Friday, October 4, 2013

Seasons Surrender

Summer on the west coast is a time for work, evening beers
, friends and enjoying the paradise we are blessed to call home.

Surf instructing is a hard job, hard on body and hard on mind, we worked solidly this season enjoying the ocean and the sun which actually decided to shine this summer!

Its been a great year to slow things down, and re-evaluate whats important to me, spending hours inside my head, planning, plotting and scheming about whats to come and whats already been. After many years travelling pretty much non stop its been so refreshing to just appreciate home and live here, day in - day out.

Time spent in the water teaching people to surf, something that has given me everything in my life, has been time spent well. Working with a solid crew of guys, talking about trips, memories and nights out...its been amazing...but summer is drawing to a close now and leaves are falling, swells are coming and temps are dropping.

Preparation has begun, to live life on somewhat of a frontier, to start new things, and to finish old ones as days get shorter, and we embrace the coming autumn and then winter months which lie ahead.

Home definitely is where the heart is.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Ten years after

Two days ago I realized that I've been living in Ireland for ten years now.

It seems not so long ago that I was selling my worldy possessions to buy a plane ticket from Cape Town to London. I worked there for a short while and then flew over here with my brother Dave, to start a new life. One that revolved around the sea and the weather.

Old school dwelling far from anywhere
It took a year or two for us to get set up, learn the lie of the land so to speak. Its been a whirlwind of travel, waves and meeting friendly people, a blessed life that I am fortunate to lead. Its a tough place to grow roots, its cold, windy, expensive and sometimes lonely but living on the edge of the North Atlantic has a very raw feel to it. We are exposed to nature at her wildest, and I love that.

Heaving waves at the bottom of the highest sea cliffs in Europe

 Ireland is a magical place, theres still lots to discover here. Walking the coastline, or scouring the coast by ski is an amazing experience, watching castles go by, stone walls or huge mountains towering over green fields.

Post surf thaw out.

Shambles watching as I'm about to get thrashed up the rocks

Mid winter kindling harvest.

Heres to the next ten years of living life over here.
Carpe Diem..

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Busy Start

Its been a busy start to the year.

January was pretty much non stop for waves, and it seemed like everyone flew in to have a crack at Mullaghmore on one swell in particular. Guys were showing up from Hawaii and the rest of Europe all week leading up to what turned out to be a fun swell, but nothing epic.
Its funny how certain swells just get so hyped up before they even happen!

I arrived at Mullaghmore slipway to see the usual characters unhitching skis and waxing boards in the pre dawn light. I had Nic Von Rupp in tow for a few days and was pretty keen to see him get a few bombs out on the ledge.

As the swell was only just big enough for the ledge to break, everyone was undecided and kind of waiting for someone else to make a move. We decided to just get out there and see what the day would bring.

I love the anticipation of riding big waves more than the act of riding them sometimes. Theres a certain kind of joy i get from trying to keep my nerves in check, getting my equipment ready, changing into my wetsuit in the drizzle, chatting to the other guys as we all go about our business, readying ourselves for whats to come.

It spins me out, this weird little sub culture I've found myself in. Whilst most people were at home sleeping warmly in their beds, we were out there putting what we know to the test, in probably one of the most hostile environments possible. But everyone has a smile on their face, and would be doing nothing else.

We arrived out on the reef to see a flawless 15ft'er drain down the limestone ledge, such power and perfection. Without letting another go by Nic was in the water and ready to go.
He had never towed before and picked it up really quickly, as I expected. On a borrowed board he navigated some good pits, and got one or two whippings.

The swell dropped overnight and a reef up in Bundoran was pumping the next day. Again Nic got barreled off his head, and had a crazy natural affinity with the wave. It was good to watch someone find the groove first session out there.

The rest of the swell was kind of blown out, and we ended up having pints for Danilos birthday one day up in Bundoran. The boys pretty much agreed that Mullaghmore was one tough cookie to paddle surf, boils, rips, and a fast entry all adding to the technical difficulties of the place.

They also all agreed that we have some of most perfect waves they've seen scattered around Donegal Bay.

