5 May, 2010 5 May, 2010

Bundoran, Ireland – Irish Isles Spot Check

One good reason to head on over to the Emerald Isles.

Let’s face it, Ireland is a long way from home and a pretty unlikely surf destination for those of us living in sunny South Africa. There is a saying that in Ireland if it’s not raining it means that it’s about to rain. It is usually cold, and when they do have a smidgen of summer there are no waves about.

There is one fairly large section of the South African surfing population that is within easy reach of Ireland, unbelievably, and they should take note of this little cold surfing wonderland – the London based South African surfer. Many Saffas claim to base themselves in London to be saving Pounds for international travel and a year in Indo with multiple Viza runs to Singapore – very few do it and most simply drink their hard earned foreign currency away in pseudo South African, Australian and Kiwi pubs scattered all over the British hinterland. These guys would do well to take cognisance of the fact that Ireland is just around the corner.

Local Bundoran ripper, Fergal Smith, tearing at the Peak and a few other spots in his backyard.


The Peak:
One of the jewels of the Irish surfing scene is The Peak at Bundoran. A classic set up of left and that runs forever and offers barrels and speed runs, the Peak is fairly rare and when it goes there will always be a real pack on it. It is a world-class wave after all, and with such good forecasts it is easy enough for UK – based surfers to get going on a ferry before the storm arrives, and set up shop in Bundoran for a cracker session.

Best conditions:
The Peak reminds me of a classic Cape Town reef, except it reels off over flat rocks and on a good day turns into a really long ride. It likes a wind with a bit of east on it, and it likes a medium tide, getting too low and too high. The Peak throws some serious barrels as well, and one can backdoor sections for some thick chandeliers. The Peak works best on a 4 to 6ft swell, but has been known to hold bigger sets when the direction is perfect and the tide is fairly full. There are good lip sections, a few rocks poking out here and there, and some sections on the top as well as further down the left where you can tuck in. be warned, when the peak is cooking it is going to be bitterly cold – so cold you might seriously not know what is going on after 30 minutes in the water.


Bundoran overview

The not so secret spot:
The secret spot that was surfed in Litmus is actually viewable from the Peak. Pointless naming it here, but if you are surfing the Peak you can see a fearsome left crashing down on the cliffs ‘just-over -there’. Too far to walk to, but easily accessible.

Around the corner: 
Around the corner from the Peak is a perfect wedging left-hand beach break that breaks off a little cliff. When the swell goes small, which is often in summer but pretty rare in winter, then this is the place to be.

The town:
Bundoran is a surfing town. Everyone knows what’s happening with the surf, and the pubs have plenty of surfer population downing fine Irish beer and whiskey.  The Irish surfing experience is very different to anything you would expect. On one of my trips there (I have been a few times) I got skunked. On the last night I was talking to my friends, and thought aloud when I said, in reference to being skunked  “this place owes me.” One of the local lads pricked up his ears, and said fairly sternly. ‘This place owes you nothing. You’re welcome to come back, but this place owes you nothing.” ‘Nuff said.

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