Along with a 20K prize cheque.
Six years ago, Noah Lane was battling it out on the Australian junior series alongside guys like Owen Wright and Stu Kennedy. And he did pretty well for himself — he won a contest, had plenty of sponsors, got invited along on a few magazine trips — but unlike a lot of talented surfers his age, the ‘QS grind didn’t appeal to him. He studied, he travelled, he found himself living in Ireland, where just last year he had a particularly good session at a pumping, icy cold left-hander, a session deemed so good in fact that it won one of Europe’s premiere online surfing competitions.
Tracks caught up with the powerful goofy-footer originally from Rainbow Beach on the Sunshine Coast to hear the finer details.
Tracks: So a former pro junior ripper from the Sunny Coast just won the Magicseaweed ‘Winter Session’ Award along with a twenty grand prize cheque—that sounds pretty wild! For those of us not familiar with the competition, can you explain how big of a deal it is over there?
Noah: Yeah for sure it's a bit of a spin out. I'm still just kinda catching my breath after the last few days. I suppose it started as a European-based competition but this year was expanded to include anywhere above 35 degrees North. There were quite a few entries from the US, the idea being that it's a ‘winter session’ shot in ninety seconds or less and is eventually decided by the surfers. MSW and the guys that developed the original concept have created a great platform. Or at least I think so!
Tell us about the session that won you the prize, it looked solid, cold, and fairly well pumping. Is that a wave you’ve had a fair bit of experience with and are those the kind of conditions Ireland serves up regularly, or was it a slightly rarer occurrence?
For the most part, Ireland in winter is tough as a surfer and the opportunities are infrequent and short-lived. In this respect, quite a few waves including the one in this clip are tricky to work out because you get such few and finite chances to figure them out. But for sure they're rewarding when you get a good session like the one in that clip. I live quite close by this wave so that definitely helps.
The full rubber combo of booties, gloves, suit and hood seems a world away from the board short temps you grew up with in Queensland. How does an Aussie shredder from the sunshine state find themselves living in Ireland and forging a reputation among such freezing cold waves?
I left Australia a few years ago on kinda the classic Euro trip but didn’t really expect to be surfing a whole lot. After a summer in Cornwall (where the waves were actually super fun) I came over to Ireland for a closer inspection with a mate and having met my now girlfriend Tara earlier that year, ended up staying. I guess one thing led to another as they do and I have a lot of people to thank along the way for that.
And just finally, how’s the surf scene over there? We all know there’s some heavy slabs on offer but aside from the hellmen are there a fairly regular bunch of mad-keen surfers getting around?
The scene is amazing here; really special. Everyone gets along, says hello in the water and just generally has a good time. It's like a big community no matter what you ride; bodyboard, stand-up, longboard. And for sure there are mad-keen everyday surfers here, a fair majority of which double as hellmen when it's big and scary.