Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Finn MacCool

Our week began with the forecast of a huge swell hitting the North Coast of Ireland. It is usual that we travel through the night to meet the swell somewhere on the West Coast with great anticipation writes Conn Osborne. This time there was none of that, this time the swell was coming to meet us in our own backyard.

There had always been rumours of a wave, rumours as mythical as the tales of the Giants themselves at the Causeway. (SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOS!)

Al Mennie has been surfing most of his life, and big wave surfing for alot of that. Years ago he began a survey of our coast searching for potential big wave spots, educating himself through much observation and study on what exact conditions were required for each indivdual location.

The exact conditions this time were culminating on one of Ireland's most famous landmarks and tourist attractions, we felt privileged and knew that performing our best was the only option.

Monday drew to a close with phone calls between us gradually slowing down and firm plans having been shaped and finalised by Al who stood alone on the Causeway in the dark watching...and waiting...

Tuesday finally arrived, we each set out alone before dawn, with an aim to meet at first light - plenty of time then to organise equipment and get the tide right.

We have done this so many times before and have seen so many big waves but it was certainly different and very inspiring to view our own waters through refreshed eyes.

Equpiment was organised, set up and checked, the chosen boards were ritually waxed and choice of fins installed. The Riders, Al Mennie, Andrew Cotton, and Lyndon Wake protected from the bitterness by high tech wetsuits set down the slipway with their Jetski and "Sled" rigs into the icey waters of the Atlantic.

The video of the expedition by Jamie Russell of Entity Media Productions

As we made our way over the the chop and over the swell we could see some white water entering the arena which is a bay that we knew would fill with white water and leave no safe exit from riding the large waves. (This was a spot that would prove to take all of our surfing knowledge and experience to surf.) We sat and prepaired with good grace 'n banter as we waited for those anticipated conditions to combine.
We could see spray fly off the back of swell as it rolled into the bay. The wind was picking up right.
Jetskis were powered up and we went in for a closer look to study how the wave was actually shaping up - the dynamics.

Swell increased in size and we could now really see the true challange of what we had set out to meet, for up until this moment, no one had witnessed swell of this size in position to surf.

Al Mennie Talks about his first experience..

"After watching the sets break and establishing some mark ups so we knew where we needed to sit in order to catch them, both Cotty and I jumped in and paddled to the peak. Every now and again the bay would close out with a set that would miss the main take off spot".

"Within 30 seconds, of paddling out, I got lucky and happened to be right under a big peak coming towards me. As I spun my 8'2" around to paddle into it I almost couldn't belive this was happening.  Last week I was in La Vaca surfing in the contest and the week before I was surfing big La Santa point with Rob Small.  Now, I'm paddling for a wave, just as big, two minutes from my house. I remember getting to my feet as it stood up and then going really fast down the face. As I kicked out I looked around me in disbelief. This big wave is breaking in one of the most beautiful natural arenas in the world and I've just ridden one.  It was very satisfying. As I paddled back out for what became a four hour session Cotty went on his first elevator drop."

"The bay is very deep and holds a lot of water causing quite a lot of movement out there. There are rock boils everywhere and it would be very easy to fall and become a human pinball!"

Al Mennie's exploits, expeditions and endeavours can be read about in his book... Surfing Mennie Waves. Available online at


Irish Big Wave Rider Al Mennie going over the Edge @ Finn MacCools - Giants Causeway


The Team sit studying before commiting (Scale Setting)


Early in the day before the real conditions meet, this is the wind starting to Rise


Al Mennie, Ireland's Big Wave Rider "Taking the Drop" and experiencing weightlessness


Al Mennie having a fun Tow In, the guys prefer to paddle into waves under their own steam, "Any wave worth surfing, is definitely worth earning"


Favourable conditions.. This is what Finn MacCools looks like


The Giant's Causeway before the real Big swell hits


Al Mennie gets to his feet and anticipates the next 20 seconds


This is Al Mennie paddling to get up to speed so he can catch the Giant that is about to rare up to him


Al sets the Rail of the board as he makes the high speed descent down the face of this fast moving Giant


Irish Big Wave Rider, and Devonshire Big Wave Rider Andrew Cotton go over their equipment.. "to be able to actually put yourself in these potentialy dangerous situations and get out of them not only requires reliance on others, but also equipment"


Andrew Cotton makes it to the bottom of a Finn MacCool wave ready to turn in towards it and climb


Young Devon Pro Surfer Lyndon Wake, Andrew Cotton, and Al Mennie attach their "Sleds" to their high powered jet skis, these enable a platform for a surfer in the water to swim, and hold onto so they can be evacuated from a hazardous situation in the least possible time


Early morning at the Harbour .. North Antrim.. Cold and deserted


Al Mennie and Lyndon Waxing their boards for traction


Andrew Cotton takes the drop at Finn MacCools and tries to force the nose of the board down against the wind that howls up the face of such sized waves


6ft 5' Al Mennie walks down the Causeway into the sea ready to paddle out and catch a giant

More from Conn Osborne on his website HERE

Published in Surfing

boot Düsseldorf, the International Boat Show

With almost 250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair and every year in January the “meeting place" for the entire industry. Around 2,000 exhibitors present their interesting new products, attractive further developments and maritime equipment. This means that the complete market will be on site in Düsseldorf and will be inviting visitors on nine days of the fair to an exciting journey through the entire world of water sports in 17 exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology, equipment and accessories, services, canoes, kayaks, kitesurfing, rowing, diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, SUP, fishing, maritime art, marinas, water sports facilities as well as beach resorts and charter, there is something for every water sports enthusiast.

boot Düsseldorf FAQs

boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair. Seventeen exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology.

The Fairground Düsseldorf. This massive Dusseldorf Exhibition Centre is strategically located between the River Rhine and the airport. It's about 20 minutes from the airport and 20 minutes from the city centre.

250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair.

The 2018 show was the golden jubilee of the show, so 2021 will be the 51st show.

Every year in January. In 2021 it will be 23-31 January.

Messe Düsseldorf GmbH Messeplatz 40474 Düsseldorf Tel: +49 211 4560-01 Fax: +49 211 4560-668

The Irish marine trade has witnessed increasing numbers of Irish attendees at boot over the last few years as the 17-Hall show becomes more and more dominant in the European market and direct flights from Dublin offer the possibility of day trips to the river Rhine venue.

Boats & Yachts Engines, Engine parts Yacht Equipment Watersports Services Canoes, Kayaks, Rowing Waterski, Wakeboard, Kneeboard & Skimboard Jetski + Equipment & Services Diving, Surfing, Windsurfing, Kite Surfing & SUP Angling Maritime Art & Crafts Marinas & Watersports Infrastructure Beach Resorts Organisations, Authorities & Clubs

Over 1000 boats are on display.

©Afloat 2020

At A Glance – Boot Dusseldorf 

Messe Düsseldorf GmbH
40474 Düsseldorf
Tel: +49 211 4560-01
Fax: +49 211 4560-668

The first boats and yachts will once again be arriving in December via the Rhine.

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating