Surfing in Ireland is a surprisingly popular weekend pastime, with van loads of people heading over to the west coast from Dublin each week. I was in one of those vans recently heading to Bundoran and the Turf n Surf lodge.
Arriving at the lodge only a few hours after leaving Dublin was like arriving in the new country, the sound of the sea only meters from the front door created a wonderfully peaceful location, while the warm welcome from the staff and other guest meant we settled in quickly and of course we were off to the pub for some local music and local beer.
Saturdays lesson was at 10am, plenty of time to wake up and feast on the plentiful breakfast before squeezing into a wetsuit and grabbing a board. It’s a short ride in the 4x4s down to the beach were the lesson starts after a quick warm-up.
The instructors are good fun and make sure everyone’s happy before we splash into the water.
The more advanced folks headed out back to make the most of the waves while the newbies stayed close to practice riding the white wash. The instructors helped those that needed it, giving everyone some attention and making sure everyone was catching waves and getting up on the board.They had some good tips for the experts as well, shouting pointers on catching the unbroken waves and how to trim and carve as well. It’s obvious these boys love the waves and love helping people to enjoy their sport.
That afternoon we had free time to explore and wander the town, or to find another activity to do. The town has a swimming pool with slides, but after a morning in the sea, I’d had enough water, so I took a stroll over the cliffs and through the town. Pretty sights all around, and some lovely cafes to grab a bite to eat.
That night was the leaving party for one of the long term staff members, so there was live music and a fancy theme (new suit jacket 4 euro from the local charity shop) which made for a very entertaining night.
Sunday was surf time again, and with the shorter on land lesson we got straight to it. The surf was good and the session was good fun, lots of splashing and falling off still, but there was noticeable improvement from most people and lots of happy faces as they caught waves in. I myself got a few good waves and got the excellent feel of riding before the wave. A bit like flying, only easier to fall off!
I would have loved to have stayed longer, the atmosphere at the lodge, and the positive attitude from the staff that wore off on everybody else was just brilliant.
Benjamin Duff – Versestravel