exists here. After trying two different college courses (the first Maths, the second Journalism and French) I am pursuing the dream I have had since I was 12 and met a Kayaking instructor on Achill Island.
Last Summer I worked my butt off in a hotel bar to save money for a private course in Bundoran (which is here). The course was an intro for me to this journey towards becoming a Surf Instructor. I spent many holidays as a teenager doing surf lessons and remember the exact lesson in Strandhill when I decided it was a job I’d like to pursue;
My mam had brought me Wesht for a surf break for my birthday and I had talked to one of the instructors about why he did what he did. He had a sunkissed face and a smile that beamed. I remember him jumping in the water being excited for everyone as they flopped about on foamies. As we talked a small wave barrelled as it went by. ‘You spend so long as a surfer trying to get there, but when you do,’ he paused, ‘it’s just…amazing.’ At the end of the lesson it was high fives and well dones to everyone and the feeling of being excited for other people and spreading positivity overwhelmed me. I was enthralled by the idea of getting barrelled. Being inside the wave. I had often thought I’d like to teach but never liked the role of classroom teacher. This gave me an alternative.
As I plodded down the beach my mam greeted me and I promptly tripped over the leash which was dragging on the ground. Kook. My mam laughed and said, ‘It’s like a ball and chain’. She was right. Surfing has been my ball and chain ever since. It’s always been on my mind. It’s always been that for which my heart beats.
This September was the first time I had surfed for a long time. I fell out of it in my late teens because of school and college and notions. It was like being a total beginner all over as my body was the least fit, least flexible, most unbalanced it has been in years.
Slowly, over the months I have been living here I am regaining my balance in life. I’m looking after my health more and being kinder and truer to myself.
Since my course ended in November (which was 10 weeks of having the craic and surfing 2-3 times a day) I have been working and have been fortunate enough to get lifts with another instructor course run by the same incredible group of people. I’m not technically on the course however, and this allows me the flexibility of choosing which days I work and which days I train.
My exams to become a qualified Surf Instructor are on the 7th of April. The qualification takes place over a week and includes a Water Safety certification too. The exam is to show an intermediate level of surfing, meaning the ability to control your board, paddle out back (behind breaking waves), catch an unbroken wave and go left, catch and unbroken wave and go right, pop-up cleanly to your feet, and maintain control and drive while riding the wave.
Sometimes I can do these things. Sometimes I can’t. I’m pretty chuffed with how far my surfing has come in just a few months and I’m confident I will only continue to improve. I’m excited to share the challenges and triumphs of my journey with you here.
It’s going to be good!
Love, Lauren xx
About the author:
Lauren is a spark of life. Irish at heart, she brings joy and simplicity wherever she goes. She knows how to connect with people and has always a fun story to share. Her goal is to become a surf instructor. But her mission is to find balance in her life, and help others find theirs. It’s all about the community or all about Nutella. Yes, she’s the one that emptied the last jar. You can find her beautiful writing and personality here on the blog.