Posted by: smithdavid | March 9, 2014


‘You’re probably best going out to Saunton this morning,’ the waitress/bargirl in the Thatch, Croyde tells us as she serves us. We’re staying in a room above the pub and have come down for breakfast. ‘Putsborough might be better this afternoon, more sheltered from the wind – but the swell needs wrap around…’ she adds.

Judging from the conditions yesterday and the (unreliable) Magicseaweed forecast, there will be good swell today. But both Emmet and I heard the howl of the wind outside earlier; the fear is that it will be blown out.

What more can you do when you live this far from the sea other than plan your trip and have faith?

We finish our breakfast and strap the boards to the soft racks on the estate car. When we have reached the top of Croyde Road, we pull up and look down towards the long stretch of Saunton. The wind is rushing through the vegetation up here; the only consolation is that it’s off-shore.

swell coming in from deep sea...

swell coming in from deep sea…

‘Looks like it’s cleaning things up a little…’ Emmet says as we watch the lines of swell pulsing in from deep sea.

‘All we can do is get in,’ I say. ‘Maybe it’ll be a little more sheltered down there…’

But once we’ve suited up and have made the long walk from the car park to the water’s edge the wind is pushing hard.

When I put Matilda down on the sand so that I can stretch and attach the leash a gust of wind picks her up and cartwheels her down the beach; I have to run to catch her.

‘That’s why I always put my board in the direction of the wind,’ Emmet says, grinning. ‘And put the leash on before doing anything else…’

We paddle out with the wind at our backs. When I get in to shoulder depth I see a wave that I could take. I paddle for it and pop-up as soon the wave begins to pull on Matilda. But the spray from the wave blows into my eyes and it does not seem to have enough power to carry me.

I catch a small wave a little later and have a short ride. When I jump off Matilda the wind blows her up and into my head. It’s nothing like the knock I took from the 8’7” hire board in Rossnowlagh but it’s enough to make my eyes water.

I try and paddle a little farther out. I reach Emmet – he’s twenty or thirty yards farther in than I was. He’s sitting on his board, hands in armpits for warmth.

the path to the beach from saunton car park...

the path to the beach from saunton car park…

‘That wind is blowing me off the board every time I try and pop-up…’ he says.

We both make a few small waves, have a few short rides.

After a while I feel that my energy has drained and that it will be difficult to get up even if there is a good wave. I belly ride a wave back in to shore.

When I start walking back to the car, I see that there is a girl struggling with a SUP board. She angles it so that the wind won’t catch it, carries it ten yards or so, puts it down, rests.

I offer to help her and when I take the tail of the board I see that blood is running from a cut above her eye.

‘Wind blew it into me…’ she says, noticing my gaze.

My mediocre surf and bump on the head seem insignificant now.

And once I’ve changed and warmed up my body begins to have that satisfied ache.

‘I’ve never regretted going in for a session. Not even today…’ I say to Emmet

Posted by: smithdavid | March 2, 2014

Vast Space

Woolacombe is far down below from this vantage point on Station Road and we cast our eyes there to see what the waves are doing – Magicseaweed says there’s swell. A wave breaks and even from this distance it looks thunderous. Emmet and I look at each other, raise eyebrows.

It’s been a day of shifting plans – I was to pick him up at Bristol but he phoned when I was just outside of London to say that Aer Aerann woudn’t take his board on the flight. The options were Aer Lingus to Birmingham (and a long bus ride to Bristol) or Heathrow. I was passing Reading so turned around and waited at Heathrow.

We park on the Woolacombe Esplanade and walk up along the headland. The flags are flapping briskly shore wards, not a good omen for surfing. We carry on to land’s end, where below the surf take-off point is. The ocean is messy but not quite as wild as we feared when looking from Station Road. It’s been a long drive and I feel compelled to at least give things a try.

down to the wild sea...

down to the wild sea…

The concern for me as I paddle in is that Matilda will seem too small at 7’3” after Christine (8’) and, more recently, the 8’7” hire board in Rossnowlagh. I paddle through the first set of on-rushing white froth, resting for a while in between waves. I’m not all the way out back but see that the waves are reforming. I should keep going, get to the point where there is urgent energy in the wave but I want to catch one, get the confidence up.

I see a wave jack up and I turn and paddle back towards shore. I feel the way it takes Matilda and then feel her solidity beneath me. Soon I’m standing, shifting my weight this way and that, Matilda following. Christine is different – when she’s going she stays on her course, she’s not inclined to deviate. Matilda is open to persuasion – a slight shift in weight will steer her.

