Nick LaVecchia and Randy Gaetano recently returned from an N'east Mag surf trip to Ireland. Below are some thoughts and photos highlighting the trip and the once in a century waves they witnessed.
Ireland was really an amazing trip. We were fortunate in our timing and got to experience Ireland in some ways, at it's best. We drove thru much of the west coast's lush countryside in search of waves, castles and creamy Guinness. The locals warmly welcomed our crew from the other side of the Atlantic- a great group of surfers, writers, photographers and significant others, who were on an "Out of Bounds" trip for N'EAST Mag.
Usually on a trip, especially one of only 9 days, you're presented with one epic aspect, maybe two. Our trip was so blessed that you would think we lived there for a month. We stayed in the most amazing straw-roofed cottages on sheep covered hills. As soon as we arrived we surfed some really perfect, fun days-- only to be discover huge swell on the way for later in the week. We witnessed one of the surfers in our crew, Jamie Moran, tear up some of the biggest waves I've ever seen the Atlantic produce. A huge storm hit while we were there, allowing one Irish surfer to break the Irish big wave record of 55 feet.
We ate really amazing food, the best sheperd's pie and raw oysters I've ever had in my life. We went to pubs and listened to traditional music and drank the best Guinness. We saw castles and old towers, even surfed out in front of one that was 900 years old. We saw rainbows everywhere, even a few rare Irish blue skies. We made new friends. We witnessed 50 foot waves crashing into the Cliffs of Moher with 120 mph winds at sunset! Probably the most stunning panorama I've ever seen and definitely the craziest wind I've ever tried to walk against.
One of my favorite aspects though was the feeling I got from paddling out in Ireland on our 6'0 quad Wherry with bamboo cloth. It felt so great to be an ambassador, taking this sacred object to new waters. In the line up, it was like I was given carte blanche. Guys just wanted to see the board up close. When you'd go for a wave, people would just get out of your way. I felt like our fish was made for this right-hander we found, it would just carve these walls forever, always generating momentum. And when the offshore wind picked up, I didn't have to cheat inside cause the little extra weight from the bamboo cloth helped me get in earlier than the foamies. I could have stayed on that wave for days.