Portugal is one of Europe’s hottest surf destinations. Its mild climate, great waves, and endless beaches are home to a growing international surfing community.
And 22-year-old British-born Laura Crane, a professional surfer, model and emerging Instagram star, is living the dream in one of the country’s most popular surfing spots, Ericeira – dubbed the mecca of Portuguese Surf.
Having competed at a national level for most of her teens, she’s started using her 70,000-strong Instagram following as a base to work with multiple brands as a model and so-called influencer.
But she says surfing is still the main priority – and modelling allows her to “keep the surfing dream alive.”
Crane told Business Insider that being a woman in the predominantly male surfing industry has come a long way, and that now female surfers are more free to be themselves, to be “girls” and wear bikinis, rather than try to fit in wearing board shorts.
She also fits right in with the healthy local diet and active lifestyle in Portugal – and her Instagram is testament to that.
Scroll down for a sneak peek into Crane’s dreamy day-to-day of waves and rays in Portugal and beyond.
Meet 22-year-old British-born Laura Crane, a professional surfer, model, and Instagram sensation.
She travels the world both as a surfer and model, and is flying the flag for female surfers and sportswomen across the globe.
Crane grew up in Bristol but moved to Croyde, North Devon, at the age of 11, where she first picked up a surfboard.
Her dad taught her to surf, and she told Business Insider that it only took her two months of living in Devon to get the hang of it.
Crane began to compete locally at 13 and became a British champion at 14, representing Team GB for 3 to 4 years.
While competing at a national level during her teens she was sponsored by Billabong, which allowed her to travel while she surfed, documenting her trips on social media along the way. It’s earned her a following of 72,000 on Instagram.
She eventually made the decision that competing wasn’t for her. She told Business Insider: “It became more of a job than a passion, which is what surfing has always been for me.”
Now she lives a dreamy life in Ericeira, the so-called mecca of Portuguese surf which lies 30 minutes from Lisbon. In Portugal surfing is the second biggest sport after football.
Portugal is fast becoming Europe’s hottest surf destination. Its mild climate, great waves, and endless beaches are home to a growing international surfing community.
Ericeira is a sunny, white-washed fishing village, and a popular surf hub. It’s well-known for its stunning beaches and great seafood.
Crane told Business Insider: “There’s definitely way more space for being a woman in the surfing community than there used to be. Before you used to have to wear baggy board shorts to fit in, now girls are all wearing really cute bikinis and looking like girls when they surf.”
And her Instagram suggests she has a pretty impressive bikini selection, too.
Pulling away from full-time sponsorship as a competitor has allowed Crane to work with multiple brands in her capacity as a model and influencer, which involves lots of travel.
Most recently she went to South Africa with fashion brand Very, and before that she spent time in Bali. For the time being she’s back based in Ericeira but intends to keep globe trotting with work.
But Crane told Business Insider that while she likes the idea of being an “influencer,” her main occupation is strictly surfing, and always will be.
She explained that the influencer platform mainly allows her to keep the dream alive and maintain her lifestyle of travelling and surfing.
In Ericeira, she rents a two-bedroom apartment for herself.
She told Business Insider: “I like to have two bedrooms just for me as I always have friends coming over to stay.”
Crane wakes up about 8.a.m. every day. She has her morning coffee, and then heads for a 30 minute walk past all the local beaches to check for surf.
If there are waves she’ll start the day with a surf. If there aren’t, it’s yoga or the gym. And she always surfs again in the evening, usually at sunset.
Her favourite beaches are Ribeira d’Ilhas and Coxos, which are within 10 minutes of her flat.
Ribeira d’Ilhas is pictured above.
She loves the healthy Portuguese lifestyle and diet which she described as “pretty much pescatarian.”
“Breakfast is usually eggs and avocado. I’ll have soups for lunch and salads or fish, veg, and potatoes for dinner.”
She also loves to skate.
Just generally keeping an active life makes her happy.
As Ericeira has grown in popularity among the surf community it has maintained its old charm of being a small fishing village. According to Crane, the “social life is super cool, ever-growing, and becoming more international.”
“Everyone’s here for the same reason, we’re not here for the partying or to get super drunk – we’re here for the surf.”