A. Watch a documentary about Grace Doyle. How did surfing help her through a difficult time in her life?

B. Watch the documentary again and complete the information with one or two words.

 Grace is from a small town in __________.

 She originally trained to be a __________ __________.

 She got interested in surfing when she was young because of her __________ __________.

 Grace has surfed abroad in places such as Central America, __________, and __________.

 The global surfing business is worth about a __________ billion __________.

 Grace thinks that media coverage is one reason why surfing has become __________ __________.

 According to Grace, people are attracted to surfing because it’s __________ and __________.

 If you fall off a big wave, you need to hold your __________ and __________.

 Grace enjoys the balance between the danger of injury and the chance she might get the __________ __________ of her life.

10   In highly competitive surfing, there’s a real risk that you could get __________ or even __________.



Surfing helped her to relax and get her mind off her problems.


1 Ireland

2 math teacher

3 older brother

4 Indonesia, Europe

5 hundred, dollars

6 so popular

7 healthy, fun

8 breath, relax

9 best wave

10 hurt, die


Riding the waves

N = narrator, G = Grace

N   Tramore is a small town on the south coast of Ireland. Its long and unspoilt stretch of coastline makes it very popular with tourists, and the ocean plays an important role in life here. Just ask local resident Grace Doyle. Grace is a qualified math teacher, but she decided to take a career break to pursue her lifelong love of surfing.

G   So, I started surfing at maybe eleven or twelve years old. But I always used to be in the ocean and playing on a bodyboard and I used to always know what surfing was and wanted to do it. My oldest brother got a surfboard lesson for his twenty-first birthday. And that eventually just got passed down to me as I grew up because my other brother started doing it. And then I wanted to do it naturally.

N   Each day Grace checks the weather conditions online. If the waves are good, she packs her boards, and drives to one of her favorite spots. Luckily, the Irish coastline offers plenty of places to surf due to its position in the Atlantic Ocean, attracting surfers from all over the world. Surfing as a sport is growing rapidly in Ireland, and reflects a global trend. Grace’s success in competitive surfing has led to several sponsorship deals, allowing her to chase waves all over the world.

G   I’ve been to a lot of places around the world – Central America, Indonesia, Europe. The best wave I’ve ever surfed is probably in Indonesia. So, the water’s warm, the waves are crystal clear and super clean. Part of it is because they’re bigger so I enjoy the bigger waves.

N   Today, there are an estimated thirty-five million surfers around the world and the industry has annual revenues of around one hundred billion dollars. How does Grace account for this growth in popularity?

G   There’s a lot of media coverage lately, a lot more than there used to be. So you’ve got like Facebook, and Instagram and YouTube and everything is just being put out there now, whereas years ago it would be quite hard, you’d have to wait for the magazines to come out to see the footage. People are seeing how healthy surfing is as a lifestyle. So if you surf, you’re out with nature, you’re exercising, you’re having fun, you’re getting everything in one go. So I think people are drawn to that because it’s something healthy and fun at the same time.

N   But surfing can be dangerous too.

G   I guess the scariest thing that’s happened to me as a surfer is being held down for quite a long time under the water. So you might fall off a wave and it’s quite a big wave. So it just holds you down for quite a long time. Once it happened to me in Indonesia, and I just thought that maybe it was the end, but then you always just come up. I’ve learned to relax. So when it happens, you know it’s going to be a long hold down. So you just have to rely on holding your breath and relax because if you panic, then you’re going to run out of breath faster.

 Does Grace enjoy the element of danger?

 To a point, like, it’s part of the adrenaline rush. So I would enjoy the element of danger in the sense of, like, I’m out in big waves and I know if I wipe out there’s a high risk, I’m going to get injured. But there’s also a high risk I’m going to get the best wave of my life. So I, I like that adrenaline rush.

N   And Grace knows that this can go too far.

G   I have seen people that are out in waves that they shouldn’t be out in. And you can see before it even happens, that stuff is going to happen to them. It’s a fine line in that sense that they’re putting everything and everything around them at risk, like, in terms of losing them, if they die. Because that’s…at that level of big wave surfing, if you wipe out, like, in those kind of waves it’s like, are you going to die or not? It’s not like, are you going to hurt yourself? It’s more like, are you going to come up?

N   As with all extreme sports, this element of danger is part of the attraction and it can be extremely addictive. Does Grace consider herself an adrenaline junkie?

G   Yeah, definitely because when you’re addicted to surfing, you’re addicted to that adrenaline rush. It’s just something you want to keep going back for more and more of. So you have a really, really good surf and you think you’re satisfied for like a week. But no, the next day, you’re like, ‘I want to do the same again.’ It’s definitely something that you’re drawn to time and time again. And I don’t think it’s just the adrenaline. It’s being out in nature and water. Like several times surfing has gotten me over difficult times in my life. So I lost my dad when I was sixteen. And surfing is what got me through that, surfing with my friends and people around here. There’s something about being in nature that sort of relaxes you and just gets your mind off everything else.

N   Grace has managed to organize her life around surfing. For her, and many others like her, it isn’t just an extreme sport, it’s a way of life.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This