How Surfing and a Dream Led Sarah Dawes to Create EirWaves

Today, we’re chatting with Sarah Dawes, the founder of EirWaves. Sarah’s story is about finding new paths and passions. After burning out in her corporate job and going through a tough divorce, she discovered the healing power of the ocean. Surfing helped her manage stress and anxiety, sparking the idea for EirWaves, her own surf apparel brand.

With a background in fundraising for health and mental health charities, Sarah combined her professional experience with her love for the sea. EirWaves isn’t just about clothing; it’s about building a community that values wellness and the ocean’s therapeutic benefits.

In this interview, Sarah talks about her journey from corporate life to starting her own business, the challenges she’s faced, and how surfing played a crucial role in her healing process. She also shares her commitment to giving back, with each purchase supporting charitable causes. Join us as we explore Sarah’s inspiring journey and the mission behind EirWaves.

Sarah, your journey from corporate life to founding EirWaves is truly inspiring. Can you share more about what initially drew you to surfing and how it helped you through the tough times of your divorce and burnout?

Thank you for your kind words. Surfing has become a passion of mine for sure, stemming from my deep love for the ocean, and already understanding her healing effects. When faced with all that comes with divorce and subsequent burnout, surfing became my sanctuary.

It provided a place of solace, helping me release stress, find peace, and gain a new perspective on life. Surfing has been a transformative and healing experience for me, guiding me through tough times and inspiring me to create EirWaves.

Starting a business is no small feat, especially as a mother of two. What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when launching EirWaves, and how did you overcome them?

Some of the biggest hurdles I continue to face while in the start up phase of EirWaves include balancing work and family responsibilities, managing time effectively, and overcoming self-doubt and fear.

I imagine that problem-solving challenges will be ongoing while I grow the brand, with little capacity, and wearing many hats. Support from mentors, family and friends and a strong belief in my vision, keep me focused on the next best step, but I’m really still figuring things out as I go along.

The ocean has played a significant role in your personal and professional life. Can you tell us more about when you realised the sea’s therapeutic benefits and how that inspired your business venture?

The ocean has been a source of solace and inspiration for me. I’ve understood the therapeutic benefits of the sea since I was a little girl. I have memories of longing to be in the ocean early in life because I always felt most alive and at peace in it or by it.

During particularly challenging times in my life, the ocean has been my go to and Surfing became my refuge. This connection with the ocean inspired me to create EirWaves, and through EirWaves, I hope to build an inclusive community with shared wellness experiences.

You’ve dedicated years to working with not-for-profits in the health and mental health sectors. How have those experiences influenced the mission and values of EirWaves?

My years of working in the non-profit and health sectors have deeply influenced the mission and values of EirWaves. Through my experiences, I have seen firsthand the impact of mental health challenges and the importance of holistic wellbeing.

These experiences have shaped EirWaves’ commitment to promoting mental health and overall wellness. Our mission is rooted in the belief that connecting with nature and prioritising your health can profoundly improve mental health and overall wellbeing.

EirWaves is not just a brand but a community celebrating courage, authenticity, and adventure. How do you hope to foster this sense of community among your customers and supporters?

At EirWaves, we will strive to build more than just a brand; we will aim to create a community that celebrates courage, authenticity, and adventure. More on this to come as the brand and assets develop.

In the future we hope to host events, workshops, and online resources/blogs, to encourage our customers to embrace their unique selves, step out of their comfort zones, and embark on new adventures. By fostering a supportive and inclusive community, we hope to inspire and empower individuals to lead fulfilling and authentic lives.

Balancing a business and personal life can be challenging. What strategies or routines have you found helpful in managing stress and maintaining your wellbeing as a busy entrepreneur and mother?

Balancing the demands of a business and personal life is challenging. Some days I feel like I’m top on things, while on others I feel completely overwhelmed. I still find it hard to balance things, and depending on the day or week, the priorities change depending on external demands.

My main strategies are to try and get enough sleep. I’m someone who needs sleep to operate effectively, eat healthily, be present and engaged with your loved ones, and say no because there is only so much time in the day.

Surfing is also integral to my wellbeing so I need to try and fit this too. The juggle is real.

Giving back is a big part of EirWaves, with donations made for every item sold. Why is this aspect so important to you, and how do you hope it will impact the community?

Giving back is a core value of EirWaves, with donations made for every item sold. This aspect is incredibly important to me because I believe in the power of collective impact and the importance of supporting and sharing with those around me, which is why my first charity partner is the one I work for the Prince of Wales Hospital Foundation.

I know first-hand the incredible work of the staff at the hospital, and I’m excited to be in a position to support them in any small way. I hope through EirWaves, we can make a positive difference in the lives of others and create a ripple effect of kindness and generosity.

Through our donations and commitment to giving back, we aim to create a more compassionate and supportive community where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.