Ollie O’Flaherty is one of Ireland’s most talented big-wave surfers. In 2012, he surfed one of the biggest waves of his career – a 60ft monster at Mullaghmore in Co Sligo.
Ollie has also made his passion his job; he runs Ollie’s Surf Academy in Lahinch, Co Clare.
For the countdown to this weekend’s Shore Shots Surf Festival in Sligo we asked Ollie to share his Top Tips for Surfing in the West of Ireland. Of course he didn’t share any secret spots. For those you’ll just have to go explore yourself.
Top 10 Reasons Surfing in the West of Ireland is the Best in the World
- Wave Quality: The waves in the West of Ireland are of such high quality and as good as anywhere in Hawaii or Indonesia. The West of Ireland is now firmly on the surf destination map.
- Variety: It’s the variety of waves that is also incredible. Big small long or hollow we have all types of waves in many counties.
- Big Waves: With Mullaghmore in Sligo and Aileen’s in Co Clare we have two of the premier big wave spots in the world on our doorstep.
- Crowds: We have the waves, but with the exception of Lahinch, Bundoran and Easkey, we can find uncrowded waves if you look around.
- Proximity: Logistically Ireland is great because you are never far from good waves. The most you will ever travel up or down the coast is and if you look in the right places, you will find good waves.
- The Coastline: It’s possible to find good wind conditions almost every day of the year because we have such a varied coastline; there’s always a sheltered spot somewhere.
- Beauty: The Irish coastline is spectacular. Just look at Aileen’s underneath the Cliffs of Moher; the world’s best natural amphitheater. You couldn’t script it!
- Consistency: Outside of the summer months, we have relatively few flat days. Sometimes in winter when we get huge storms there is even too much and that’s when we go searching for sheltered bays and new spots!!
- The Craic: The West of Ireland has the best night life and craic in the world . For example Kenny’s bar in Lahinch, Co Clare is the perfect post surf wind-down for excellent Guinness and great tunes. Owners like Kenneth Kenny who prides himself on good music and authenticity are what make Ireland special.
- To Learn: All along the West Coast of Ireland there are towns like Bundoran, Strandhill, Enniscrone or Lahinch with lots of surf schools. With great schools and beautiful scenery, there is nowhere better to try surfing for the first time or improve your skills at the nice beach break waves. Schools such as my own Ollie’s Surf Academy cater for high-level beginner all the way to advanced to get you surfing at your best!!
Ollie features in Winter Tides, a new documentary about surfing the West of Ireland coast which will feature at Sea Sessions. See the trailer below.
For more about Shore Shots Irish Surf Festival visit shoreshots.com
For more about Ollie O’Flaherty’s Surf Academy.
Watch Ollie surf Aileen’s at the Cliffs of Moher below.