After a few hours of driving in a lunar setting, I finally arrived (next door) in Sligo.
I was greeted by 1m offshore waves. It was a nice right hander rolling out onto the reef. I surfed for 3 hours, alternating between my longboard and shortboard.
More or less alone for the whole session!
The weather is not as nice here as in Wales. It rains every 20 minutes and it's colder! The water is still good.
There was 2m recorded on the buoy today, and 4m2 expected tomorrow!
The truck is moving under the force of the wind, it rocks me.
I am parked in front a surf spot. I was told I could stay as long as I wanted. There are toilets and a well 1km away. I have a feeling I'll stay here for a while if the waves are as good as expected!
See you tomorrow!
Day twenty-seven: 27-11-22
Day 27, really? So much has happened to me that I feel like I've been gone for 2 months.
I was woken up at 6.30am by a very heavy rain shower that was pounding the truck. I find it very pleasant to wake up when you're dry.
After several coffees the dawn appeared, revealing magnificent waves. The biggest sets were 2m50, but the average was a small 2m.
A few guys arrived for the dawn patrol, and got into the water.
I obviously joined them soon.
When I arrived at the peak, I recognized 2 surfers from my home town, Titouan Cannevet and ????. The guys were killing it! They pulled into long tubes, the longest must have lasted 4 seconds... One is sponsored by Volcom, the other Vissla, they are famous surfers in my area!
The last time I saw Titouan was last year on my birthday in Costa Rica. We were each with our girlfriends and we met at a bar. We had drunk a lot. It was the first time we saw each other but the feeling was good, especially with so much rum!
In short, I met him for the second time in my life, but this time in Ireland (we both live an hour away). We were laughing our asses off
- You're *ucking tripping!
- *ucking hell, you too, man!
The waves are so good. If you catch a bomb, expect a dizzying take off before you hit your first tube, then you'll have a tight wall for about 50m before you hit a tube section again. Then get out before you eat the rocks!
The wave must be a few hundred meters long, but I'm sure it's even longer if there's more height!
After a 3 and a half hour session, paddling constantly against the current and waves so long your legs burn by the time you kick out, I got out of the water to eat 3kg of pasta.
In the car park, I passed three other trucks belonging to Breton people I knew! One is a photographer/surfer (Brieuc) and the others are the guys from Lost in the Swell, so it's great to see so many guys from home here. They all have a great level and don't take themselves too seriously. I had a few coffees with everyone before heading back to the water. It's important to know that dusk comes around 4:30/45 so if you want to surf twice in one day you better not hang around too long!
On the second session, we were five, and guess what? Only Bretons in the water!
The locals stopped checking and left. The waves must not have been good enough for them... I thought they were crazy!!!
All these friends are leaving in a week or two, I'll be pretty much alone in the water after that, it will be funny.
Some of them were going to the pub tonight, I was invited but for once (the first time of the trip in fact) I refused. I really don't have any money left and I'm taking advantage of being alone to get back in shape.
And don't forget, tomorrow the waves will be just as good!
Day twenty-eigth: 28-11-22
Early wake up to discover windswept waves and a short period.
In Scotland, Paco had told me about an endless spot, which, in his opinion, could envy spots like Imsouann, in Morocco.
When I got there, the tide was too high. While I was waiting for the ebb, another guy came up.
- Hey man what's up ?
- *ucking good, gonna fire up dude!
His name is Flo, he's German and moved to Dublin 5 years ago.
- I just did 4h driving to get here man, I’ll go back to Dublin afterwards.
I couldn't believe my ears. 8 hours driving for that?! From here, the waves didn't look so good.
We got in the water together, him with a mini Malibu and me on a longboard.
When we arrived at the peak, I quickly understood why this guy had come so far. The left side was at least 500m long.
I've never surfed waves that long in my life. It was just unbelievable!
I practiced a lot of switch foot, it was really fun.
A seal accompanied me on some waves, and followed me when I went back to the peak.
When I came out of the wave, it took me 15 minutes to get back to the line up, the distances were insane.
I surfed for 3 hours, and got out when the tide started to get too high.
I had a good chat with Flo.
He and his Irish wife are moving to New York as life in Dublin is getting too expensive. For a flat 20min from the centre, with 2 bedrooms, they pay 2700 € per month.
"Life is getting too expensive here man, crazy world!”
It’s not the first time I've heard that since I left.
I then went to a reef 15min drive away. The wave was working but it was getting dark. So I went to the local pub. "A beer or two and I'm going home!”
It was a country bar, in the main street of a village of barely 5000 inhabitants. As soon as I sat down at the counter, an old man started to chat to me. His name was Whermot, he had a real look in his eyes and a frank laugh. The contact was immediately good. I asked him a lot of questions about Northern Ireland, the past conflicts and maybe the future ones. He told me about his cousin who was the second most wanted man in Ireland during the troubles, he belonged to the IRA. He ended up doing 8 years in prison before being acquitted.
And then another world arrived and Whermot knew everyone. He invited them to our table and they were all delighted to have a Frenchman with them.
They all tried hard not to lose me with their accents. They were all friendly and smiled up to their ears when I spoke. I had a wonderful time. The owner always turned up the volume a bit when The Doors came on, and everyone paid for their rounds. It was an amazing night.
I gave my number to Whermot because he would like to invite me to dinner. I hope I gave him the right one, I was getting a bit stricken after my 6th pint.
Day twenty-nine: 29-11-22
A day in the rain that didn't stop once. It was nice to walk in it, alone on the beach.
I laughed thinking about Whermot letting me win at arm wrestling or John saying in my ear that the best hallucinogenic mushrooms were in a field a few miles away.
See you tomorrow.
Day thirty: 30-11-22
Woke up to some nice glassy waves. 1m rolling beach break.
I surfed alone for whole 3 hour session. There was no one on the horizon, no walkers or anyone else.
It's still raining but it's not cold. Not for the moment.
I may have found a job in Ballina thanks to Whermot, I'll know more in the next few days.
I settled in for the night in front of a very famous wave. It's not going to be amazing tomorrow but there will be bits!
I'm finishing Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises", it's a book that makes you want to live.
Song of the day: Cold Little Heart, Michael Kiwanuka
← Previous entry | Next entry →