 As I sit typing this rain squalls are lashing the windows, and clouds are whistling across the gun metal grey sky. The waiting period for the Mulllaghmore Competition is dwindling down to single figures and we're all holding thumbs for a sizable storm to spin off the coast. Its back to normal again though, just the usual faces in the water and lots of quiet sessions at the end of lonely lanes.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sailing Anna Home

Heres a short video that I put together of myself and two good friends.
We brought sail yacht Anna up the coast of Ireland, from Blacksod Bay to Sligo Bay.
It was a rough day out there and I got so seasick I thought I was going to die so most of the filming credit goes to Willy Tindal.
She is a beautiful boat, and Im sure we'll have many more good times out in the bay next summer.

Sailing Anna Home from Barry Mottershead on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Since we landed..

Autumn in Ireland, what more can I say...

The light is amazing, long rays stretching through the trees, golden hues, warm breezes and pumping waves.
Since leaving Tasmania we've been really busy here, setting ourselves up for the winter.
Days have been filled with wood chopping, surfing, working and foraging shellfish and sun ripened berries.
We have been given the amazing opportunity of looking after a beautiful house, it overlooks an estuary so we can see the tide ebb and flow from the lounge window.
We've had some fun swells too, nothing major yet, no long spells of waves which are quite common with this time of the year but theres been the odd day thrown in if you're willing to drive and hike.

My brother Dave got married to the beautiful Daniela last week, so a bunch of us rented a house down in Co. Clare and partied, BBQ'ed and surfed for a long weekend. 

As luck would have it we coincided our visit with a mega swell courtesy of hurricane Raphael.
Lahinch was buzzing with people, jetskis and rhino chasers.
We managed to find a few waves down at the bottom of the cliff, amongst the crowds.
There were a few big beat downs on that swell, one tore my mate Roosta's hood clean in half and another hit me so hard it felt like my jaw came loose.

I got a lovely quiver from Luke Young, which I've really been enjoying. Its nice to surf some boards that are built to last, and can endure the heft of the Irish waters.

The leaves are still falling off the trees, and we're yet to have our first hard frost, but it wont be long now.
The evenings are long, and the clocks are about to go back. Almost time to hibernate for the winter!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Tripod from the Dump.

The day before leaving Raglan I was spinning out trying to find a video tripod for the trip to Tasmania.
In the end I drove up to the village dump and asked them if they had any old ones. The guy behind the counter produced a rusted, dirty old thing that had a wobbly head and cobwebs hanging off it.
The pricetag said $10, I bargained him down to $5.

Once at home I set about trying to fix the abused, rusted piece of junk using a drill, my trusty leatherman, some epoxy resin and a spirit level I achieved a decent enough pan and stuffed it in my boardbag hoping it would do the job once I reached my destination.

Fast forward two days and Eliz and I are jogging through the Eucalyptus forest at the bottom of Tasmania, trying to catch up to the rest of the guys. We were late arriving to the carpark and I had to screw in fins and wax my 6'6. The guys were amping to get out there and bolted down the trail, shouting back to us that we'd find our way.

The trail splits and forks a few times along the hour and a half hike and the only way we found our way was to follow the footprints in the mud when we came to forks in the path.

Eventually we arrived in the bay sweating, thirsty and scratched to pieces, the waves were pumping and the boys were already out there and I quickly looked for a vantage point for Eliz to film the session from before I paddled out. A ledge on a cliff face looked promising and we followed a faint goat trail up there no doubt left by another photographer in the past.

I pulled out the tripod and set up the camera lent to us by good friends Manu and Greg, and whilst I was showing Eliz how to pan on the jury rigged tripod a serious set started to stack up out the back. I hit record and watched Marti Paradisis paddle into his best ever paddle wave out there.

It was only days later whilst chatting to Marti on facebook that I said I filmed the wave and thought I nailed it. I sent him the clip and he replied saying that the other photographers there had missed it, or didn't have the right angles and could he use it.

Talk about beginners luck! Or maybe, as my dad always says "You make your own luck in life" and my fixing the decrepit tripod in a barn in Raglan was the catalyst to making this happen.