When I’m paddling out again I know I should challenge myself, go into the deeper water. But I see one of the re-forming waves rise and I turn quickly and take it. Again I feel Matilda’s sensitivity, again I see rushing water on either side of me, again I steer her towards the churning lip.

not as rough as it looked...

not as rough as it looked…

Emmet is also scratching around the re-forming waves, taking one from time to time.

‘Out back is a bit too far without being fitter,’ he says, shaking his head in disappointment when we sit on our boards at the halfway-out point.

‘Yeah, but these are okay…’ I say, gesturing to the re-formers.

He shrugs.

The light is failing now and we know that soon we must return to shore. I take another re-formed wave and as I pop-up I see that the moon is bright in the dark blue, dusk skies the hang behind the rising Woolacombe hills. Within I feel a sense of vast space.

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.

Posted by: smithdavid | February 9, 2014


We’re in the back-line at Rossnowlagh: it didn’t look like much when we first got in but Emmet, the Goofball and I have all caught at least one really good wave.

I’ve only just got back out here after a long, easy right-hander took me almost all the way to shore. It’ll be a while before there is another like that, I think.

But just a few yards away a wave begins to jack. I turn and paddle, and soon feel the way the wave has caught the 8’7” and is carrying it along. I spring up: it feels effortless and now I’m riding along the face of the wave. I shift a little, the board accelerates and I feel that sudden, exhilarating surge and the sensation of weightlessness. It’s like there is nothing to restrain me, no walls to box my spirit in.

clean at rossnowlagh...

clean at rossnowlagh…

I shift again, trimming the board so that it remains in the energy centre of the wave. When it seems that the wave is spent there is another surge and I keep on going.

I paddle back out when it’s over. Even if the first two waves are the only good ones I get, it’ll have been a great session, I think. But I’m not in the back-line for long and there is another one. Again I’m up quickly, again I feel the drop.

This time I see Emmet on the inside, paddling to get back out. He whoops as he sees me glide by. I crouch a little to keep in the sweet-spot; I can feel myself smiling.

When I’m paddling I see Emmet whizz by, he’s whooping even louder. Out to my right the Goofball has found a left-hander and she slides away towards Finn McCool’s.

We meet out in the back-line again; sit on our boards for a while to rest. Farther out a tall, lean figures paddles for a wave: one, two, three strokes and he’s up instantly, moving the board casually this way and that. When he gets closer I see that it’s Neil Britton, owner of Finn McCool’s, Rossnowlagh legend.

a left at rossnowlagh...

a left at rossnowlagh…

‘Never seen Neil in before,’ says Emmet. ‘It’s never been good enough…’

Neil rides for a while, then drops down on to his board and starts paddling back out, his movements completing the oval of wave ride and paddle back to position.

There are plenty waves for the rest of us; it’s just a matter of catching your breath when you get to the back-line. There is never a long wait.

After a time I meet up with the Goofball again. Her lips are blue and her hands are tucked in under her arms.

‘Think I’m gonna go in,’ she says. ‘I’m getting cold…’

‘Just one or two more,’ I say, ‘it’s too good not to.’

I’m tiring and think that maybe my technique will let me down. But the next wave comes and I’ve popped-up and taken the drop before I know it.

Eventually we each catch one more in, must’ve been a three hour session, I reckon. My legs are jelly-like as I wade out, the Goofball’s teeth are chattering, Emmet’s head lolls to one side.

But I can feel something shine out of my eyes as I look at the others, I see the same thing radiate from theirs. We high five but say nothing. There is no need.

Posted by: smithdavid | February 2, 2014


It’s our last day in Rossnowlagh; we’ve come in for a surf even though, at first, it seemed as though there was no power in the swell. Emmet and the Goofball have caught a wave or two (it seems we were wrong about the waves having no power); I’ve botched the first few.

I paddle farther out, past the back-line. I sit on the 8’7″ hire board; I’ve decided to observe the shape and form of the waves for a while before attempting to catch another.  There is a series of splashes about ten yards to my right: the sounds repeat in a calm rhythm, they are not frantic enough to be those of a surfer. I watch the source of the souund for a while; soon the shiny, gray body of a porpoise glides out of the water and then submerges.

‘You see that?’ I call to Emmet, who is twenty yards farther back towards the shore.

