Finn Mullen

Finn Mullen


Weekend winter wondirland – big pants and big waves
By Finn Mullen 


What if every weekend was big and windy? – it sounds a simplistic daydream for the working windsurfer but it is a reality that the Irish winter has so far delivered in abundance. Swell numbers that normally would register as exceptional are fast becoming the norm. The windsurf sessions are a mix of stoke, survival or sheer surrender to storms that scream no go. A perfect point break one day, a closed out caludron of chaos the next, that was how the last weekend of January bowed out. February has started with equal ferocity, the latest superstorm, Brigid, arrived on Saturday earning its nickname due to its arrival on the day of the feast of St Brigid, one of Ireland’s patron saints. A moniker the British tabloid press deftly argued an alternate for “It could have been called after movie heroine Bridget Jones, because Brits will have to wrap up in massive pants like hers to keep warm.” Brigid may have been cold but she had a soft spot for my friend Tom Butler at Mullaghmore – I took a photo of him on wave of the day before the winds swung violently onshore with vengance.


Tom Butler - Pic: Finn Mullen

Tom Butler – Pic: Finn Mullen


I didn’t windsurf that day, I couldn’t, the wind wouldn’t let me open the door and even the van started to shiver. I drove slowly North, the steering wheel felt more like a yacht’s helm as I trimmed to the gusts trying to blow me off course. There was a window of weather on Sunday that looked like it might yet make some magic happen at the top of Ireland – South winds, a solid swell and super spring low tides to expose a normally buried treasure of reef. A morning check showed the damage from the night before – boulders had bombed the coastal path and the shoreline badly bitten by a hungry sea. The reef however was intact and open for business – I rigged my trusty up and down weather combo of 5.0 Severne Blade and 92 Starboard quad and tripped, stumbled and fell as fast I could across the seaweed to shore. The low tide was forecast at 0.0 metres and was throwing up some fast sections that were a joy to race and a pain to be pinned under. Three hours later I was eating every bit of food I could find in my van, guilt free after the number of times I’d swam after my gear.

It was still cold but the storm had passed and Brigid had left me something to celebrate after all, as everyone knows about a good feast – the best bits are the leftovers.


Many thanks to Al Bennett and my brother Tam Mullen for the shots.