30.12.13

Easkey Britton

5 Times Irish Surfing Champion and Phd

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Easkey was born into one of Ireland’s first families of surf on the North-West coast of Donegal so you could say she has surfing in the blood. She’s even named after the famous west coast break which can be translated to ‘fish’ in Irish. Taught by her Mum and Dad to surf when she was 4 years old, her life has revolved around surfing and the ocean ever since. Easkey got her first taste for adventure and travel when she went to Tahiti and surfed the infamous hell-wave Teahupoo aged just 16 and hasn’t looked back since. Surfing has given Easkey her drive and focus in life and she like to weave together all it’s elements; Competition – Ireland’s 5 x National Champion; Creative expression in writing, painting, art and dance; Facing fears – pioneering women’s big-wave surfing in Ireland and a Billabong XXL Global big-wave finalist; Exploring the unknown – most recently becoming the first woman to surf in Baluchistan, Iran, which was filmed for a documentary on French TV and led to the founding of Waves of Freedom; Environment and society – recently graduated with a PhD in human wellbeing and coastal resilience and currently doing post-doctoral research for the Too Big To Ignore project, a global partnership on sustainable small-scale fisheries. Easkey is also an inspirational speaker and recently gave an incredible talk for TEDX Dublin about the importance of living and sharing your passion and what we can achieve when we use that passion to connect with others.

Because I am a Girl I ask …why don’t we see, hear, share more stories about all the girls in the world doing amazing things – the unknown heroes, the women you should know?

Because I am a Girl I believe …in the power of positive role models to inspire others and create change, especially other women who step outside the box, say f-you to convention, expectations, norms, take risks and face fears, who lead, who dance, who play, who laugh, who cry and shout, who run with the wolves or the waves and howl at the moon, their own way. In turn, creating visions for girls and opening doors for new opportunities, so they can re-imagine future possibilities.

Because I am a Girl I hope …all girls and women will be free to realise their deepest desires and are supported to follow and grow their own passions to the fullest.

Because I am a Girl I wonder …what it would have been like to be one of those first surfers – in the drawings from Captain Cook’s voyage in the 1700s to the Hawaiian Islands, showing Polynesian women surfing together with men. Yes, women were among the first surfers! The first explorers from the western world described their skill and grace riding the crests of waves in unrestrained joy, equals to their male-counterparts. Somehow our true (surf) heritage has been lost in translation…

Because I am a Girl I dream …about the pull of the moon on the sea, tugging at my heart.

Because I am a Girl I remember …running wild in nature, building huts, dens, making traps and rafts and climbing the highest trees, higher than the boys in my class

Because I am a Girl I like … to express myself through what I love most, surfing. A girl or a woman surfing is an outward expression and celebration of the female form, beauty in action, her body flowing with the wave, powerful, light, free. Why can’t we see more of that? A woman truly in her element, expressing herself in her own way?

Because I am a Girl I dislike …the too-often one-dimensional, stereotypical and realistic portrayal of women and girls in the media. I dislike that in the world there still exists vast gender-based inequalities. How the ability to influence change in one’s life differs greatly for men and women. How women and girls are often most vulnerable when it comes to health and safety risks.

Because I am a Girl I feel …sexy when I am free to express my passion and do what I love, rather than fitting some image of what the commercial world/media/current fashion/social or cultural norms deems to be beautiful.

Because I am a Girl I celebrate…the girls and women who have gone before and shown me that other possibilities exist – the pioneers, the adventurers, the mothers, the artists, the warriors, the leaders – their grace and their grit.

The views expressed in all blogs, are those of the authors only and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of of Plan Ireland  

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