To some surfers a commute to a surf break will involve a trip to their local spot or if time has no restrictions the search for a wave may push them a couple hours to find a solitude break for the day.
We study breaks and calculate the best time to surf a location depending on certain factors such as; tides, wind/swell direction, period and daylight.
What would you say if we decided to take trip to a surf break 260 miles away and we only had one day to get there, surf and get back home without feeling exhausted for our next day at work. Most folk would probably never consider it as doable especially solo. The distance is easily achievable in a car but in 24hours you’d have little time to rest/sleep and most likely not advisable to be driving after being awake for such a long period of time.
We made our first surf trip to Ireland back in 2008. We instantly fell in love with the place. The culture, people, landscape, it all had such a dramatic and rich beauty that you can only experience from spending the time there. Each time we step foot onto Ireland it’s like seeing it all for the first time again.
My first experience in the surf was always going to be one to remember, rugged cliff faces to endless clean beaches. If that wasn’t enough to heighten your senses the water sure was. The power of each break was raw and powerful. They say the every surfer wants to sit in the green room (barrel) at least once in their life. Well I think whoever named it the ‘’green room’’ had to have named it after surfing in Ireland. The emerald green glow inside each barrelling wave is mesmerizing. Perfect barrelling waves with a green glow inside the barrel makes the Atlantic somewhat a living thing, breathing, powerful waves crashing down onto reefs and beaches.
We had seen a good mid-week swell coming into sight. Winds were a bit strong but we knew it was going to be fun surf even if it was a bit choppy so re-organised work to get a one day window to get there, surf and get back.
So, Newcastle to Belfast…2hours, Belfast to Donegal…2hours. First flight was at 7am and last flight 8pm the same day. As we make the surf trip quite a regular thing we have boards already stored over in Ireland and all we needed to do was get a small hire car after the flight, pick up the boards and hit the surf.
The next morning we are standing in Newcastle Airport at 6am with nothing but a backpack which contained a wetsuit, some wax and a bar of chocolate. The flight was on time and before we knew it we had landed in Belfast. Once we had tried the car rental for a better deal we were on route to pick up our boards.
The boards are stored in an old garage in the Blue Stack mountains, around 30mins from Bundoran. We are welcomed with open arms and as always an amazing Irish coffee and a full Irish breakfast ready waiting for us to throw down our mouths before hitting the surf.
With a bacon sarnie in one hand we grabbed the boards ran to the car and drove straight to Bundoran.
It is always a nice feeling arriving on the West coast as we have grown up surfing the North Sea we know no matter what time of the year we are in for a treat of slightly warmer waters. As we were getting changed we could see The Peak throwing the lip and with no one on it yet the smiles on our faces were just getting bigger. As we locked the car we seen one other surfer paddling out, local charger Richie Fitzgerald. As soon as he reached the peak he instantly turned around and entered a perfect left hander tearing it to pieces.
We managed a dry hair paddle out and could see the lines coming around the headland as we waited for the sets. A few more surfers joined the line-up but as always it was a very friendly atmosphere in the water. I always seem welcomed in the Irish breaks and as long as you respect each other which is such a simple thing to you are quickly enjoying each other company calling each other into waves and laughing about the failed attempts of taking off too deep.
We surfed for just over 3hours. We could of done two shorter sessions and refuelled but couldn’t resist the ‘’one more’’ syndrome. After our share of noodle arms we decided to make our way back in. Watching locals pull into barrels as we got changed we hadn’t realised we had stood chatting for way too long and we were cutting it fine to get back to the airport for our flight home. Everything was chucked into the rental car as we floored it to the Blue Stack mountains to leave the boards for another trip.
Only just arriving to the airport with enough time to grab a coffee we sat in our seats on the flight with our bags dripping wet from a wet wetsuit stuffed inside laughing at the level of addiction this sport/life style had on us.
260miles, 24hours notice, 24hours until work…go!