Episode 011: ☵ (Water) Easkey Britton - Gifts from the Sea
Fluidity has been sewn deeply into the fabric of Easkey Britton’s essence. Being raised immersed in the land and sea, she struggles to recall a memory of an actual ‘first’ experience in or around water. This natural aquatic disposition, having evolved over a lifetime, has matured into her present almost hydrophilic form.
Sprouted from the salt-saturated and fertile soils of the Emerald Isle, that early nurture was a well-suited compliment to the nature of her family’s proud pioneering bloodline. Easkey’s brave and passionate nature is further punctuated by the story of her grandmother, who, inspired by her experience in the Malibu, California beach culture of the 1950s, returned home to Ireland with the first surfboards to ever reach their shores. While her grandmother’s intentions were to provide a form of exotic entertainment for the guests of her small, coastal inn, her sons – including Easkey’s father – had more lofty plans for the curious and cumbersome planks of foreign wood. It was not long before the boards were commandeered by the lot of them, as they proceeded to explore the near-shore waters of the wild Atlantic in a strange new way – through the majestic old-world dance of wave riding – in time becoming the first surfers in all of Ireland.
How I see it, it was, in part, these familial influences, flowing through generations like the Gharbhóg river, that crystallized her embrace of the gifts from the sea. It was these qualities that first caught my attention when I was watching a (now quite famous) TED™ Talk by Easkey. It was that Ted™ Talk that initially inspired me to reach out; if anything, I felt that it would be nice to thank her for the work she’s done, and, on a selfish level, see what I could soak up from her wisdom and insights. So, after connecting with Easkey via the digital landscape, and while drunk on a wave chasing whim and eager to find some sense of connection to my own heritage, I booked a ticket to go explore the land and seas of the Emerald Isle in person – and hopefully, meet up with Easkey in the process.
The vast Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Ireland may be the most consistently active and provocative dancer of all the seas. As such, she had me chasing her erratic moods swings like a fool in love, blindly seeking a fleeting embrace from shore to shore. Day in and day out, I tirelessly dedicated myself to the hunt, searching for some kind of fantastical aquatic bliss and possibly even a barrel-shaped pot of gold at the end of every emerging rainbow. During my time there, Easkey and I came close to crossing paths multiple times with near misses and the promise of rain checks. But, given the unpredictable nature of my quest and complete lack of itinerary, rain, it turned out, was the only event we could confidently bet on. But with some persistence and prioritizing (not so typical of surfers), we finally got to connect and sat down for a lovely chat in a beautiful seaside village just west of Sligo, in the Northwest of the island.
The small quaint café we chose encouraged our curiosity as we engaged small talk, getting to know one another, sharing recent travels, life events, and lofty ideas. After finishing our meal in the colorful sandy nook, we stepped outside beneath yet another rainbow-filled sky and took a stroll south along the storm-swept seashore. Seeking shelter from the brisk winds, we found a sunny patch of sand and reeds behind Standhill’s iconic rolling dunes. Once seated, a deeper conversation began that in time took on an aquatic quality, much like the majestic waters I had been seeking throughout my journey.
Over the course of our discussion, we dove into Easkey’s life story, current projects, exploration of far-out lands, becoming a surfing pioneer in her own right, all the gifts from the sea, and how those blessings have taught her more about living than any other source of insight in her life.
Drop in, tune up and enjoy the ride!