Author(s): Wilma Johnson
Wilma Johnson was living on the west coast of Ireland with her family, balancing the challenges of being an artist, wife and mother, until, in her forties, she was gripped by a deep desire to seize the day, and moved to Biarritz to become a surfer. The plan hits troubled waters as she arrives in France with her marriage on the rocks and three children who speak no French. Her first attempts at surfing are disastrous; resulting in bruises, broken bones and a damaged ego, but when she experiences the euphoric feeling of catching her first wave and sets up the Mamas Surf Club, it's all worth it.
Based in: Biarritz, France Wilma Johnson has a degree in fine art and was part of the Neo-Naturist performance art group, appearing throughout the 1980s in venues as diverse as the Royal Opera House and the Spanish Anarchist headquarters. She spent a year in Mexico, following the fiesta, painting in hotel rooms and drinking pulque with friends of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. She took up surfing at the age of 45 and moved to an art deco casino near Biarritz.