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Who would have thought that we would be watching not ONE but TWO nominees surfing Irish waves for the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards 2012. Best of luck to both of you! (Although I have to admit I'm in Ollie's camp - gotta stick with the green 'n' gold - Yeeeeeoww!)
Vote for the lads here: http://www.surfingmagazine.com/news/billabong-2012-xxl-nominees-announced/
The swell was small but the weather was good. We can usually make do with one out of two of these. Great day out here on day ONE!
Big props to Mr. Eddie Lacey for pulling it all together along with a great team of dedicated support also. Hope we can do it all again!
Big thanks to all competitors also!
Below is the full version of a little piece called "On its Day" that I wrote for Wavelength Surf Magazine recently. The idea, I think, was to take a photo a build a story around it. Hope you all enjoy it.
ON ITS DAY
It’s not the same. That is, surfing when you have a beautiful wife and children; it’s not the same as surfing when you had no beautiful wifse and children. At least for me anyway.
On the day this photo was taken I had spent the morning with my little 2-year-old daughter. One of my newborn twin boys was in hospital 60 miles away and the other was in hospital 180 miles away in a very serious condition. Not going into detail, life was tough and completely upside-down on Wednesday 16th February 2011.
I welcomed my wife home late morning with a kiss and a casual “I thought I might go for a surf this afternoon darling” type of greetings. The eyes don’t lie though. She could see the urgency in my eyes. That “If I don’t get down the beach in the next 30 seconds the waves might stop FOREVER and I will NEVER get to surf again” kind of a look.
We all like to keep an eye on the swell. Lets not lie about it. If you are in church on a Sunday morning or preparing for an exam the night before, even if you were planning to attend your grandmother’s funeral – we’re still tuned into what is happening down the coast at our local breaks. We can’t help it.
I thought that I might miss the best of the waves but as they say, “better late then never”. From a surfing perspective our waves in Kerry on the south west coast of Ireland don’t tend to be epic very often. We don’t have the same kind of reefs that dot the coast more north of us. We don’t really have much on offer when the wind is west or more often southwest. But every now and then, for the surfer who has put in the time and had his fair share of being “skunked” even though he has driven around the county twice… every now and then, on it’s day, Kerry shines!
My journey saw that lovely morning blue sky surrender to a more grey and cloudy one. The odd squally rain shower didn’t put me off while I hoped most of the lads would be having a break by the time I got there and I might even catch a few on my own.
All I can say is that not too far from Inch Beach there are rights and there are lefts and on its day there are waves for everyone!
The clouds passed as I drove over the hill. I could see the spray coming off the backs of the waves that were still dotted with the surfer silhouettes in the February afternoon sunshine. My right foot became instinctively heavier and my pace increased. Finding parking was as always a bit of fun. I was going to have to block someone but the crowd was mellow and seen as nobody would be leaving before Mr. Sunshine did, I just parked it up and did a Clark Kent wetsuit change.
Wading out into the water I began to think of my van. My work. My wife. My girls. My boys so many miles away in their hospital cots. “Dear God in Heaven, keep them all safe and each one out here surfing today too.”
I love that first duck dive.
There‘s a point in between wet and dry when the world is blurred. You can breath but the water hasn’t quite cleared from your face. There are lights and shapes. There’s confusion. You can hear the water crashing and moving everywhere around you. Up and down are distorted and then you pop up. It’s like being born. You breathe as if it were your first. You feel alive! You are thankful. You do it again.
The waves were a nice size, offshore with 4-5ft sets. The crowd was content and the sky cleared again.
All the usual crew were out and some unusual. For a long time very few or even no surfers lived in the immediate area. Most of us that surfed here would find ourselves out alone or with 2-3 others back in the day. Now there is a genuine local crew, there is the crew that have surfed here since day dot and there is a fresh breed of regulars that don’t live anywhere near the spot but I guess they would consider it their local break.
Whoever owns it? I don’t know. One thing was for sure though. Everyone was surf stoked on perfection and in the midst of the good vibes there was a cup of tea for everyone on the shoreline.
I struggled to catch a wave. My fitness was not at its peak so I had to be patient. Lets just say I was born again, and again and again for a while.
