Surf’s Up

The bank holiday weekend before last I was in Ireland, visiting Ciara’s family. I really like it out there because it’s so peaceful and the countryside is amazing. But this visit had an added extra – we tried surfing!

It’s not a huge passion of mine or anything like that, but surfing is something that I’ve at least wanted to try. So I was pretty excited when I found out that Rossnowlagh was not too far away and that they have decent surf there.

Actually, I have no idea what decent surf is. As far as I can remember, this was the first time that I’ve seen waves that people surf on… or at least the first time that I’ve remembered them. But with a fresh 50 Euros in my pocket, a hire car and a map, and we were surfing!

The whole day was great. There was a competition on that day and we ended up hiring some gear from a shop that wasn’t supposed to be hiring; a shop that was evidently being operated by a 13-or-so-year old boy (that’s him lifting the board out in the picture below). I’m sure the equipment didn’t make a difference at all; the only knowledge that I picked up was that larger boards are easier for beginners.

It was a little strange however not having a clue what I was doing. I strapped the leash on, listened to an instructor giving two girls some pointers on the sand for all of 20 seconds and then ran out… but to be fair, I’d watched Point Break about a month previous so figured I had all the instruction required.

The waves were definitely ok for surfing. They look much bigger when you’re paddling out into them than they do from the beach! I wasn’t understanding that thing where surfers dive under the wave as it comes towards them; I was just floating up on top of them at complete mercy to the size of the wave. Big ones just threw me straight off if I wasn’t pointing right at them.

Getting out there turned out to be one of the most difficult things – or at least the most tiring. That and deciding which wave was going to be good and then getting in sync with it. I caught about 5 waves in total, standing up and then riding them until I stopped. Two of them were definitely better than the others: slightly bigger, and I seemed to be in a better part of the wave. It felt like they were faster and longer… but I’m not sure if that makes sense.

All in all I don’t know if I did well or not so well, but it felt pretty good and it was a lot of fun. There’s no way that I’ll be trading in my baggy pants and twin tip for a wetsuit and an over-grown simming float, which is what my board reminded me of, but I’ll try it again, given the chance!

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2 Comments

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Zaskoda

    If you caught 5 waves on your first time in the water, you did fantastic. Paddling out over and over only to catch a 10 second ride in doesn’t seem nearly as rewarding as riding up a lift for a long ride down the mountain – but I think it’s worth it.The diving down thing is called “duck diving” and only works with short boards. From the pics, it looks like you guys went out on long boards – which are much easier to learn on. The long board equivalent of a duck dive is a turtle roll. Youtube will have examples.Check out “Step Into Liquid”… Seriously, you absolutely need to go watch it!

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Gavin Hope

    Hey cheers zaskoda. I thought you might appreciate the surfing as you’ve talked about it a bit on your site.I’ll be checking out some action on youtube…

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