When the inimitable Litmus movie came out in 1996, there was a small section of Joel Fitzgerald charging a deathly left-hand slab called Pmpa. That's what sent us scurrying on our way. We wanted to discover precisely what was going on in the little coastal village of Bundoran.
It was a good 25 years ago, and no one had ever really done the surf exploration to Ireland and scored, but we were excited and had a small budget from an American magazine to go and explore, surf and take photos.
We spotted a severe storm, on the way, and made our plans to head on out and get to Bundoran, to see what it was all about. It didn't take us too long, to get there, but while on route the temperature started dropping out.
We were still ahead of the weather when we finally arrived in Bundoran, but there was a tremendous amount of things on the go, and there was a load of preparation. We found our accommodation and went out to do the local recce. The Peak at Bundoran was flat, the little right-hander was breaking on a dry reef, and the only spot that had any wave was ab enjoyable little wedge called Tullan.
Unfortunately, some of our crew had a few puffs of a local spliff, and it was too powerful for them. They were in no condition to jump off the rocks. They sat, perched like monkeys, watching us surf as the sun made myriad little colour speckles and rainbows and such stuff, no doubt. We got a few waves, and it was pleasant, but we wasted quite a bit of our time observing the crew on the rocks and worrying that they were going to wobble off and fall in the drink.
Talking of drink, we headed straight to the local Bundoran pub afterwards to wash it all down with a pint or two of Guinness. It started drizzling, and we were told of the wonderful saying, 'If it's not raining in Ireland, it's about to rain.'
The weather hammered down that night, and the following morning The Peak had six-foot sets, and we were all over it. Although a perfect looking wave, The Peak is quite complicated to surf, with a few people and some shut-down sections. The tide was a tad low, and the rights weren't happening. All the action was unfolding on the lefts.
We could recognise some fearsome-looking left grinding away in the background, with no takers. It looked too shallow to ride. A local told us that it was Pmpa, one of the reasons for us being there.
The following morning, we found ourselves on the freezing ground in front of a serious-looking left-hander, and we were on it. We all had a few waves, some barrels and a treacherous paddle-in. It was exhilarating, and the barrels were deep and shallow. It was an excellent start to the day.
That afternoon the wind appeared. It started to whistle through the village and rattle every house and every glass inside the pub. The swell started building along with it. By late afternoon it was maxing, with all the regular surf spots just washing through the channels.
A local lad took us to have a look at the local castle. Mullaghmore Castle sits on a prominent headland, and it was where Lord Mountbatten died when the IRA bombed his lobster boat.
At the time we stood on the grass, watching these giant waves ricocheting off a ledge. It was enormous, legitimate big waves, and little did we all know back then that we were all staring at Mullaghmore, the most prominent Irish big wave spot.
It would take a few years for the locals to get jetskis in the water and tow a few waves, and the rest is history.
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