Wednesday, April 21, 2010

First dive on the line in 2010

Last weekend Philipe, my brother Sean and yours truly finally got down to business freediving on the line. Up to now all forays into the blue have just been for pleasure, now it was time to do a bit of deep training. On Sunday morning last we hopped in the boat at 10am and headed out towards Thumb rock.
After anchoring the boat we dropped our line down into about 18m and started our dives. The vis was excellent and you could easily see the surface from the bottom which is pretty unheard of in Irish waters. If the water was warmer we could have been in the Med.
The day before I was diving and drifting with the incoming tide and got a few shots from the camera. The fish life is definitly coming back into the shallower water now. Some pollock and wrasse and of course the millions of sand eels that glitter and glisten in the sun. Magic.

Monday, March 1, 2010

First 2010 splash

Well on Sunday I got my first dive of 2010. I cant tell you the depths as my D4 is still away being fixed with Suunto but I guess it was around 8-10m max. Pretty easy dives but very cold on my fingers despite the gloves. The vis was an excellent 6-7m which I have not seen in a long long time and was helped by the sun shining down.
I made my way out to Thumb rock the top of which was actually showing it's kelp fronds due to the very low tide. There were no other divers which I was surprised at although the chilly 8C water may have put them off.there was one fishing boat not far off but they must have been checking pots or bouys as they hardly moved while I was there. I only saw two what I think were Pollock out there and they were deeper than I was so not sure what size they were but not very big in any case.

On the way back in at around 3m depth I was surrounded by a huge school of what I think were juvenille Pollock as they were the same shape colour etc. There were literally thousands as far as the eye could see in all directions. I lay in the kelp holding on to keep myself submerged as I was weighted pretty light and they were all around me glistening and shimmering in the sunlight. A brilliant finish to an ordinary dive despite the vis.
Of course I should have had the camera but had left it behind as this was more of a test dive to see if all was ok and make sure I still knew how to hold my breath.

I got a new product from Sven in the states called "suitslip" and tried it out on this dive. In essence instead of the usual hair conditioner and water that I bring you mix this before you go and has its own sprayer. Only needs a few squirts and your good to go. The best thing is there are no harsh chemicals in it so it's kind to the skin and it's pretty foolproof to get the ideal mix ratio as Sven has a marker on the bottle to fill up to so it's simple enough even for me. Over the years I think the conditioner has been affecting me as my thighs etc are prone to irritation where they weren't before. You can see more here but I can see myself ordering more of this in the future.

As I said I had no camera with me this time but heres a pic from before.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas day swim.

Every year on Christmas Day a few people who have obviously lost their marbles including yours truly make a splash at 12 noon for charity. This year looked even better and the roads and mountains were covered with snow and ice. My sister has been doing it for a couple of years now as well and I think this was my 13th year. The water was a balmy 7 degree C so no colder than other years really. I lost my sunglasses so a bit fed up with that but I found them in the sea on Achill Island years ago at the end of a dive so back to the sea they go.
Went surfing a few days after in Strandhill which was great but spent too long in there at 2.5 hours and the feet were cold afterwards. The wind has picked up since and I was glad to get a few glassy ones before it did.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Last night in Bundoran a few friends and yours truly attended Tom Wegeners Irish premier of Tom's plantation. His dream of showing others how to make and shape their own alaia board. the board is very thin, very short of your used to a longboard and finless. The waves that are shown in the film and small by and large and the twists and turns done by the team riders are mindblowing.
Tom's a really great guy who is happy to talk non stop to each person interested either individually or in groups. I'm guessing he's some part Irish as he was rarely without a pint of Guinness in his hand. The whole push of this video is to sell the idea of people making their own boards and experimenting themselves to see what works. As a well known shaper Tom got fed up of shaping foam and his breath smelling of glass resin. He moved back to the alaia board using only linseed oil and natural materials. The wood he currently uses is an Austrailian Paulownia which Tom finds best. The off cuts and shavings are used around the factory for burning and compost.

Is there a sales pitch here? Of course there is the guy needs to feed himself and his family but there's also an idea. Don't just buy the mass produced plastic import, try making something yourself and experiment as you learn the feel of the water.

The kit that Tom will be selling in the future will consist of a blank, templates etc and dvd on how to shape the alaia. If needed he may start exporting the wood for the board too. He also had a kook box on display which was the first one I had seen in the flesh and had a champagne cork as a drain hole. Tom's philosophy is to surf the waves you have in front of you and where you need an alaia, kook box, longboard etc whats the point in travelling all over searching for the perfect wave only to find it crowded when you get in, just have fun with the waves in front of you.
Tom wegener nice guy and waterman with a few Teshreds candles to take home to Noosa.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The addiction

Is it the surf or the ocean that keeps us there? Nice session least night in Strandhill as the sun began to set. After an hour and a half in the water in a 3mm suit and no booties the cold started to kick in. But like a junkie after several attempts at leaving I kept going back out for one more wave. Like the proverbial late riser I kept coming up with an excuse to stay "the next wave I'll ride in" or "I didn't catch that one as well as I should have so I'll try for the next". It's always one more wave until my by now numb feet gave no more feeling at all. Plenty more were staying out in the dark to continue on their session.
I often wonder whether it's thrill of the surf or the draw of the ocean that keeps us there and I'm inclined to go with the draw of the Ocean as even with the cold and very little fish life for looking at I still stay out to long when freediving. As a friend has as his signature on a freediving forum " you have to have a good reason to come back up".

Monday, September 21, 2009

Freedive photos show.

This is sitting up in the youtube toolbar but thought I'd post it here too. Hope you enjoy some of the photos. have to see about setting up the camera on the surfboard next to record some of my more spectacular spills.

Monday, September 14, 2009

what a weekend

What a great weekend. Got out Saturday and Sunday morning at 8 am and found perfect clean waves and only a few others in the water. Finished both sessions at 9.30 to head off to Tony Butts Oceanography session. Very very informative course which helped with the reading and predictions of swell and weather etc. Couldn't stay for all of the course but made all the morning sessions which were the main ones for me.

Tony's relaxed style suited us all I think and there was plenty of interaction with questions and answers. Once we got into the equations of the energy make up of waves I started wandering but the info was all good. There's an awful lot of stuff in his head just bursting to get out. We didn't even get to touch on tides as most people wanted to get swell prediction down to a fine art. Tides would be another course in itself with all the possible permutations.

I cant even begin to get some of the content down but Coriolis force and wave group progagation were just a few bits of jargon I picked up and now understand. A lot of the theory helps understand how some of the sites like magic seaweed or windguru get their information and assemble their graphs.