This month we were delighted to welcome back ex-pro surf champion and Team GB star, Croyde’s very own Laura Crane. Many of you will know Laura from her Love Island days back in 2018. Since then, Laura has launched Seasio Wellbeing, an ocean based living retreat based here in Croyde. The surf session element of the retreat are all here with us at Surf South West. We’ve known Laura since she was eight. We taught her how to surf and we couldn’t be more proud of her. We always look forward to her return – she’s family. So, here’s a little interview we did as we thought you’d like to know more about her. Laura tells us more about her love of the ocean, her mental health challenges and why she set up Seasio to help others benefit from ocean therapy. Can you tell us a little bit about growing up in Croyde and how you got into surfing? My family and I used to head to Croyde most weekends just to be near the sea. We finally decided to make the full move from Bristol when I was eight. My dad already loved surfing and I soon followed in his footsteps. I got my first ever surf lesson and of course, it was with Surf South West because they’re the BEST, right? I caught the infamous surf bug instantly. The rest is history. I remember getting in the school bus every morning and driving around the headland was like the best wave check ever. If the waves were good there was little chance I was making it to the end of the bus journey! Croyde’s surf community is one of the tightest communities in the world. We all know how lucky we are to have this absolute gem of a wave in our backyards and our whole life revolves around it. What does being in the Ocean mean to you? It’s my EVERYTHING. It’s the one place that can just clear my mind, totally. It’s safe yet exciting and I spend my whole life doing what I can to be in it as much as possible. The ocean is my best friend and has always been, ever since that first day. It has no judgement and no pressure, just pure love. You had a successful surfing career and were part of Team GB for many years. Did you enjoy the competitive environment or did you find it stressful? I absolutely loved my years competing for Team GB. When I look back, yes, it was very stressful but as with any job, it’s how you digest the stress and use it as a power that counts. The line between “stress” and the need to win is a fine one. You must have control over it or else it’s easy to forget why you started. What does surfing mean to you now? Is it still part of your healthy lifestyle? Yes, in all walks of my life whether it be crazy, chilled surreal or hit with reality, there is always one thing that is constant and that is the ocean. I love this concept because for a surfer like me, being in so many different scenarios can feel VERY VERY unnatural at the start. Knowing I have a safe space in this world at all times fills me with a sense of security. Surfing is still my biggest passion but in a different way to when I was competing. I now love it because of the way it makes me feel inside. Sharing special memories in the ocean with friends or teaching new people how to find their own safe space in the ocean is so special. Can you tell us about Seasio Wellbeing, why you founded it and what the brand stands for? Seasio is a ocean based wellness retreat. The name Seasio came from the idea we can get a form of physiotherapy from the sea. I started Seasio after suffering from my own personal mental health battles. I realised the one thing that could help me find myself again, was right there in front of me – the Sea. I just want to share this with as many people as possible. From cold water swims and catching your first wave to meditation and yoga in one of the most special places in the world – Croyde. For me, it’s all about watching that light in people shine even brighter when they are connected to the ocean. I just feel pure joy when I’m sharing that love and knowledge through the power of the sea. It’s something super beautiful. I truly believe if everyone had some connection to the ocean it would be a happier world, Your next retreat is in Croyde, Sept 1-4th 2022. Can you tell us a little bit more about the retreat and who would benefit from it? The retreat is situated at the top of Croyde giving you the most beautiful views from the moment you unzip your tent in the morning. Seasio is open to EVERYONE. This is something I wanted to be really clear about, right from the start. As the sea does, we do too. Whether you have never surfed a wave in your life or you’re the next Kelly Slater or Clarissa Moore, you’re welcome here with Seasio. We are all a family. We love to see everyone sharing stories over the campfire about new skills they’ve unlocked, their new view on yoga or their happiness about just doing a simple beach clean. There is never any pressure to do anything on our retreat – oh, apart from the beach clean, that’s compulsory :-). It’s all about finding yourself, the real you and taking what you want from your time with us. What are your plans for the future, will it always involve the Ocean? Plans for the future are super exciting. Launching Seasio and sharing my biggest passion with others has been a dream of a lifetime. Now we want to see how many other people we can touch with this incredible ocean wellness lifestyle. For me there will be more surf trips (for market research of course!) and just generally more time exploring this new relationship I have with the ocean. It’s a relationship that is constantly evolving, just like waves breaking on the shore. It’s ever changing. I love it. If you’d like to join Laura on her next amazing Seasio Wellbeing Retreat on Sept 1st - 4th in Croyde, pop over to www.seasiowellbeing.com now.