Taz Knight is a name you may know. This big wave Brit would pull into anything, from death pits halfway around the world, to a certain horror slab on the Emerald Isle. Then; he went silent for a time. So what happened?
The truth is, not much.
Taz has relocated to Bundoran and still sending it at XXL sessions down the coast. Now though, The Peak, one of Ireland’s most famous waves is just over the road from him. Between getting shacked out front, Taz is also renovating his home, which he’s dubbed Keggend.
But that hasn’t stopped the chase for some crazy waves around home. And right here, we have Taz’s latest flick about exactly that. Hit play above.
If you were scratching your head while watching that and thinking: “huh, what’s with the yellow knee braces?” Taz has a pretty good explanation after years of physical punishment to the 26 year-old.
“My knees have taken a battering over the last ten years,” said Taz.
"I’ve had three surgeries on my right knee. Slightly different injuries each time, including a blown ACL. But the yellow brace is to protect my cartilage. I have had two serious tears in my meniscus, which has been repaired but never properly healed. I’m wearing that full time now just so I don’t have to go through it again.
set your rail and hold tight — happy days.
“A few months ago I tore the MCL in my left knee as well which was pretty frustrating. Luckily it was the end of winter and MCL’s heal quick. But yeah, knees… bloody nightmare.”
And how does this affect surfing the likes of a wave like Mullaghmore? A spot which is dangerous enough with two fully healthy knees.
“We have a pretty good system out at Mully at the moment. There is a solid local crew of chargers and quite a lot of us are qualified safety drivers now. It’s all thanks to the work that Peter and Dylan have put in over the years with the Irish Tow Surf Rescue Club. Peter runs courses to get us trained up, and there is always a club ski at Mully for us to use as safety.
“As a result, there is almost always a ski or two in the water, on which the crew will take turns driving. Visiting surfers can donate to the club as well which is really helpful to pay for fuel and repairs etc.
“The main factor at play in Ireland is the speed at which the water draws off the slab. If the wave is drawing slow enough, you can go straight for a pig dog, set your rail and hold tight — happy days.
“However, with super heavy slabs there is sometimes so much water drawing of the bottom that it’s all you can do just to stay in the trough of the wave! You’re not even thinking about coming out the barrel, it’s 100% focus on keeping the outside rail and nose from bogging. Pig dogging just puts too much weight on the outside rail. If you try bum dragging to counter this you mostly just end up in the lip. Anyways, it’s just a speed thing really. You have more control in a pig dog, but you’re way faster on your feet.”
“Funnily enough most of the wipeouts in the film were fairly tame in comparison to some I have had! Probably my worst yet was at Mully this winter on a big windy tow day.
“I then got picked up by the wave and went back over the falls with the lip. This bounced me off the slab (insert lacerated hands and bruised hip) and rolled me over the ledge. There is a deep channel just inside the ledge at Mully, into which you often get driven fairly deep by the waves.
“This wipeout was no exception, so some nicely perforated eardrums were added to my list of ailments. All things considered, I got off fairly lightly! But it’s certainly a wipeout that will stick with me and gave me a firm reminder of what a dangerous wave Mullaghmore is.”
So how is it building a base camp to be able to surf all these waves on the regular?
“Since the start of 2021 I basically have been here working on it full time (alongside some surf instructing and stuff). It has come on a lot in that time and I’m now fully watertight and structurally sound and insulated. I should be getting connected to the grid soon as well which will be nice! Did someone say hot shower?
“I got the house back at the start of 2019. It had been abandoned, fully furnished, clothes in the draws etc; Everything rotted, no windows, no power or hot water, rotted floor joists and rafters. The roof was just salvageable which was a bonus. The end of that first winter camped out on the floor was pretty dismal it has to be said.”
I’m trying to take that mindset and apply it back into my surfing.
And his advice for your own DIY surf base?
“I think the best advice for everything is just to go for it! It’s never as hard as it seems, and you can always bumble your way through in the end.
“Watch lots of videos, do trial runs, get as much advice as you can (it helps if your dad is a DIY god), make good plans and try think ahead as much as possible. Break it down into bite size chunks and try not to get stressed by the looming mountain of work you have to do. Did I mention videos? Oh yeah, and I watch loads of videos. Videos.”
“I got into climbing a few years ago when I was at Uni in Bristol. But I didn’t go crazy for it until I moved to Ireland and some mates of mine took me trad climbing.
“I have basically only ever been a surfer, so discovering a new sport and getting super hooked and being a frothing kook was just so exciting. It was like, oh shit – here is a crazy wild and scary adventure, with your pals, I’m not thinking about being good, or catching the best wave or getting a sick shot. It’s just pure, unadulterated, carefree adventure.
“I’m trying to take that mindset and apply it back into my surfing.”