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.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Playing with the Jellies

Jellyfish are cool creatures despite the stings. I always find them mesmerising to watch their slow pulsating swim, usually on a dive you may spot one or two but on this day they were all over the place. It made for an awkward kind of diving.

When freediving the best technique is to keep your head prone or tucked down towards you chest both in the descent and the ascent to help with equalising and hydrodynamics. If you need to avoid the stinging tentacles you obviously need to look up and around you. Myself and my brother Sean found these guys in relitivly poor visibility but on a susequent dive they were all gone none to be seen. So often this happens that a swarm may be seen due to ideal conditions then the conditions change and the jellies move off again en masse. All of the pictures are from Thumb rock in Mullaghmore. The previous weekend I had great watertime.

Went to Streedagh for a surf but there was no swell there so went for a dive in Mullaghmore instead where the pollock were in good numbers and the vis giving that eerie spooky feeling you sometimes get diving in Irish waters. That same afternoon went back to Steedagh with my daughter and the swell had picked up and the wind died down leaving some nice catchable waves. Caught my longest ride so far that day on the Pink lady.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A mindful wake up call if your feeling stressed about work life etc.

Read this and was struck by it. Amazing what seems important and what seems insignificant when faced with a situation like Mario was. Especially important when you consider the meltdown thats going on with job losses etc. This too will pass I guess is the only mantra when it comes to work and business.

A Little Perspective

The follow on from the rescuer in the water is here.


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Saturday, July 4, 2009

With something this beautiful why pump it full of shit?

The epa in Ireland is taking notes thank goodness. You can see some of the info here and read the full report. In fairness the new plant in Sligo bay just came on stream so hopefully it will make a big difference but it will take a while. It's hard to believe after ( or because of) all these years of development we still never got this sorted.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


If you haven't seen Sharkwater the film yet please do so. It's a great film to watch purely for entertainment value ( even my girlfriend liked it) but has a very strong message about shark finning which is a pretty sickening industry. I have different issues with Sea Shepard and some of their tactics but bottom line is that theyare very active and can categoricly state they have saved x amount of whales, sharks, seals etc. Shark finning is such a huge waste and depleting such a precious natural resource. A live shark is worth much more than a dead one from a toursim aspect. It's really horrible watching a shark being definned and then thrown back into the water to drown.

Rob is a great freediver and a very talented camera man. He faced some serious challenges in making this film not just the usual financial but organised crime, corrupt officials and serious medical issues.
Just watch it and then if you do see somewhere serving sharkfin soup boycott it but tell them why.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Surf and dive in Kilkee.

Great weekend just gone by. With friends and family I had a mini stag in Co.Clare surfing at Spanish point and freediving at Kilkee. Some pictures below.
Big shout out to Paul who had a fear of water but took the plunge and came surfing with us. Now he is hooked and wants to learn to swim properly so he can experience more. The smile on his face in picture two says it all. I think this is the only way forward for our Oceans. The more people experiance and appreciate them the more they will stand to protect them but education is the key once they are hooked.

The surf was small but the weather was great on saturday at least. There were only a few others surfing at spanish point where as when I passed through Lahinch I saw hundred's in the water. Had a very chilled dive that evening with great vis and then of course we headed to the pub.

Like Arnie said I'll be back. There is a lot more to see and do but we just did not have the time.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

June 20th International day of surfing

This Saturday is international surfing day and surfrider foundation along with surfingmagazine wants us to catch some waves and pick up some rubbish after the surf.


Ireland seems to be conspicuous by our absense on the international section.
Even if we pick up a few bits each next saturday it should count.

Its my stag night on Saturday and I will be picking up some before the drinking starts.

Pictures may follow depending on how bad they are.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Project Kaisei

My fellow tribester and friend David Pu'u recently posted about this project and while it's great to see the work they are doing it's also pretty scary that we let things get this far. Project Kaisei is all about the floating Island of plastic in the pacific. I know the Atlantic has its share of plastic too but it's not all gathering in one place due to the different currents at play in the Pacific. We need to help our Oceans and that starts at home too. So check out the site:Project Kaisei
and next time there's a beach clean up participate or why wait till then just pick some up and be seen to do it. Try and spread the word as much as you can and donate if you can.