An excerpt from An Irish Road Trip ’08
The Players: Colin and myself
Location: Strandhill, Ireland
The Irish Surf
So it was a Monday. The onslaught of a hail storm attacking Colin’s windshield jerked me out of my slumber in a truly disagreeable fashion. Wide-eyed and confused I slowly examined my surroundings as angry balls of ice slammed onto and off of the red station wagon. Strangely relieved, I snuggled back into the reclined passenger seat hoping to doze off again while waiting for Colin and his Real estate agent to finish their meeting.
I wasn’t too crazy about the prospect of getting into the ocean with the air temp at the level it was and I figured a fairly ferocious hail storm would definitely cancel the outing. I, of course, was wrong; and an hour later I found myself shivering and pants-less in a windy seaside parking lot as I awkwardly tried to squeeze myself into a damp rubber suit.
The changing weather patterns between rain, hail, and sunshine all held onto the same constant control variable: a bitter, piercing wind whisking off the seas surface. It was miserable and accompanied by an almost queasy feeling in my stomach which was obviously telling me that my body did not think this was a good idea. To be honest my mind was right there as well, but I have a history of doing seemingly ridiculous things for nothing more than the story. And what the hell, now I can tell people I have been surfing in Ireland.
Low and behold, the shivering that was on the verge of uncontrollable ceased to be as soon as I was suited up. Surely the cool, winter ocean will have something to say about that. But as I followed Colin past the first set of breaks and eventually became completely submerged the only feeling I could identify was exhilaration. The water almost felt warm!
Now conditions weren’t the best, and I was pretty rusty, even so poor Colin peered on with a part inquisitive, part worried look as I struggled through the torrent waters. My 2 year hiatus from surfing had me looking more like a retarded seal floundering helplessly through the breakers than a human trying to catch a wave. But in between sets, as I sat on my board and peered at the majestic Irish cliffs to my left and the vast Atlantic Ocean to my right, I couldn’t help but think, “It’s going to be a good day…”