Anyway, today I got a mail from Marti saying were keen to use the clip for a feature. I had to smile, if only they knew the chain of events that went into capturing it and the shitty tripod that was used!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tasmania Trippin'

I just got back from a 'Strike Mission' to Tasmania, for a week of waves and exploring the island.

I must say that I've never flown into a country with the idea of surfing one swell and leaving again, in the past its been more the case of base myself there for a few months and wait for the sessions to happen naturally instead of trying to over plan and analyse everything.
I also thought that the interaction between me and the locals would be more in depth if I was immersing myself in the culture and the place over a period of time.
This past week has proved me wrong and I now have a bigger appreciation for those surfers lucky enough to have the time and money to execute strike missions to their favourite surf spots.

Myself and Eliz flew into Hobart around the same time that a big long range swell was hitting the island, and I was pumped to tow Shipstern Bluff, a wave I've dreamed of riding for a long time.
I had images of big ledges and huge barrels flying around my head as I waited for my boards to arrive off the carousel, and as the images began to fade so did my hope of seeing my boards. After numerous phone calls and lots of pacing around I was told the boards had been forgotten in Melbourne and I would have to wait until midday to collect them.
I was fuming but could do nothing, I sat and waited.

Once collected, I strapped the boards onto the rental and drove like a man possessed for the south of the island and the dirt carpark that I got to know very well over the coming week.

The 1 1/2 hour hike was done in record time and as I got my first view of the bluff and its dwarfed surfers I realised I was too late, the wind had swung cross shore and the skis were leaving the bay after a morning of epic surf. Absolutely gutted and sleep deprived I trudged back to the car and drove to the slipway to meet the guys and hear all about what I had missed.

I found them all eating in a local fish and chip shop and introduced myself to Marti Paradisis and the rest of the down to earth group. These guys are legends, just a bunch of friends who have a common love for this special part of the world, and who all have an affinity with Shippies that only years of dedication will foster.

We all hiked in the next day again as it was smaller, and I finally got to see what the wave looks like from up close. Intimidating.
After watching it for a while I skirted the cliff base and jumped in off the ledge, the boys were super cool and welcoming and I waited my turn watching the guys paddle big drops and cavernous barrels with ease.

Myself and a crazy Peruvian ... You want this one bru?!
It was a tame day by their standards, but for a Stern virgin like me I definitely had some butterflies. The bigger ones were the ones you wanted, but to sit under a 8-10ft ledge and just let go took some mental effort, the drop was pretty intense and then it just steam trains into the bay passed a boulder field that would happily swallow a surfer who can't negotiate the drop, and pull in over the ledges.

Me, feeling my way into the section, pre beat down.

It was a great first go out, and a humbling day for me in this powerful bay at the bottom of the world.

Tasmania is big, bigger than I thought. The locals are extremely proud of their island existence and are quite happy to be detached from the rest of Oz, and seem to revel in their heaving slabs and long lonely bushwalks. 

Most of the guys we met were fishermen, farmers, surfers, skaters or divers or a combination of all these.
It was so refreshing to meet people who know how good they have got it in life, and don't get jaded by their luck. 

Marti 'Para' Paradisis, no shit paddle attack.
Much of the week was taken up by walking in the bush or exploring down dirt roads. The dangling carrot was another tow size swell at the end of the week. Flights were rescheduled and the hire car secured for 2 more precious days.

Once more we started the hike in the freezing pre dawn light and the adrenaline was flowing, good times.

Word on the walk was that Tim Bonython had flown in to shoot the swell, and this raised my hopes of seeing some proper juice down at the end of the track.
Upon getting to the bay we were disappointed to see the swell hadn't really materialized like predicted and it was yet another paddle day, with a snapped 6'6 and only a tow board left, I sat on the rocks for 6 hours willing the swell to climb, but each set seemed to fade in energy and girth and by 14:00 it was time to pull the plug and get back to the airport.

After a week of hard missioning and many dollars spent it was a jagged pill to swallow, flying out skunked ... but the people we met, the sights we saw and the times we shared made it so worthwhile. 

Biggest thanks to the Shippies crew for taking us in, and showing us this special place.

Barry and Eliz.