Every surfer has a bucket list of trips and as more of us stand up paddlers take to the surf you’ll find yourself being drawn to road trips and adventures.
For just 1 week our own adventure involved a 16 hour drive and ferry crossing to Brandon Bay on the south west coast of Ireland where we had booked a tiny stone farm cottage with log fire.
16 hours seems like forever, but we broke it into chunks and that included a 4-5 hour boat ride so in all it’s not so bad if you can share the driving. It’s also pretty easy once you land in Ireland as roads are pretty easy and the route is really enjoyable as you make it over. As you get over to the west coast you start seeing the mountains and coast for the first time.
Once we arrived we got straight down to Jamie Know Watersports Centre and met with Jeremy who gave us maps and intel on the conditions and local spots.
The bay itself is vast and the conditions vary massively from end to another so it’s worth knowing about the area and be realistic about your abilities as conditions can be way more than the average south coast mush.
Cappagh tucked in the corner is an estuary mouth. We snagged this when the swell was huge in the bay. Check this video out to see exactly what we had to play with https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1wL4Fi47Qc. It’s not really a surfing wave but was 3 hours of awesome fun on raceboards. Best at high tide if swell is huge otherwise the waves don’t really get round into that corner.
Fermoyle was a cracking little spot and definitely one for the beginners or when the rest of the bay is massive. It is a gentle shelving beach break and you can park right up to the beach. Works really well for some old school longboarding.
Kilcummin was that bit bigger and more punchy than Fermoyle, but again was an easy paddle out and ride. Our time here never gave us really long rides.
Ballicknockane started to get bigger balls. The swell coming into the bay is coming from a NW direction so this part of the beach is way more exposed. Something that we never got out to was a breaking wave about 3-400 mtrs off shore here. Not sure if it was a reef or bar, but it was pretty big.
Dumps is where Jamie Knox runs his stand up paddle and surf sessions from.
Finally there is the reef right outside Spillanes Bar. They call it Mossies. I call it Big and Rocky. Definitely an advanced spot and not somewhere to head out if you aren’t confident in waves. As the tide drops you will see big round rocks starting to show and even further out to sea there are big rocks that appear as upwellings until they break the surface so keep your eyes open here. Something worth wearing is a body protector and possibly a helmet on really big days.
No matter which spot you choose they are all connected by one big road other than up towards Jamies place, but there is nothing that doesn’t have ample space to park and view from. If you felt like it you could even paddle between Fermoyle to Kilcummin and find the wave height going up.
If you are after a bigger challenge then head north around the bay.
Kate got her first ever windsurf lesson with Jamie Knox. This shot shows the conditions at Sandy Bay. It is a perfect spot just minutes from the surf.
If you want to make the most of your time in the area hook up with http://jamieknox.com/ The guy surfs and windsurfs like a legend, but get ready for being shouted at. He is a perfectionist and won’t let you get away with softie surfing or sailing 🙂