Out of left field – Trinity Surf Club

Chair Luke Carey discusses trips, getting involved and finding his place in college

For those who have grown up in an Irish climate, the thought of trekking out to a secluded beach to ‘catch a wave’ is one which likely provokes a feeling of dread rather than excitement. To many, surfing means a variety of things. It means damp wetsuits, harsh winds, and the very real prospect of self-induced hypothermia. To Luke Carey on the other hand, the Chair of Trinity Surf, this niche sport means so much more than that. It means “really welcoming people, a class buzz,” and a “Halloween trip to the uncharted land of Donegal”. 

Carey wouldn’t describe himself as a sporty person, so to find himself at the helm of a sporting society was never really in the plan. “I was never very sporty at all, in fact, I wasn’t a devout follower of many, if any, sports either… my heart was never really in it,” he explained. “When I came to college though, my older brother James encouraged me to sign up for loads of different societies. One of the ones he especially suggested was the surf club as he was treasurer at the time. Once he told he about how fun all the trips were, and about the kind of people who go on them, I was sold!” Since then, Carey has not looked back. Like many others before him, he has embraced the “soundness” of the surf society, noting that it offers a more relaxed approach to society life in general. 

Central to Trinity Surf are the trips that they offer. Their flagship event, Wind Wave Rave, is held in Lahinch, and is a good way for freshers to get involved in the society. For Carey, it was one of his first college experiences and one which he looks back on with great fondness: “I was stunned by how welcoming the people were… everyone was really genuinely interested in spending time with each other, and I ended up coming home from that weekend having met lots of incredible people, who I went on to become close friends with. It was my first glimpse of college really.” 

“It was the first time I had been a part of a sporting atmosphere that was more focused on enjoyment than competition.”

While age is not a factor in the surf society, neither is skill, if Carey is to be believed. This makes for a considerably less intimidating environment than would be the case in larger sporting societies on campus. “I had surfed maybe twice before that trip, but it really didn’t matter. Regardless of your skill, anyone could go into the water and have fun. There is nothing competitive about it, just a load of people having the craic.” This unique aspect of Surf soc is key to their success: “It was the first time I had been a part of a sporting atmosphere that was more focused on enjoyment than competition. After the event, I was elected first year rep, and then the surf club became my college life.” 

One of Carey’s favourite aspects of life in Trinity Surf is “leaving the hustle and bustle of Dublin City on a Friday morning, and spending the weekend in stunning, incredibly remote places. You really get a sense of Ireland… They’re magical.” In terms of the year ahead, Carey seems keen to open up the society “from a niche group to a more prominent setting”. Praising his “incredible committee”, he emphasises how they “have already added so much to the club”. 

“It was also an opportunity for members to bond as “close to half of the people there were first years.””

Surf soc has plenty more events happening this year. Wind Wave Rave aside, which is a “mammoth event ran in collaboration with our good friends at Sailing, Wind & Wake, and DUDJ, hosting 200 people”, the Surf Club also offers a Halloween trip every year: “sixty to seventy people attend. In the past two years, we have taken this trip to Achill and cosied up in granny-like cottages. Everyone can surf, enjoy the scenery, the live trad music, and some of Trinity’s best DJs!” The Society’s most ambitious venture is undoubtedly their international trip. “This is a week-long Hilary Term reading week excursion! Last year, we moved it from Morocco to Fuerteventura. Seventy of us went to this volcanic, mars-like island together.” It was also an opportunity for members to bond as “close to half of the people there were first years. Nobody really knew each other that well to begin with, but through sharing some sun, the beach and some pints, everybody ended up becoming best friends… even a few romances blossomed.” Evidently, it appears that the surf club has a little something for everyone. 

From talking to Carey, it is clear that the Surf Club promotes a welcoming environment. Crucially, it is one where participation is more important than proficiency, and given its wide range of activities, from international trips to local excursions, it is one of college’s hidden gems.

Jonathon Boylan

Jonathon Boylan is a Deputy Sports editor of Trinity News, and a Junior Sophister Law student.