Shape I'm In: Catching up with Irish pro surfer Easkey Britton

Ride on: Easkey Britton with her beloved surfboard.

Irish pro surfer Easkey Britton, doesn’t remember life before surfing.

“I started at four years of age — both my parents surfed, my dad still surfs it’s a lovely thing to share with him,” she says.

Naturally, when it came to naming their first child it was to the sea they looked to for inspiration.

“I’m named after a wave on the west coast of Ireland it’s also a place famous for surfing,” she says about her Donegal appellation.
A PhD in marine and environmental sciences has led to work with an international network of sustainable smallscale fisheries. “I work in Ireland but I move around a lot,” she says.

A member of Sandbox, which recognises global young game changers, last year she co-founded Waves of Freedom, following a trip to Iran in 2010, where she was the first woman to surf. It’s a non-profit initiative which sees surfing as a means of creating positive social change, especially for women.

Aged 28, she is reluctant to talk about her love life, saying there is “somebody”.

* Easkey is an Ambassador for Oxfam’s Female Hero campaign which encourages people name and celebrate their female hero (a mother, sister or friend), with a Hero card, Hero gift or Hero event — all profits go to the charity’s work with women worldwide. For details see:

What shape are you in?

I’m pretty surf fit. For surfing you need to be physically and mentally fit. So I do lots of yoga and I use breatheology, which calms everything down.

Have you any health concerns?

No, apart from pushing myself too hard to the edge of burnout. I’m learning to say no. You need to be in tune with what lights you up. What are your healthiest eating habits?

This last year my diet has changed radically and I now eat no meat except fish. Basically, I like things as natural as possible — super foods such as spirulina and raw cacao and maca for energy, especially for big-wave surfing.

What’s your guiltiest indulgence?

I tend not to deny myself too much. I love my younger sister’s pancakes served with maple syrup.

What would keep you awake at night?

Too many ideas sparking off. To switch off, I have a book that’s easy reading and I always keep a journal by my bed so I can write it all out of my system.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Wild and wonderful women like Irish artist Pauline Bewick, activist and actor Angelina Jolie, peace activist Ang San Suu Kyi and Hawiian surfer Rell Sunn. What’s your favourite smell?

It would have to be the sea breeze.

When it the last time you cried?

I both laugh and cry a lot — it’s a good relief.

What would you like to change about your appearance?

The good and bad are all a mark of who I am and what I’ve done in life.

What trait do you least like in others?

People who are not authentic and narrow mindedness. What trait do you least like in yourself?

My impatience. It’s great to get me fired up to do stuff, but less can be more.

Do you pray?

Yes, in my own way. The act of prayer recognises something bigger than ourselves and gives thanks for what we already have.

What would cheer up your day?

If the sun comes out to play — I am really affected by the weather. <


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