Salt of the Earth: Meet Australian Seeababe Kirra Innes

Posted by Rhea Cortado on


Meet Kirra! Photo by Nathan Oldfield. 

One of the first things we noticed about new Australian Seeababe Kirra Innes (aside from her lovely cross-step) was her inherant respect and appreciation for nature. Kirra grew up in the village of Wooloweyah on the eastern coast of Australia, where she spent her childhood playing in the dirt at her grandmother’s plant nursery, looking up at the treetops and birds in the rainforest nearby, collecting shells on the beach and diving for lobsters.

In Australia, it’s not uncommon to look out into the horizon and see more open land and nature than humanity inhabiting it. Australia is the sixth largest country in the world, but its population is just under 23 million, concentrated in a few city centers, and peppered between the beaches and forests. A comparison: California alone has 15 million more people than the entire country of Australia. Being surrounded and humbled by nature's beauty, its no wonder that many Australians have a cultivated respect for the environment and each other's place in it.

“I grew up outside and I think that it has made me the person I am now,” Kirra says. “I always had nature around me and preserving it means a lot. I see kids these days stuck in the social world and not looking out and just enjoying the simple things.”

Kirra spends most of her free time enjoying the outdoors — in the forests and the waves — and we caught up with her to find out her favorite places to enjoy the salty air in Australia and what’s she’s growing in her garden.

Kirra Innes in Broken Head, Australia. Photo by Nathan Oldfield. 
Kirra Innes in the Zuma Surf Suit. Photo by Nathan Oldfield. 
Kirra Innes in the Zuma Surf Suit. Photo by Nathan Oldfield. 

What were your first memories of surfing?


I was given an old beaten up short board to learn on. Dad said when I can stand up I can get a new one. I think I was about 7-years-old but we lived away from the beach and it was just a holiday thing. I really caught the bug about five years ago when my boyfriend’s mum put me on a Mal. There was no looking back, I was hooked.

My parents didn't surf so that was a little hard as well but as soon as I got my license I was never home. You could find me at the beach surfing.

The first wave I remember was on a friend’s longboard. He pushed me on a wave and away I went. I can't really describe the feeling but I couldn't wipe the grin off my face so it must have been pretty good.

Why do you love longboard surfing?

I love the feel of riding my log. It's so relaxing and I find most of the time, humbling. Sometimes I'll just trim along a wave stand there and take it all in. I find you’re playing with the wave, riding it, feeling and the energy.

Longboarding is a big part of my lifestyle. It makes me happy and keeps me healthy. The friends you make through the surfing community are for a lifetime.

Who do you normally surf with? 

I normally surf with older crews, nearly all old enough to be my parents but good vibes happy faces and sharing waves. It's always good to get out there. Take turns, hoot and carry on like stoked grommets. It’s all part of the culture of surfing — encouraging everyone to smile, have fun and don't take it to serious.

I think that in the surfing culture you’re in with everyone — young or old. Personally I find it easier to get along with older people. I have ever since I was little. I think that might be a main part of why most of my friends are older. That being said I do have young friends as well, haha!

Kirra Innes in the Palomar Crop Top and Capitola Bottoms. Photo by Nathan Oldfield.
Kirra Innes. Photo by Nathan Oldfield.
Kirra Innes in the Palomar Crop Top and Capitola Bottom. Photo by Nathan Oldfield.
Kirra Innes in the Palomar Crop Top and Capitola Bottom. Photo by Nathan Oldfield.
Kirra Innes in the Zuma Surf Suit. Photo by Nathan Oldfield.
Tell us about the area where you grew up.

I grew up with 100 acres of rainforest two hours south of where I am now. It was amazing. I had the best time of my life there with so much to explore. On weekends or school holidays we went to a place called Station Creek. That was my second home — a beautiful bay filled with a pebbly beach and a creek on the other side. I'd play in the shories, go diving to get lobsters with dad and collect shells with mum.

You said that you live by a national park. What’s special about the one near your house?


I'm surrounded by national parks. It's amazing that they can never be developed so will have the feeling of being in the bush all the time. It's mostly low-lying shrubs at the moment because of a recent fire, but it is truly beautiful. There is a feeling that comes over you, maybe numbing, I can't really describe it. Maybe it's the negative irons of nature.

There are these beautiful little birds. They burrow in the ground and have amazing colors if you look carefully you will see one. They are shy so if you sit quiet enough you might get a close look.

What’s your normal surfing ritual during the changing season? Do you travel one season more than the other?

I mostly travel in winter. It's not as busy at work and in the surf as well. It doesn't get to cold compared to most places so winter is almost like autumn. The swells are good too. Most of the points work during winter so that's a plus.

My favorite places to travel to in Australia would possibly be Crescent Head or Noosa. I like Byron but it gets a little overwhelming with crowds at times. But it's such a beautiful place. 

You said that you grew up in your grandmother's gardens and love to have your own too. What are you growing in your garden now?


I have all sorts of cute little plants. Bromeliads, little pig face flowers and some cute succulents. I don't have a veggie garden at the moment but I'm working on it. Home grown food is always better.

I love planting flowers they are probably my favorite. I love adding color to the garden, I feel it makes it happy.

How do you think gardening and surfing are related?

I feel connected to the earth when I'm gardening just like I do when I'm surfing — enjoying nature’s elements. It's all about patience and a little practice. I try to plant all year so my garden always looks lush, but I do forget about my flowers so when spring comes around I get a flowery surprise.

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