‘I surf alone a lot here,’ says cold-water surfer Sophie. ‘There aren’t many people who surf around here so it’s always very calm and peaceful.’
‘Recently, I was out surfing on my own on a stormy and a full blizzard came in. It was below zero and a virtual white-out, freezing cold and the salt water and wind whipping me in the face. It was so cold! And I just burst out laughing. It’s good to feel alive – I guess that’s one of the best things about cold water.’
Sophie Hellyer is based in County Clare, Ireland and is part of the esteemed Finisterre surfing collective. She has a deep respect for the health of the ocean and of the land and is part of a team running an organic community garden.
‘I just love being in the water. I wouldn’t say I love paddling, but if there’s no surf, I’ll still put my wetsuit on, jump in the sea and just go for a swim in the middle of the winter cause I like being in the ocean. It’s a huge part of me.’