Posted by: smithdavid | April 28, 2013

No other place

Once I can go no further I jump from Matilda and belly-ride a wave in. Then I get up and put her under my arm, pull my leash off and walk the last few meters. There is no pink left in the sky out west, the park homes and the Sandhouse are turning a dull blue-gray and here and there a light is burning. I wait for Emmet, he took the last wave right and it brought him down the coast, away from the Rossnowlagh car park.

‘Hard to beat…’ he says when he reaches me.

I smile and nod.

We walk up the concrete ramp that leads from the beach. We haven’t reached the top when Nicky comes towards us. He’s a tin of Fosters in each hand, I take one from him, take down a good few gulps. Matilda is still under my arm.

low sun over rossnowlagh

low sun over rossnowlagh

Now we’re on the rocks at the edge of the car park. Glen has the back of his Bryan S. Ryan van open, he’s heating something on a small gas cooker. Nicky and Tara are sitting on the rocks, Emmet and I are making cheese and coleslaw sandwiches, a few others are either lying on flat section of rock or sitting in fold-up camps chairs.

Most of my time in Rossnowlagh in the past has been on my own, and maybe because of this my memories, as good as they are, are coloured with a light shade of longing. It is different now, I don’t long to be anywhere but here.

‘It was really pumping earlier…’ says Tara, looking towards the waning swell.

‘Was even better last night,’ says Conor , also looking out.

‘Like they say, you should’ve been here an hour ago…’ I say, thinking of the extract from the book of the name that I read earlier in the year. There are smiles and nods and laughter to acknowledge this fundamental truth of surfing – no matter how good the conditions are, someone will always tell you how you missed the best of them. But right now, I’m not concerned about what the waves were like a few hours ago or yesterday, thirty minutes ago they were small and mellow and perfect.

a few in...

a few in…

Emmet and I are on our second tin now, we offer the bottles of Stella that we bought in Belleek. In some other setting, perhaps someone would be agitating to move on somewhere else, find something new and shinier. But we sit out there as the Sandhouse lights begin to spray into the darkness, no other place to go, no other place we’d want to go to.

I think of you again on this your day, I imagine that you experienced this exact feeling when you sat on that bench in Black Rock, Gonubie and looked out to the thundering waves.


  1. Dave,

    This is one of my favorite posts. I felt the sense of peace rise up from the page.


    • thanks tom, it’s the best surf weekend i’ve had yet. dave

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