The Hype behind the “Black Monday” swell which was generated by a 934mb Atlantic low pressure named Hercules, was incredible. News crews and media both inside and out of the surfing world
were in a frenzy in the build up to the predicted huge surf. So we just had to be there and join two of our Irish team members, legendary chargers Peter Conroy and Conor Maguire. We made the final call on Saturday along with the talented UK Northcore team rider/surfer Sandy Kerr to make a 2 day return dash to Bundoran, Donegal hauling our jet ski with us so we could get on the water with all of the other tow teams who were heading to Mully.
The trip began with a drive over from our home on the North sea east coast over to Scotland to catch an evening ferry sailing which we were unsure would even be able to sail given the storm warnings.
Thankfully the ferry was able to depart but the Irish sea was rolling in huge short period seas as the leading edge front of Hercules hit, so it made for a few green faces and a very bumpy journey. Everything that wasn’t bolted down on the ferry was falling over including us! The journey across Ireland to Donegal went without a hitch and we set up base with the Bundoran Surf Co Lodge (It was my first stay there and I’d highly recommend it if you’re ever in Bundoran). The call on Monday was a mid morning start at Mullaghmore head
harbour where the surfers then checked out the swell from the headland. The surf was firing and draining off the reef making for super hollow waves being held up by strong southerlies so everyone was amped to hit the water. First most of the crews had a safety meeting in the harbour hotel hosted by Peter Conroy and Paul O’kane (Paul and also Mikee Hamilton admirably covered safety and rescue from the channel). Peter a Dublin fireman brought medical emergency kit, briefed on procedures for injury, drowning etc and all decided on the water etiquette for the day. It was great to see such professionalism and a mutual respect among the tow surfers. It was mid-morning when everyone hit the water with the skis after being tackled by RTE news for interviews with Peter and Sandy making the 6 o’clock news below:
The crews headed out and Peter Conroy snagged a few of the early bombs along with Nic Von Rupp and Andrew “Cotty” Cotton from Devon, who along with Sandy Kerr was wearing one of the new Patagonia gas inflatable life vests (we’ll feature this in another blog as it’s a sick piece of kit).
The early part of the session was bathed in stunning sunlight and it was incredible to witness close up the waves exploding on the reef and look behind to see the whole headland lined with cars and spectators. The tow surf crews scored a few early waves then gave the paddle surfers a crack at the peak. After a long while of wave after wave going unridden other than by some of the fearless bodyboard crew, Fergal Smith managed to snag the only wave paddled into during the session. Eventually the tow crews got another look in after watching so many perfect waves going unridden and Peter Conroy
scored a sick final wave to end what was an amazing day.
Northcore would like to give a huge shout out to all of the boys who made us so welcome in Ireland with special thanks to Conor Maguire (and his mums amazing cooking!), Peter Conroy, Ollie O’Flaherty, James Skerritt and Peter at Bundoran Surf Co. Also a shout out to Sandy Kerr who had to put up with me for 48hrs! cheers lads