Posted by: smithdavid | May 26, 2013


There are only one or two cars in the car park, the corner where Glen’s van was parked is empty. It seems now unimaginable that just a couple of days ago twelve or thirteen of us where sitting around it in the luke warm sunshine. It’s colder now, it’s like the weather is mirroring the sparseness of this Tuesday morning, a normal, working day for most.

Nicky and Tara have packed the van up, I’ve cleared my gear out of Finn McCool’s.

‘We stop at Tullan?’ I say. I cannot imagine  the same clean, easy conditions that there were in Tullan two days ago being present again on a day like today, where the wind is gusting at Rossnowlagh. But also, I cannot imagine when my next surf trip will be and it seems a crime against Karma not to at least attempt to surf while I’m beside the ocean.

‘Not for me…’ says Tara, ‘ but you two can…’

‘You never know, might be good…’ I say.

‘Phuh,’ says Tara, folding her arms.

‘I’ll give it a go,’ says Nicky.

Now we’re in the Tullan car park, the wind picking up and dropping off again, picking up and dropping off.

windy at tullan...

windy at tullan…

‘No way!’ says Tara, looking down at the sloppy, mediocre swell.

Nicky and I suit up, Tara takes my camera.

‘We go in off the rocks?’ says Nicky.

I hesitate, to go in off the rocks means climbing down the side of the cliffs, Matilda in one arm, waiting at the waterline for a gap in the waves and then diving off into the receding water and paddling like crazy before the next wave. But I take so few chances these days. ‘I’m in…’ I say.

We are careful on the way down and are soon waiting on a rock. Nicky throws his 9’4″ in and dives in after it. Now it’s just me, I wait a wave or two and then spring in too.

I paddle hard to catch Nicky but he seems to glide away. A wave pulses in and if I weren’t out of breath from paddling, I could’ve made it.

Farther out, Nicky gets up on a wave, cuts a few stylish curves in its face. Beside me now is a guy I saw earlier in the car park, he’s on a squat, blunt-nosed board that can’t be longer than 5’6″.

‘Ahhh…easy,’ he says with a Gallic shrug when I ask him if it’s difficult to ride. After a wave or two he takes one and rides skillfully down the left line.

Another wave comes and I paddle for it. But it does not pick me up. I go for another and it pulls the board and I pop slowly, wearily up but the wave is spent by the time I’m fully up.

paddling into a small one at tullan...

paddling into a small one at tullan…

The same happens on the next wave. I sit out back for a while, chatting to I saw walking along the Ballyshannon to Rossnowlagh road yesterday. He’s Austrian, studying at University College Cork, he borrowed the board from the UCC surf club and hitched here.

I notice now that Nicky hasn’t been in the line up for a while but I stay in longer, somehow believing that I’ll begin making waves despite the exhaustion.

I make one or two small ones – just about, knowing this will have to sustain me for the months ahead in Stoke and London.


  1. friendly looking waves!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: