I Spy Aileens

LOCAL Irish photographer and surfer, Marco Cavalleri, looked at the charts on the morning of January 25th and decided it was worth a peek over the Moher Cliffs above Aileens. Having earned his Brownie points with the family he was free to chase waves for the day.

Forecast map for Jan 25th ... msw

Forecast map for Jan 25th ... msw

A goat path you said ... Where?

A goat path you said ... Where?

© 2015 - Marco Cavalleri

How could you turn down a booming chart such as this? Orange generally means good over here.

As I was driving down to the area the anticipation was building, you could see all the points were firing as a macking great swell lit up the coast. Upon arriving I peered over the cliffs at about 9am, about an hour before low tide, and I was really disappointed not to find anyone surfing. Aileens was pumping and not a soul to be seen.

World class paddle-out ... Access to Aileens

World class paddle-out ... Access to Aileens

© 2015 - Marco Cavalleri

Normally people come over on the ski from Doolin, so I looked that way, but nobody was on their way. However, just as I was leaving, Fergal Smith, Tom Lowe and one unknown surfer appeared. Not below in the water having got a ride over on a ski, but grinning from ear-to-ear fully togged-up at the top on the cliff. Everyone knows about the goat trail down the cliff, but I dare anyone to try and clamber the 700ft/200m metres down - clutching a board - in windy conditions after a rainstorm... It's insane, I wouldn't do it with a rope.

Undaunted these guys fairly skipped down the path, paddled out, duckdiving these absolute walls of water. How do you duck under that? It must be kind of Irish charm at work. You start out on the headland on the wrong side of the wave, it's not easy. It takes about 30 minutes through whitewater as big as a house. It's not for the faint-hearted that's for sure.

No jet skis here ... Tom Lowe

No jet skis here ... Tom Lowe

© 2015 - Marco Cavalleri

Sticking the drop ... Tom Lowe

Sticking the drop ... Tom Lowe

© 2015 - Marco Cavalleri

This is Tom Lowe on one of the waves of the day. Some others arrived on jet skis later but these guys were out first - running on pure paddle power.

Who's the daddy ... Tom Lowe

Who's the daddy ... Tom Lowe

© 2015 - Marco Cavalleri

He made it and it must have been 30 odd foot ... I'm terribe at judging wave size.

But really, these guys were fantastic and this was their reward.Marco Cavalleri


Ed Temperley

MSW editor. Twitter @edtemperley