Extreme without extremities

No matter how hard we try, or how much time and effort we put into them, some love affairs are simply unrequited. As it goes with my relationship with surfing. 

I heart surfing. No matter how many times I nose dive, get tumbled, and unsuccessfully paddle hard for a wave, I keep coming back for more. As the above may indicate, surfing is not quite as fond of me. 

My one-sided flutter has been advancing for nearly a year. Yet thanks to no consistent motions in the ocean, I fear I am stuck in kook town. 

The latest example of my unrelenting lust for waves is set out in Bundoran, a seaside town in County Donegal, Ireland. 

On a beautiful sunny Irish day (this actually happened), three lassies wearily hopped into a rental car and drove the three hours from Dublin. The scenery was breathtaking in every cliched Irish way. The road provided greetings of leafless Autumn trees, oranges and reds of every hue, a dappling early sunset, rolling hills the very definition of Irish green, and mountains with the flattest tops, surely beaten away by thousands of leprechauns.

We arrive at Bundoran Surf Co as the sun is saying its final goodbyes to the beaches. We’ve come in the offseason to a quiet town, a combination of surf village and Irish quaint. 

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Our room is a smile maker. At this point in my life to sleep in a freshly made double bed is a luxury not lost on me. And we make the most of it. A traditional Bridge Bar meal and pint later, we’re passed out by 9pm and not up until close to 12 hours later, quickly losing our reputation as hostel party girls.

What gets us up is our surf lesson (and free breakfast, duh). I go straight into “I come from ridiculously warm Brisbane mode” and struggle with life to put on my cold and aptly named wet wetsuit and boots. Brr brr brr. 

After the squeals cease, our boards are loaded and we drive down, gazing on pretty cliffs and tiny horses. We manage to warm up in the warm up and finally head for the water. It’s not even that cold! Funny what a 5:4 wetsuit can do in 12 degree water. The waves are messy and small, but once I paddle out and catch my wave, cold and conditions be damned. This is my happy place. This is my challenge. I’m a stage 5 clinger. You’re not getting rid of me that easily. 

I don’t get jealous when my friend surfs for the first time and loves it too. My Blue Crush is not green.

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Numb feet eventually drag us out of the water. No progress here today folks. Just another one to chalk up to experience. How many not so hot surfers can say they’ve surfed all the hot spot…Waikiki, Indo, Sunshine Coast, Taghazout, Zarautz, San Juan del Sur, Puerto Viejo, Bocas, San Diego, and now Bundoran.

Our instructor Owen rewards us with hot chocolate after our hot shower. The hostel is apologetic that it’s not the weekend so it’s not pumping. We’re more than okay with this. It’s still one of those great social hostels and we head out for a pint to farewell a long-termer with enough shots he surely won’t remember his 1am bus to the airport. 

Road trips have a way of becoming the winner in travel memories. It’s the journey, not the destination right? In this case it was both, and our weekend in Bundoran will have a cosy little spot in my defrosted heart. 

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If you want to create your own unrequited (or maybe requited, you’re probably better than I am) love of surfing, get to Morocco with Stoke Travel year round, or spend it in San Sebastian this summer. 

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