Whilst winter is prime time in Ireland, this year relentless gale force winds have only allowed rare windows between wind squalls.
As you'd expect, thanks to an El Nino year, focus has largely been on the heaving Pacific. The last few days however showed hints of the fantasy winter surfers in the North Atlantic cross their fingers for. Fine weather, light winds and heaving slabs.
Tom Lowe checks in as he catches his breath...
Hi Tom, how were those last few days in Ireland?
The weekend was a dream consisting of: sun, surf and good vibes – three things which I live for. Maybe not as big as I'd hoped, but nice to be out there again for the first time this year.
Every time you commit over the ledge it's instinct mode until the channel as it warps into this mutant tube.
It wasn't that big, but it's scary to take any wave at Mullaghmore. Every time you commit over the ledge it's instinct mode until the channel as it warps into this mutant tube. It doesn't even break until it's 8-10ft, and a wave out there feels like a 15 footer on your average reef break. It is difficult to tell from these land shots how intimidating it really is.
Looked like a solid crew, and a mix of boogers and surfers. How was the vibe?
We're all positive vibe warriors over here [laughs]. For real though, everybody welcomes any newcomer to give Mully, or any other spot a crack. If you're respectful then it's great to have fresh crew in the lineup pushing the level. I was stoked that Nic Von Rupp flew over on this one, love that guy's energy.
Any major floggings go down – Shambles straight hander looked pretty intense?
He actually got away with that one sweet. It wasn't that kind of day, to get into trouble out there, more just a fun to heavy slab.
The Von Rupp show was on full display as always, on the inside bowl at Mullaghmore, which is unheard of – it's the heaviest part of the wave.
Butler did crack his eye on his rail pretty hard, nearly knocking him out he reckoned. Got a good old shiner now, but apart from that it was just epic times.
Anyone in particular impress you?
The Von Rupp show was on full display as always, on the inside bowl at Mullaghmore, which is unheard of – it's the heaviest part of the wave. Yet somehow Nic knifed some nugs, which blew me away. Dan Skaj was in there too, bowl hunting a nuts one by all accounts. Patch Wilson was in the zone, his first wave ever on a brand new 8'2" Tom Doidge shape was amazing. Bomb of the day, next to Barry Mottershead's one. Always epic to see natural footers out, especially Barry's no grab rail exit, which he said was more a survival method than a Jon Jon twist.
How has Ireland been this winter, a lot of the focus has been on the Pacific being El Nino.
She's been a slow one, let me tell you. I mean there's waves every single day, and there have been windows of magic here and there, but no real bombing runs of clean swell.
I'm tripping on El Nino. Not gonna lie it's freaking me out not being over there. As we speak there's the biggest swell of the winter heading to Jaws, and it's flat here. I'd chase it, but still no main sponsor, so its not gonna happen unless something pops up. I do have faith that all will come good, both financially and wave wise.
I'm a fond believer that if you put heart and soul into what you love most, the rest will fall into place when the time is right. Everyday I feel like the luckiest man in the world to be surrounded with such beauty over here, and there's sure to be a swell soon… isn't there?