He grins and calls back, ‘It’s pretty cool, alright…’

some weight behind the waves...

some weight behind the waves…

A waves approaches – a gray line pulsing in. As it jacks up I can see that it will not break in front of me, but closer in to shore. I paddle towards it, let it lift me and set me down again. It forms an edge beyond which there seems to be a steep fall. Then it thunders over on itself, throwing spray into the air. The next wave is the same.

someone going towards clean water...

someone going towards clean water…

Now one comes that, if I turn quickly, I can catch. I lie down on the board, turn and paddle. The board begins to rush with the wave; I spring up and begin riding. I shift my left leg a little, put more weight on it. The wave begins to curl over on itself and I surge down it’s face. There is churning white water on either side of me, smooth gray water just ahead. I steer the board right, getting into a position just ahead of the shoulder. I’m now riding almost parallel with the shore: the proper use of this slow, long, Rossnowlagh right. As the power of the wave starts to fade it seems to swell up again and I steer on to the reformed face. I’m taken another fifty or sixty yards towards the cliffs at Smuggler’s.

When I finally dive off the board I’m in waist high water; it’s been quite a ride. I stand for a while and catch my breath. My hair is damp, there is warm water in between my back and my wetsuit, a breeze on my cheeks. I feel the way my mouth is pulling up in to a smile. I realize that for the last few moments there have only been sensations, no thoughts. I get on to the board again and start paddling, hungry for another wave like that.

Posted by: smithdavid | January 26, 2014

Leaving me Behind

We’re in the living room of Finn McCool’s Surf Lodge, Rossnowlagh. Hannah’s eating her high protein power breakfast (eggs), Emmet and I are eating toast. I point to East London on the world surf map that hangs on a wall, show them my home break (‘home break’ is tenuous seeing as I’ve never lived there, but Dad lives there and I surf whenever I visit).

I look out the large window towards where the waves break. The lines of swell that pulse in from the deeper water seem small and toothless as they jack up and break.

small & toothless

small & toothless

‘Might be okay?’ I say.

‘Sure, we’ll give it a try – last day…’ says Hannah.

Emmet shrugs, shakes his head. ‘It’s giving even smaller than yesterday…’ he says. ‘But suppose we’ll have to go in, won’t we?’

Now we’re wading in, three of us, boards floating on the waist high water as we guide them forward. Emmet slides on to his board, starts paddling towards the back-line. Hannah wades in a little farther and then a reforming wave approaches, the face cleaning up and rising two feet. She turns, pulls herself on to the board. The wave begins to pull her and she makes a few strokes and then pops up, right foot first.  She’s crouched, her hands pull at the air as they always do. Her eyes clench with focus, she rides, staying on the clean face of the wave. She goes for fifty yards or so, it seems there’s more weight behind the waves than my peak out the Finn McCool’s window suggested.

‘Go Goofball, go…’ I shout, knowing she won’t hear.  The nickname has just come to me. Of course it’s because she’s a goofy-footer, but there’s also the fact that she’s ever so slightly, endearingly, clumsy.

Another clean, two-footer approaches. I hesitate – if I want to improve my surfing I need to get out to the back-line more often, where the waves have more bite. So really I should paddle over this wave, keep going. But I turn and paddle, the temptation of a small, easy wave to get the confidence up is too much.

The 8’7″ board begins to glide with the wave, I put my hands on the board, they’re near the bottom of my rib cage. It should be easy now, a thrust with the arms and I’ll be up on my feet, riding. But my left hand slips and my chest hits the deck. The board slews off at an awkward angle, the wave pulses on to the shore, leaving me behind.



Just a fluke, small mistake, I think and begin paddling again. Another two-footer comes, again I can’t resist and turn. This time my back foot slips and I’m in the water and the wave travels to the shore without me.

I stop for a minute, draw a deep breath. Out towards the back-line Emmet has caught one and is riding casually right. Then the Goofball also gets one, rides left, crouched.

It’s me who’s the clumsy one now, I think. And this after two nights of solid surf talk.

I do the only thing that can be done, get back on the board, resume paddling.

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.

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.

Posted by: smithdavid | January 5, 2014


Emmet and I are in at Rossnowlagh, it’s the first time I’ve surfed since the fractured shoulder. The first wave I caught was a scramble to make but once I was on it, the old feeling was back – the rush of water, periphery blurred, the sensation of floating.

But now as I paddle I can feel stiffness in my shoulder (where the deltoid attaches to the humerous to be exact). It’s small swell and nothing is jacking up too quickly so it’s not a matter of life or death but it is making things a little more difficult than they should be. Also, fitness is a factor – you can run as much as you like but there is no substitute for time in the water, paddling.

