Posted by: smithdavid | August 5, 2012

A Seed Lands

This time I have company as I stand on the rocks at Rossnowlagh.

‘Pretty choppy out there…’ Emmet says, shielding his eyes from the sun.

‘Pretty flat…’ I say.

We stand for a while, willing things to improve but knowing they will not.

‘Might as well get in, didn’t drive three hours to look at it…’ I say.

‘Aye,’ says Emmet.

Soon the water is lapping at our ankles. Emmet is holding his 8’ custom, I’m holding the mini-mal. The wind is gusting on-shore and my hands are blue. My gloves are back in the car but there’s no way I’m going for them now.

Once in thigh deep I put the board down on the water. A surge of wind lifts it and takes away from me. I feel the leash pull – luckily there is no-one nearby. If we lived beside the sea we would have probably watched this white slop from a safe distance. But you have to take your opportunities when they arise.

‘Don’t like ’em,’ Emmet says, nodding at a kite-surfer further out, ‘they’re dangerous, no control…’

We’re paddling out, the wind blowing salty water into our faces. I sit up for while, Emmet keeps going. When I start paddling again I see him gliding by, stance comfortable, white water behind him. When he finally comes off, he has drifted down to the cliffs beneath Smuggler’s. Encouraged, I lie down and resume paddling.

the cliffs beneath Smuggler’s

My first wave is no good, I’m off as soon as I’ve stood. But soon after I see one coming. I turn and I’m up, almost no knee-time. I feel a thrust as the wave begins to break and then a small drop and I’m out ahead of the wave, clear water on either side, white water at my back. I hear Emmet whooping, I keep going, the current pulling me towards the cliffs. I didn’t think such a wave was possible today when I was on the rocks earlier.

When I’m done I begin to walk back out – ready to fall onto my board and paddle. I can feel the current and the wind pushing me to the cliffs, I have to fight. Emmet is wincing when I reach him – he stayed on one too long and jarred his foot on the ocean floor when he came off.

But we stay on in the fading light – here and there is a clean, rideable wave within the slop.

We’re in Finn McCool’s for the night. In the morning the dining area is filled with members of a youth group. There is an easy way about them – they offer to share their breakfast, they tell us about their late-night surf. Possibly Christians we think – they weren’t out till all hours last night. We stay for a while, enjoying their gentle company.

Emmet is limping badly when we walk to the car.

‘There’ll be no surfing for me today. You can try my board if you want…’

So I suit up and head down to the waves. Already I notice the 8’ is far lighter than the shorter mini-mal.

a small, toothless day

When I’m out in the water I feel the way she glides across the water as I paddle, I feel the extra buoyancy when I sit on her. The first few waves I fall from but I adjust my stance and then I start making them.

It’s a small, toothless day – worse than yesterday, but if nothing else, using Emmet’s 8’ has cast the heavy, faithful mini-mal in a new light.

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