Posted by: smithdavid | January 12, 2014


It’s a long stretch from the entrance to the bar counter in The Surfer’s Bar, Rossnowlagh. There are surfing photos on the walls, posters from long ago surf contests. Emmet and I find a nook near the bar, somewhere you can spot those entering.

Emmet goes to the bar – it’s a bottle of Heineken for me, a pint of Guinness for himself. We run through the afternoon’s session, it was a good one for him – five or six long, clean rides. For me, a few short rides, a stiff shoulder, some calf cramps. But within me things feel light and easy, like anything is possible.

twilight at rossnowlagh...

twilight at rossnowlagh…

We discuss the surprisingly good quality of pizza at Surfed Out, the coffee shop beneath Finn McCool’s hostel, and the fact that it’s good to be able to get food down near the beach.

After a while we see Glen, it’s taken him longer to get inside than I thought it would. We saw him in the car park before we came in, all was dark in the Bryan S. Ryan van except the blue glow of a tablet screen.

‘Same again?’ he asks, looking at our drinks.

Emmet hesitates then nods.

‘You’ll be saying you should’ve just had one tomorrow,’ I say, nodding at his Guinness.

He shrugs, ‘it’s a good pint they serve here…’

There is a lot of speculation about what the waves will do tomorrow when Glen returns. He was checking the swell on Magicseaweed, he claims, that’s what made him late. But later he lets it slip that he met a girl in here last night, and maybe they were pinging messages when we saw him in the car park.

It’s my round and I’m waiting at the bar. I look towards the entrance and there is Hannah, our room mate, the one we almost walked in on while she was changing. I offer a drink, she wants a Millers.

Now we talk about surfing in Australia, where Hannah is living. Emmet recalls surfing in Bondi, being so jet-lagged that he forgot to attach his leash.

‘Probably shouldn’t have told me that!’ says Glen, ‘won’t let you forget.’

‘Well, this man put his fins in the wrong slots last time we were here…’ Emmet says, gesturing towards me.



Glen rubs his hands, winks.

‘At my level, probably doesn’t make much difference…’ I say.

Hannah lives in Perth, delivers babies, a doctor. She surfs four or five times a week, it’s warm there mostly.

When the next rounds come, I notice that she has left an increasing amount in each bottle.

‘You trying to pull one over on us?’ I ask.

‘Nah, just wanna be fresh for the surf tomorrow…’

Later Glen goes off to bed (i.e. his mattress in his van), claiming he needs his beauty sleep. We reckon he’s gonna continue the texting.

Emmet, Hannah and I go off to Finn McCool’s, she offers to boil some eggs (part of her high protein breakfast thing) but instead we just drink glasses of water.

When we get to our bunk beds there’s giggling and silly talk, I don’t feel 39 now but like a teenager, at the sea away from the parents for the first time.

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