Posted by: smithdavid | July 7, 2013

Glassy Eyed

I pull my jacket in tight, the rain is horizontal and blowing into my face. One the Incheydoney Surf School guys comes out from the dry warmth of a car. I recognize him from yesterday, he’s the one who winked when he gave my car keys after my surf. ‘She doesn’t handle so well when you go hard at the corners,’ he said, grinning.

‘Might not be the best just now…’ he says now as he looks at the far-retreated ocean.

the far-retreated ocean at incheydoney...

the far-retreated ocean at incheydoney…

I’m thinking of my flight back to London later, thinking how I might as well just get in now, no matter what the conditions are.

‘Reckon you’d be better off coming back at two…’ he says. I think of insisting – what difference will a couple of hours make? I’m wondering if they judged my ability on what they saw yesterday and have decided that I’m not that capable. But then I admit, internally, that they do spend most of their time here and no doubt know every nuance of Incheydoney.

‘Okay…what’s your name, by the way…’


‘I’m David,’ I say. ‘See you at two…’

The tide has come in a little when I return.

Liam is waiting. ‘Much better now…’ he says. ‘Go out there past where Tristan is,’ he says pointing out his colleague who is giving a beginners’ lesson.

beginner's lesson at incheydoney

beginner’s lesson at incheydoney

Liam’s directing me to the west side of the beach, the opposite side to where I surfed yesterday and nearly a mile away. I look on, a little skeptically.

We talk chat for a while. The All Ireland Hurling Final is on, Kilkenny in it yet again. I ask if Shefflin is back after his cruciate injury.

‘Tristan’ll show you if you’re not sure…’ says Liam as I take the 8’6” foamie down to the beach.

It’s an easy paddle once I get down to the water. I make a few strokes and then push my chest up as each wave washes in. The foamie goes through them without being pulled back to the shore. Soon I’m out past where the waves are breaking.

The rain has stopped and I sit up on the board, looking, still skeptically, at the rising swell line that is coming towards me. It has good shape but I doubt it has the energy to take me far. I turn and paddle anyway, this is probably as good as anything I surfed yesterday.

Soon I feel the wave take the foamie and I pop up. There is acceleration now and I feel the big board rush down the small face of the wave. I wonder if I’ll stall now that I’ve made the short drop but the board keeps on going, I see the leading edge of the wave curl and lurch as I go.

It’s only knee deep when I finally get off. This will surely be the best wave of the day, I think. I make the easy paddle out back. This time I don’t even sit up on the board  before another clean, unbroken wave comes. Again I’ve popped up on the board before I know it and the ride is long enough to move my feet around, see how the board reacts.

It’s the same on the next wave. And the one after that. I keep making the easy paddle out and the long, elegant ride back to shore.

Eventually I think of my flight back to London and ride a wave, grudgingly, back to shore. There were fifteen or twenty great wave, my best session yet.

‘I was watching you – you must be happy with that session…’ Liam says when I get back to the shop.

I smile, glassy eyed. I can think of no way to accurately describe the lightness and elation within. And nor should I try.


  1. the love for surfing, never get’s old!

    • it never does, thanks for reading…

  2. Sounds like it was a great day, David.


    • was a great day, tom. and only me and the sea there to witness it. perfect.

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