My Surfing Home
Home-comings are the best. After months on the road I realise I’ve discovered my favourite place in the world, and I’ve left it behind...so I must go home and rediscover her. The view greeting me on the drive along the Belalt cliff-top is the best welcome home. The massive stretch of Rossnowlagh beach laid out below, the Blue Stack mountains beyond, a rainbow dancing across the dark rain clouds over Slieve League as the sun sinks into the sea. Family roots are strong here and surfing roots even stronger, a place where Dad, Barry, his brothers, and my Mum, NC, learned to surf, passing it on to me and my sister, Beckey-Finn.
Rossnowlagh is my playground, where I love to go to surf for fun, cruising the perfectly, gently rolling waves. It’s like a family gathering in the sea, the ultimate place to unwind and just, to use the cliché, feel the stoke and get in touch with your inner ‘grom’. There is no posturing, nothing to prove, no waves of consequence. That said, it’s the perfect place to lay down your foundation and build a base for your surf knowledge.
Rossnowlagh’s surf scene really shows how much more surfing is than just a sport, it’s about a connection to a place that gives you a sense of being. The surfing hub is Rossnowlagh surf club. A place to stash your boards, a vantage point for the parents to keep an eye on you and a place to get coaching, hang out and surf all day with your pals. It owes its success to the local Mums and Dads, once Rossnowlagh grommets themselves who’ve brought the place back to its grass roots and continues to pump out mini National champions.
I’ve been on the road a lot these last few years, but this year I was grounded at home more and had the chance to get back to my local club and hang out with the groms again, running coaching sessions with my cousin John Britton as often as possible. The next generation of surfers are coming up, the older generation are passing on their skills, and so the cycle continues. The surf scene here breeds a unique culture all of its own, full of story-telling characters and artists, young and old, sharing their knowledge, especially as the sun goes down - sitting on the bank at the Surfers Bar watching the last waves of the day break, or a very expensive BMW get swallowed up by the sea.