Surfer from landlocked Co Tyrone reaches World Championship

A surfer from landlocked Co Tyrone is just back from the World Championships in El Salvador.

Maia Monaghan, 23, surfs the waves of the Atlantic Ocean from Rossnowlagh Beach in Co Donegal.

"There's plenty of waves here in Ireland, some of the best waves in the world really - just the water is a bit colder than abroad," Maia said.

"It was an amazing experience to compete over in El Salvador and I had a great time competing with the rest of the Irish team - a once in a lifetime experience really.

Maia grew up in Fintona just outside Omagh and learnt to surf through the club at Rossnowlagh.

"I grew up just outside Omagh so I was actually very lucky to have a chance to come and spend most of my summers here," she said.

Amongst her surfing, Maia is also about to graduate from a five-year medicine degree.

"It's all just about finding the balance so there's only so much you can study without starting to fry your head so it's always to get into the water and wash off all the stress and worries."

Along with competing at World Championship level, she, along with a fellow surfer, has started the Rossie Rippers - a group made up of nine to 15 year olds.

By teaching surfing skills to these young people, Maia said she had seen the confidence of the girls increase, especially at an age where sports participation levels may decline.

"I have been watching them over the past couple of years and the rest of the group as well - there's just been amazing improvement and they're surfing at an incredible level for their age and it's just really nice to see a lot of young girls in the water," Maia said.

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