I take a wave, it’s half-broken and a small but I manage to get up, ride it for a while. When I’m done and am paddling back out I see that Emmet has moved down the beach to where the waves are peaking more consistently. I paddle a little more, arm aching but still mobile. When I reach the backline, I sit up on the 8’7″ hire board, catch my breath.

rossnowlagh cliffs...

rossnowlagh cliffs…

Down the beach, at the peak, Emmet takes one. He’s a little slow getting up but there is forgiveness in the Rossnowlagh waves and he trims so that he’s close to the lip, lets the wave take him all the way to the cliffs in the corner.

Envious of his ride, I take the next plausible looking wave. But my calf has cramped and I can’t pop-up. I slip off the board, cursing. I try to straighten my toes to ease the cramp. This has never happened before, to me it’s a simple case of too much time away from the sea.

Now I paddle towards the peak, stiff shoulder and all. I find Emmet in the line-up and then see a longboarder carving by. There is a streak of blonde hair, a ginger beard. There’s no doubt who it is.

‘Look what the tide brought in,’ says Glen, smiling, as he paddles past me on the way to the backline. It’s been over a year since we surfed together last.

‘Couldn’t stay away…’ I say.

‘Looks like you’re out of practice…’

‘Shoulder injury,’ I say.

‘Everyone has an excuse…’ he says. ‘I’m parked in the corner, catch up later…’ He motions to the car park, the unmistakeable Bryan S. Ryan van is there. Then he paddles out for another one.

finn mccool's (small building beside sandhouse hotel)

finn mccool’s (small building beside sandhouse hotel)

Emmet gets a few more long, clean rises. I paddle around for a few, never really picking anything up.

We go in at last. I’m disappointed but the feeling fades quickly, there is clean air to breathe, waves to listen to.

Emmet and I make the call to stay in Rossnowlagh as we change out of our wetsuits. We speak to Neil, there is space in Finn McCool’s Surf Lodge but we’ll have to share with a girl. We shrug our shoulders, how bad can that be?

We take our bags upstairs, Emmet starts to unlock the room door and there is a shriek from inside.

‘Can you hang on a minute? I’m changing…’

Emmet pulls his face into an ‘oops’ expression.

‘No problem, take your time…’ I say. We drop our bags in the hallway, look out the window to the green slopes of Donegal.

Posted by: smithdavid | December 29, 2013


We’re on the road again, Emmet and I, the car aimed towards Enniskillen, Belleek, Ballyshannon and finally Rossnowlagh. It’s the end of August, five months since I fractured my shoulder, seven since I’ve surfed. The organic excitement within me this morning was like the counterpoint to the dense, heavy feeling I experience every time the clocks move forward and the evenings close in.

Through Belleek and the subject of creating art comes up (in Emmet’s case it’s music, in mine, obviously, writing).

‘I think it was Napoleon that said “if you want to know a man, look at what he was doing when he was twenty”‘ says Emmet. At twenty Emmet was mesmerized by the Manchester dance scene and its influence is evident in the electronica he composes now.

At twenty my head was stuck in engineering books and sport at Wits, Johannesburg. I scarcely read a novel in the four years I was there, let alone wrote anything. Telling, I wonder? Though soon I am aware that the past is gone and of little relevance at this moment.

longboarders at rossnowlagh

longboarders at rossnowlagh

We stop for a sandwich at the filling station outside Belleek, there are only about twenty minutes to go to reach Rossnowlagh but there is nowhere to buy food there.

I need to rent a board (Matilda is in my apartment in Hammersmith, I couldn’t face the logistical challenges of getting her to Ireland at five in the morning, the time of my flight).

I phone Finn McCool’s (Rossnowlagh’s surf shop/lodge/school) and talk to Neil Britton. The last time I wanted to hire a board there they only had soft, swell boards. This time they have an 8’7″ hard board.

Soon we’re in the Finn McCool’s car park, I get the board, we get changed into our wetsuits.

‘I hope that arm of yours is going to work,’ says Emmet. ‘If it doesn’t you’ll be paddling around in circles…’

We walk down the path at the side of the Sandhouse Hotel. There are about twenty or thirty surfers in the line up already. But they’re spread out, there is plenty of space for everyone.

Even though my shoulder was thoroughly treated back in London, there is still stiffness in it as I paddle. Also, the rest of my body has become unaccustomed to the movements of surfing after the long layoff.

Emmet paddles farther out, sits out the back for a while, then is up on one of the long, slow waves.

lines of swell at rossnowlagh...

lines of swell at rossnowlagh…

It takes me a few attempts to catch my first wave. And when it does come it’s not perfectly formed and there is no thrilling drop. But once I’m up and riding and feeling that old sense of weightlessness it’s like all the months in between now and my last surf are compressed and that it was only a day or two ago that I last surfed in Cape Town.

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