Finally getting to my feet I cruised down the glassy face of a 4-foot right-hander. “Nothing fancy Shane” I said to myself. “Get one good one under your belt and then try the manoeuvres”. Ah but when a lip feathers up in front of you and whispers “Come hit me”, what can you do? Big bottom turn gouge into vertical position up the wave face into layback off the lip top turn into “Where did my board just go?” into the ‘down with the lip without your board’ manoeuvre, into that distorted wet/dry place I spoke about and into that first breath again.
…into lets do it all over again!
After my surf I placed my camera and myself along the banks of a left. I spent the evening clicking away while chatting to the guys getting in and out. Some old faces, some new faces but all happy faces.
Coming home I began to think of my family again and to wonder.
It’s almost one year later now and it’s still not the same. Surfing that is. Its not even the same as it was this time last year. I get out more. I enjoy it more. I fall a little less. And my two girls and two healthy twin boys are sizing up their wetsuits and boards for the summer ahead. I don’t think it will ever be the same but ‘on its day’ it is still amazing!
The Kerry Crew in the late 90s and early Naughties! Slightly embarrassing, slightly funny -
This video is old and compressed but a bit of a laugh for sure.
Back in 2004 I put together this short DVD of Surf footage that was collecting on the shelves in my bedroom. It was submitted as a college project but was more for my pleasure than that of my tutors. I was only learning how to use editing software and I suppose I must have used every filter and transition available - and shur why not? Doesn't it look great ha ha!
It is all converted HI-8 footage so the quality is pretty poor.
Respect to all the musicians and bands for the Ceoil too!
The footage is from 1998-2004 and has all different surfers at locations all along the west coast of Ireland.
As it is once again gathering dust on my shelves I thought I might post it here for your delight or disgust.
It's all a bit of a laugh anyways....
(But here are some old ones first...)
I have been pointing a camera at waves for as long as I have been near them. Photos and Video fascinate me and I completely enjoy mixing this with my fascination of the ocean and in particular, surfing.
I filmed for years with those old HI-8 tapes. Hanging out down the beach and driving around looking for surf gave lots of scope for interesting footage of the lads farting around and messing. While we were never malicious I suppose we were often up to no good rogue-ism (if that is a word).
That was on of my first digital venture way back in 2005.
I decided I wanted to experiment in the water and got a raft of a water housing in 2009. Here is my first attempt in the water from Easkey.
It is addictive. I don't seem to get the time to shoot or edit the things I would like to these days but I have a so much footage on hard drive now that it is getting a bit silly.
In late 2009 and 2010 I put this short video together of stuff that had been sitting in my office for a long time.
I thought the slow paced music would match the slow motion of the film and I think having watched it again just now I have to agree with myself... Ha!
I have lots more bits and pieces from over the years and even a 35 minute Surf film I produced in college that might get resurrected soon for your viewing pleasure or dis-pleasure. But I'll leave it at that for now.
P.S. - I am trying to get in touch with musicians who would like to be involved in a project I am working on at the moment. I wanted to get going on this last year but a lot happened in other areas and I was not able to move on it. If you are a musician and you have an interest in promoting what you do through the medium of a surf film then please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or through my website www.onitsurf.com.
The surf film would be in similar presentation as this short teaser that I did get round to putting together.
Thanks everyone and Happy New Year to you all as well!!
was purity and there was the dream, and the adventure, and there was the
counterculture aspect. It was like shove society, shove the nine to five, shove
the rules... we're just going to follow our hearts, treat each other well, eat
well and enjoy the ocean. It was not for money and it wasn't for fame... that's
what we're gunna do... purely because that's what our hearts want to do. That
— Jim Banks (quote from the Switch-foot book)
I can’t follow that up with something smarter. Let me just say that 2011 was a great year for surf and for so much else. While the world turns upside down around us we still have an ‘out’. We give surfing so much because it gives us back so much. If you surf then you know. And if you don’t surf, you should. Here are some of my favourite shots from 2011. Enjoy!
I’ll try and keep this spot updated during 2012 sharing my surfs and photo sessions. If you want to get in touch please email me at email@example.com. I would love to hear from you!