Apr 8, 2016

From Ian and John in Ireland...

All pics below are taken by John Beasley (www.johnbeasley.ie – please respect the images folks and contact him if you'd like to use them elsewhere).


Hi Paul and Gloria,
First up, your care package of T-Shirts and art is en-route – give me a shout when it lands so I know it got there are didn't somehow get "lost" by the Irish or US postal service. This has happened before! There's another to come too...
We're just back from a week down in the south west of Ireland in west County Cork - our farewell trip to Ireland before relocating to Australia. West Cork has some pretty incredible scenery and as luck would have it, some great waves. I was to meet up with a mate to drop off some artwork to and to share some sliders. When I got there however, he was staggering up the beach with his mat, a 4GF UDT, under his arm – latent back injury truncated his session short. There doesn't seem to be too many matters on the Island of Ireland and though we're only six-hours apart it had taken 12 months for us to finally get together for a session... ah well. He went up and got his camera gear and fired off a few snaps of me riding for the two of us.
I've been riding the Standard you shaped for me quite a bit of late and simply having a ball on it – I'm bewildered by the differences between mats. My wife won't let me ride the Fatty you built for her and so I'm frothing to try out the Omni that has already landed in Australia awaiting our arrival.
Farewell to Ireland for now – the past three years of empty or sparsely patronized line-up at long points, hairy reefs, gurgling slabs and fun beachies has scarred me for life. We'll be back at some stage in the future but for now, the new horizons of Australia, first Queensland and eventually Tasmania, are only a week away.




Hi Paul,
I really doubt you remember but I got a mat off you a few years back. Unfortunately, I've been pretty much outta the water so its never gotten the water time it deserved but I did come across another of your mats in the wild the other day over here in the very SW of Ireland (down where they're filming the next star wars movie!) and I snapped a couple of picks I thought you might be stoked on.

Speak soon,




More from Ian...

It was a pity John and I didn't get to share a few together - always fun seeing some photos of yourself riding. I'm not sure it's possible to look like a kook on a mat but I'm loving the feeling of being that stoked grommet again every time I take it out!

I originally came to Ireland for my sister's wedding in 2005. It was only supposed to be a two week trip but work fell though just before I was due to leave. I had a week to organise a one-year work visa and landed with about four hundred Aussie dollars.  Before leaving Australia I had no idea there were waves to be found and, as it turned out, I've since had the best waves of my life here. I ended up in the north west in County Sligo. The north west has so many incredible setups, some easy to find but so many more that are rarely surfed. It really pushed my surfing. Total immersion is the best way to experience it but that means installing yourself. Winter can be hard. A mate today said that this last winter was the worst he'd had in ten years. Yes, cold. But the wet... And the wind, sleet, hail, storm after storm. So much rain! But the waves.

I've left about four times now and I keep finding myself back out here. I had my final session this morning. It's Spring now and I had borrowed a mate's wetsuit, a 3mm...to put under my 5mm. I thought I might have hardened up to the cold by now. I admit that I've been cheating a bit the last two or so years, since getting on the mats pretty much full-time, by wearing my dive suit. A two piece 7mm - 14mm around the vitals has been a game changer for the cold. I might look like a looper but I'm a UFO anyway riding the mats here.

The decision to head back to Oz however, has been a tricky one. My wife is from here and the parents on both sides aren't getting any younger; we've a little fellah now too. We're not making it easy on ourselves or them. Ah, on the flipside we've no mortgage, no big assets to worry about, no credit cards to pay off... There are advantages, disadvantages and compromises. Muireann's visa for Australia came though in March. It was tough and epensive to get so we had to lay things out and make a decision. Off we go.

Though we moved around a bit, I guess I'd call the Sunshine Coast in Queensland home. About 40 mins south of Noosa. I learned to surf on the Sunny Coast beaches and points. My brother only recently told me about a good swell that oushed in and out local point was firing and about 150 guys out. I just can't fathom those sort of numbers anymore. When my local in Sligo is firing there could be 20 guys out and that is considered ridiculously crowded. That said, the break adjacent to it could be flawless and empty or with one other guy out there. I'm a little nervous about heading back to the frenetic hustle of the frothers back home. Home? In the past ten years I've spent almost a year back "home". It's going to be weird.

So Tassie? I spent four years down there after returning from the first stays in Ireland. I did a marine science degree down there. The island of Tasmania is roughly the same size as the Republic of Ireland; population about five hundred thousand and around a third of the State is wilderness. There could still be dinosaurs in the southwest - predominantly untracked, wild country. When I first got there something about it reminded me about Ireland. Couldn't put my finger on it, might not. Empty beaches, rugged coastlines, the mountains, the weirdos...

It's the marine science that has pulled me back down there this time. I looking down the barrel of a PhD. Tassie is at the bottom of the map and there's nothing much south until you hit Antarctica as such it's a prime spot to study climate change. I'm going to be looking at how well habitat-forming seaweed are going to cope with the rising sea temperatures and acidification. The reseach should help us understand how these ecosystems are going to respond to the predicted changes and how these areas might be managed and cared for. It's going to be challenging work. 

Time off down there will certainly be spent exploring the coastline. Similar to Ireland there's a rugged coastline to explore and not too many folks. There's a few spots in particular down there that I have unfinished business with. Some of them fickle enough so being installed for for a few years will offer ample opportunity to revisit a few haunts and explore others. I'd like to find some, crikey, at least one, other inflatable enthusiasts down there to share some sessions and go exploring with. Ah, I'll take it as it comes. 

You'll have another head to visit if you find yourself down there. I'll do my best to keep the odd report sent out from the wilderness. 

More from John ...

Ian is such a lovely dude and it's infectious just even talking to him about mats! I'm in the middle of prepping for a wedding tomorrow, but I will have another look through the images and see if I have any more you might be stoked on.

I actually have a friend interested in getting a mat for himself after seeing the pics of Ian, I think it opened his mind a little. He's tried mine a few times but never "got it" but he's gotten the sniff of it and is looking for more :)

Could you recommend which model would be the right one for him? He's about 5'10 maybe 90kg ish, a fit bloke and a handy enough surfer. He was thinking of the fatty as he hopes to use it with his two young girls come the summer months?

Speak soon.




Mike said...

Hey Ian,
I'm in Qld at the moment, surfing the GC points with 250 plus of my closest friends, on a mat.
Heading down to Tas in about three weeks time to look at a few things before hopefully relocating down there in six to twelve months time. I'm still finding my 'sea legs' down there, location wise, having only surfed down there on my last three visits.
If you want someone to slide with when you land back in Oz, feel free to touch base.


Mike d

IanJ said...

Hi Mike,
Sounds good. We should be able to sort something out either up on the Sunny or Gold Coast. Else Tassie. Hobart is where we'll be based. It'll be good to have another mad matter to go hunting with.