Well, its been good of late, even though it went a bit lame midweek again. But last weekend …. amazing. Hot with temperatures about 8 or 10 degrees above the yearly average. We did the camp-at-the-coast caper, and had two sessions out west that I’ll remember for years to come. Bliss. Midweek, and it went onshore, and somewhat shapeless. Enough said.
Weekend-wise, its shaping up some, but not looking epic by any means. Waves out west for sure, but smallish. Up north, we may struggle.
Other things …
20 shots of glorious global action just up from Donegal, Macklin, CA, Queensland, jAy etc.
Thurso Highland Open
I’ll have a dedicated online feature with top UK surfer Sam Lamiroy about this next week. Comp runs from the the 24 April to the 1st May. Thurso is a renowned Scottish spot right up at the very north end of the country. As it happens, we were sat beside Sam in the lineup a month ago out west in that perfect swell we got – I thought he was Welsh … embarrassing.. Hes from up in the N East, Newcastle way. Sam was out with Easkey Britton and some other top Irish shredders. They landed at the spot we were at, hastily proceeding to mop the place up – barrelled every damn wave, aquacam etc. We got the message and headed on up the coast. Sam is an amazing surfer, and a good man to hear from. I never been up that far, but Mal [our man in Aberdeen] often mails to say it a top top spot. I’ll post the audio link as soon as I get it next week. But in the meantime heres the official site link for the Thurso comp: www.oneilleurope.com/highlandopen/
EPA N. Ireland?
We don’t have an Environmental Protection Agency here, much to the annoyance of all sorts of groups like the RSPB. Check this though. It seems a dialogue is set to open between enviro-groups here and the pending Stormont Executive. This just in from the RSPB:
“RSPB NI have today welcomed the comments made by incoming Environment Minister Arlene Foster that she is keeping an ‘open mind’ on the creation of an independent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for Northern Ireland. RSPB NI’s Policy Advocacy Officer said:
“I welcome the fact that the Minister-in-waiting is willing to keep an open mind on this issue. Her comments reflect those of a Minister who is prepared to hear a broad range of opinion on the subject before making any decisions. RSPB NI, and indeed other environmental organisations have supported the creation of an independent EPA for quite some time, and believe that such a body has the potential to begin to address the serious problems which are facing our environment at present. Much work has still to be done to establish an independent EPA. However, we are confident that a fully functioning assembly with local elected representatives will recognise and understand the need for, and benefits of, such a body. I also want to welcome the Minister’s assertion that she looks forward to meeting with environmental groups at an early stage. RSPB NI is keen to work in partnership with a locally accountably Environment Minister, to deliver the necessary changes which are required with regards to environmental protection and sustainability in Northern Ireland.”
Interesting. I’ll keep an eye.
Our lineup has been stoked to the highest degree lately, and its been the same story for others in sweet offshore conditions. What about this from Martin up at Port':
“I’ve just gotta report I have just had the best 3 days of surfing in Ireland yet. Thursday and Friday were nice in Port – nice smallish waves and great weather. But yesterday on down the coast was awesome. Constant off shore, warm 3 -4ft clean sets with a nice break in between to paddle out. I rifled down a number of really speedy lefts, though the waves did dump a bit, preventing any decent turns . But still it was just sensational. And here’s the best bit – THERE WAS NO-ONE ELSE THERE! Just me and me mates. Port was bunged. Car parks stuffed full, body boarders and kids everywhere. Not a bit of it with us though Yours exhausted and stoked. MMcN.”
And the Mighty Macklin has arrived here from Oz after all, hitting the shoulder hard already by the sounds of it:
” …I’ve been surfing my nuts of.surfing up and down the coast with good swell and nobody around this place is heaven! …”
A good option coming into the summer lulls? Ger in Foyle Paddlers mails to say theyre doing a course on this – exploring the coastline, cliffs and beaches from a sea kayak. 5 week course. No experience is necessary – full training and all equipment provided. Course starts Wednesday 25th April, meet at boathouse, Prehen at 6.00 p.m. For further details contact: Gareth – 028 71 311639 or David – 028 71 358496. Cost – £60 Sterling. [Interview on air today, just after the 4 o clock surf cast.]
After last week, some folks mailed thoughts on the issues being experienced by some water users re: jetskiers coming in very close to shore. Heres Jack, who’s been in the water here for more years than he cares to remember… :
“Mark – Re your article on Jetskiing. Jetskiers like to be seen. There is no use a jetskiers skiing way out where no one can see them. It’s a macho thing isn’t it skiing in close to the beach? but dangerous. I wouldn’t have a clue how to solve it. Some of the Jetskiers are only ten and driving 1200’s, Ten years old …chiiiiii. All the best”.
Simon mails in a similar vein:
“I doubt very much there is jetski code …. they are big kids with too much money and no sense!”
So … theyre here to stay – but worth pointing out that many are concerned when they come in close. For now, theres no legislation that I know of. Places like the Lake District are really tightly zoned for things like jetskis, but theres no sign of that here yet. In the meantime, be aware if they they enter the lineup.
Talking of sea faring craft, check this story… bit spooky.
This annual meteorite shower is the oldest recorded in history, going right back to Chinese stargazers in 687 BC. For Irish observers, the shower peaks on Sunday night at about 10pm. In a clear sky, it might be amazing to get the kids etc out to count the ‘shooting stars’ in the night sky. The Lyrids occour in the constellation of Lyra – the Harp. Lyra gets a few showers a year, but Im told this one is usually the best.
Keith “Celtic Man” Harkin
Great news this week from Keith Harkin. Keith is a good local surfer, but also has real talent as a singer and songwriter. Hes been playing bars and supporting the likes of John Martyn this past year etc, but a lot of us have wanted to see him get a proper break. And here it is … ‘Celtic Woman’ was a huge show tour of America. It was a la Riverdance, only with songs, 5 women singers, celtic culture and not so much dancing. It was so big in the States that now they’ve commissioned ‘Celtic Man’. They needed 5 upcoming young bloke singers from here to do it, and guess what – Keith got the ticket this week. This is big news for the local charger, and not before time that he gets his professional chance. Im trying to do another “Surfism” event before summer, so I’ll try and draw Keith into that. Plus I hope to have him in for the full story and a tune next week. Will update if so. Im sure anyone who knows him is as stoked as I am with this news. Well done bru!
That’s bout it …
Hope the weekend shapes up some.