Lockdown Hasn’t Taken Everything from Ali Bryans, Brand Ambassador

Wild Atlantic Surf Co are committed to living life the Wild Way. Our attitudes are embodied in our Brand Ambassadors, like Ali Bryans. Ali is an advocate of the ‘no shoes, no worries’ lifestyle and a valued member of the sea loving community. Read Ali’s experience of how she was able to form meaningful connections, revitalise her surfing soul and get creative with The Wave Project NI all during the national lockdown. 

Restrictions across the UK and Ireland meant that surfers couldn’t travel to the one place they feel most at home, the sea. The sea provides so much opportunity for adults, kids, families and friends to enjoy fun water activities altogether like surfing, paddle boarding and sea swimming. When lockdown took this away from Ali, she found something equally as special… Creativity and Meaningful Connections. 

Ali begins, 

Creativity and Meaningful Connections… Lockdown hasn’t taken everything

We’re a full year into lockdown life and let’s just say it hasn’t been the best year for most of us. There have been frustrations, tears and worries galore but having stopped to reflect on things to write in this post, I suppose the change in the pace of life has made way for some pretty awesome connections and experiences and has definitely given me the time needed to let creative juices flow.

During the strictest periods of lockdown, travelling to the sea for a surf wasn’t permitted. This was massively frustrating for me as getting in the water for a surf, a paddle on the SUP or even just in for a dip is something that really keeps my head straight. The sea is my lifeline and has been for many years.

It was during the times when travel restrictions were in place that I had to channel my feelings and energy in other ways. Enter, art. I’ve always been into music and art. Playing piano, painting, doodling and creating have always been things I’ve enjoyed but this escalated quite a bit over the past year and a common theme is fairly easy to spot. I love painting with acrylic on canvas and using alcohol inks on Yupo paper to create abstract pieces with a focus on colour and texture. More often than not, you can see the sea and sunset skies creeping into almost everything I do.

As well as having a little more time to focus on letting the creative juices flow, I also got stuck into my first van conversion. She’s a little VW Caddy Maxi called Roxy and that was another cool project. Roxy is the perfect companion for surf trips.

And lastly, but definitely not least, although many connections were taken away through lockdowns and restrictions, I still had the opportunity to form friendships and meet some of the coolest young people through The Wave Project NI Charity. I got involved a year ago and can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The Wave Project NI is run by Carla Magee (local legend) and provides vital support for vulnerable young people in NI through surf therapy. The young people who we work with through The Wave Project NI are amazing and I’ve made some really class friendships with the other instructors and mentors. 

For anyone interested in helping out, check out The Wave Project NI. It’s the best team of people providing surf therapy for the coolest kids.

So, looking back, I suppose it hasn’t been too bad at all. Here’s to brighter days ahead full of sea, creativity and more connections with the good souls of the world.

So much salty love and sunshine vibes,

Ali B.

March 12, 2021 — Andrew Marsden