The Queensland-born surfer swapped sunshine for shamrocks, a coffee shop, and North-Atlantic juice. Excerpt from issue 580. On stands now ...
Ireland has been very good to Noah Lane since he relocated here. Watching him surf you can see straight away he’s been going hard at it from a very young age. The silky-smooth goofy-footer was raised by surfing parents on Rainbow Beach near Double Island Point in Queensland. With his easy-going manner, he has made some great friends while finding his niche in the wave-rich surfing town of Bundoran in County Donegal. Noah first came to the Emerald Isle in 2013 while holidaying in Cornwall. An English friend, Joel Gray, was helping organise a music festival and surf comp at Bundoran. Joel suggested to Noah he should come to Ireland for a weekend of fun and surf. Noah did just that. He won the surf comp and pocketed some welcome prize money too. Noah also met a lovely local gal, Tara, from Ballyshannon just up the road from Bundoran. Nature took its course and Ireland has kept getting better for the affable Aussie. In 2016 he won the $20,000 first prize for being crowned winner of Magic Seaweed and Monster’s best ‘Winter Sessions’ film clip. Not long after he and two Irish mates, Adam and Gerald, opened ‘Foam’, a popular coffee shop on the main street of Bundoran that sells seasonal organic food and healthy snacks. The business is going well again after closing down during the pandemic this past year. Noah says he is grateful to the Irish government that supported many businesses like his that were forced to pull the shutters during several lengthy lockdowns.
“We set this business up as an extension of our lifestyles, to fit in with the community here, celebrating the area with a fun space for others who enjoy doing the kind of stuff we do. It’s great to see people happy, out again with more hope for the future. What I really noticed this past year was how strong and close the community here was during such testing times. It’s great to be part of this seaside community,” he says appreciatively.
Noah also plays a vital part in the strong trajectory of younger local surfers, Conor Maguire and Gearoid McDaid, with their quest to paddle into bigger waves each winter. Noah is a couple of years older than Conor and Gearoid, but age difference means little when they are putting their lives on the line and looking out for each other while seeking thrills in giant surf at places like Mullaghmore. The trio rates highly among a hard-core crew of other chargers who are just as keen whenever the swell is booming. Getting familiar with reef breaks and big waves wasn’t the only thing Noah had to learn to get used to, coming from the sandbars of sunny warm Queensland.
“Yeah, wearing all that extra neoprene took a while to adjust to. But it’s the same with riding bigger waves, you know, the more you expose yourself to it, the more it becomes familiar, until it kind of reaches a certain level of normalcy. Not that I ever take the surf here for granted. It’s really challenging stuff, and I am so stoked to be progressing with guys like Conor and Gearoid.”
Noah’s not sure if he will ever move back home to live in Australia permanently. Just last week he was surfing and camping with some mates on the Outer Hebrides. He loves the idea of living in Ireland as a base to explore more of the surf in Europe and outer islands in the North Atlantic.
“Sure, I miss Australia with all the good stuff you get used to growing up there. But it’s also really nice to have a second home here where I feel pretty settled now. Besides, we got ourselves a young dog last week, so that’s another attachment here that will be hard to leave,” he says laughing.
Speaking with Noah, and reading between the lines, you get the impression that with his sincere surfing lifestyle, his partner Tara, their loyal hound and a plethora of reef breaks to enjoy and perform on, it would never be an easy thing for him to leave Ireland altogether. Besides, too many of us would miss his good coffee.
To read more of Australian expat Wayne Murphy's colourful insights on Ireland grab a copy of issue 580. On sale now.