Posted by: smithdavid | February 23, 2014


There are a few chairs and a table outside Surfed Out, Finn McCool’s, Rossnowlagh. It’s late August and warm enough to sit comfortably outside. The Goofball, Emmet and I get a few coffees (well, a cup of tay for Emmet) and recline on the chairs. Within my muscles is a tired satisfaction – we’ve just changed after a three hour surf. It was a session of wave after wave of clean, three to four foot bliss.

We’re about to separate after a weekend of sharing a room. The Goofball is getting a lift back to Dublin from her aunt. Emmet and I are driving to Trim and I’m flying back to London tomorrow.

It seems we’ve known the Goofball for longer than just three days but it’s not just the fact that we’ve shared a room and had a few meals and drinks together.

sunset at rossnowlagh

sunset at rossnowlagh

We’ve witnessed the look on her face after paddling back out from a long ride on the clean face of a wave. She’s seen the expression on mine after making a four foot drop; she’s heard the whoops from Emmet as he took a wave from way, way out back. This common ‘knowing’ of the sea seems to stretch across age, gender, nationality; it seems timeless.

We don’t exchange contact details; it seems unnecessary, we’ve had an incredible experience together, it can be left for what it is. It can never be re-created, nor does it have to.

Emmet and I pack the car and start our journey back to Trim. We go though the details of the session, plan when we will surf again. But then we fall silent and I concentrate on the road. A sensation that I’ve felt on occasion after surf sessions lodges within once more – I can’t imagine being any happier than I am right now.

It’s about a month on now and security at the W hotel, Leister Square, eye me out as I take the lift to the plush bar on the first floor. My plaid shirt, jeans and Converse sneakers don’t seem to quite cut the dress code mustard. But somehow I’m tolerated.

not quite the sea...

not quite the sea…

I don’t recognise the Goofball (we ‘found’ each other on Facebook) at first, she’s in high heels and an orange dress. She’s with a fellow doctor from her student days, Michael.

‘How many times have you surfed together?’ he asks after a time. ‘the way you talk, you grew up together…’

‘Nah, just one really, really good session…’ I say.

The Goofball gets that glassy look in her eyes when we recount the session. No doubt it’s the same for me.

We talk about forthcoming surf trips – hers to Morocco; mine, home to South Africa.

I don’t stay late, there is a day of construction toil ahead of me tomorrow.

‘When will we hook up again?’ the Goofball asks.

‘Not sure, in the ocean some time soon…’ I say. And I truly believe it.

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