Posted by: smithdavid | January 19, 2014

There’s Always Hope

We’re on the R279, Emmet’s 8′ custom and my 8’7″ hire board are strapped to the roof on the soft rack. We take a left at the Y junction outside Mullaghmore, snake along the narrow road, past Knocknafaugher, through Kilkilloge, stopping once or twice to let an oncoming car pass. Then we pull up, walk to land’s end. There is a castle to the left, the languid Atlantic up ahead. We’ve come to see this place where the big waves rise, where the big wave guys are drawn when the swell is right. But today it’s serene, innocuous. We get back in the car, continue on along the loop into Mullaghmore itself, trying to figure out where they launch from when that swell comes.

Then it’s back on the N15, through Grange, right down to Streedagh. Emmet’s never been here, we may as well see if there’s a wave. We park behind the dunes, walk 20 yards or so.

blown out at tullan

blown out at tullan

‘Great shape to that wave,’ says Emmet, ‘be perfect if you’re 6 inches tall…’

We’re back in the car, the search continues.

Back towards Rossnowlagh, at Tullan, we look down from the cliffs. It’s standard Tullan fare, small swell, blown out.

So we stop for lunch in Bundoran. The All Ireland football quarter final is on, Donegal (the local team) vs. Mayo. Donegal start powerfully but fade in the second half and finally succumb. Some of the locals leave, dissapointed, before it’s over.

When we return to Rossnowlagh there is just enough of a pulse in the ocean to entice us in. My shoulder is less painful than yesterday, my legs don’t cramp up. But yesterday’s 3 hour epic session has sapped my energy, I ride a wave or two, then am uncharacteristically (for Rossnowlagh)  knocked off the hire board. The wave takes the board with it, the leash pulls on my ankle and the board rebounds, its sharp point knocking into the back of my skull. I’m dazed for a moment but then get back on the board.




It’s a surprisingly tough session, especially considering the sterile waves. But when we finally take take a wave in, there is that blur of water and the sensation of floating. There is yet to be a session where I’ve regretted going in, I think.

We get changed in Finn McCool’s, leave a note for Hannah (our room mate) – gone to Smuggler’s.

The tide is in as we walk towards the cliffs, we need to keep right up along where the sand ends as we walk. We see Hannah out on her rented foamie as we go past the car park. She paddles for a wave, snaps up on to the board, goofy-footed. She stays down low, hands stroking the air as if they were still in the water.

We’re too late for food at Smuggler’s but they bring us cheeseboards and extra bread. Out through the window the sky and sea are finally dark, it’s well past nine.

We’re on our second Donegal Blonde when Hannah arrives. We speculate about tomorrow’s swell, it’s not promising but there’s always hope.

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