Aideen (17) to catch a wave for Ireland

TAKING PART IN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN PERU

MARIA PEPPER

A WEXFORD teenager who took up surfing two years ago, is representing Ireland at the World Surfing Championships in South America.

Aideen Hillery ( 17), from Pineridge, flew out to Lima in Peru last week as a member of the U-18 Irish Junior Surf Team to compete in the championships this week.

The 5th Year Loreto student has made huge strides in the sport since she and her mother Rose both took a surfing lesson in Spanish Point at the suggestion of her father Owen during a holiday in 2009.

' I persuaded herself and her mother to try surfing because I thought they would enjoy it, ' said Owen, a native of West Clare. 'Aideen really liked it and took it up from there.'

She is a member of the T-Bay Club in Tramore and regularly surfs in Fethard, County Wexford, depending on the waves.

Aideen competed in qualifying events in Lahinch and Strandhill to earn her place on the three-strong U-18 Irish girls' team.

Owen put her success down to ' good coaching and a huge personal determination.'

Her parents have been in regular contact with her by text and can report that she is ' having a ball.'

The family are watching the various stages of the competition on the internet.

' It's a massive opportunity for her. We are exceptionally proud of her. It shows what you can achieve through a lot of hard work,' said Owen.

Aideen who is due back in Ireland next Tuesday, is the youngest of Owen and Rose's three children. She has two brothers Bryan and Ciaran.

Following that lesson in Spanish Point, Rose also developed an active interest in the sport and is still surfing too, though not at the competitive level achieved by her daughter.

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