HURRICANE Rafael lit up the Atlantic charts like you wish all hurricanes would. Carving a condensed arc around the Atlantic from Florida to the Canaries. Seemingly everywhere got a lick, none more so than Aileens in Western Ireland.
You might imagine, having seen so many shots from here that it is as easy to paddle into a bomb under the Cliffs of Moher as it is to dial into that blob on the charts, or order a pizza. It's not and there were reportedly a few out that day who should probably have stayed atop the soft grass of the cliff.
"We are incredibly lucky to surf here" Says Irish surfer Cain Kilcullen. "The most important thing is being respectful in the water, especially of the guys who've surfed here for years and have the place wired. I just try and emulate them."
Billabong's Aventure team: Eric Rebiere and Ben "Sancho" Sanchis, hooked up with 21-year-old French surfer Justine Dupont and Irish surfer Cain Kilcullen, to paddle out at Aileens. It was a busy day with bodyboarders dominating, surfers trying to stay alive, skis losing drive at crucial times, and even a SUP; all rubbing shoulders at this little reef overshadowed by 200 metres of precipitous cliff face.
"I was out there for 5 hours" Said Cain "I only got two lucky ones and some of the worst hold-downs and wipeouts of my life. I spent most of the time blowing bubbles."