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Follow Your Dreams

It was a winter night in 1993, I was in Castlerock, on the end of my brothers bed watching a video about the infamous big waves at a spot called Mavericks off the coast of California. I was 13, mesmerised by the big burly men, clad in warrior like wetsuits wrestling gigantic surfboards onto dark monstrous waves. That night I said the words “I want to do that someday”. Fast forward 10 years to July 2nd 2003, aged 22. By then I felt I’d surfed enough waves of size in Ireland to go to California and attempt to fulfil my dream. I sat in the garden and told my dad. He said he knew I could do it and not to worry, he would assure mum. To put this in perspective, at that time, big wave surfing didn’t exist on the scale of Hawaii and California anywhere else in the world, so coming from Ireland and dreaming to do this as a freckly wee red head since the age of 13 was unusual. I was often confronted with “YOU can’t do that” type of language. The conversation with dad, now 20 years ago as I write this on July 2nd 2023, happened to be the last conversation we had. Suddenly this 10 year dream ignited into motion. I spent the next 6 months training to surf Mavericks with my friend Emmet O’Doherty. We went there under the guidance of the Gerhardt’s and many locals that welcomed us. Emmet and I pulled it off. I returned to Ireland, my fire roaring to hunt down the waves and locations, like Mavericks, around this island that I knew existed but were unridden. I bought a boat, got some new boards built after my new experience brought knowledge and I ventured off the coast of Ireland into uncharted surf at countless locations. It felt natural to me, it came from within. The loss of my father was the final push that drove me to make the 10 year old dream become reality. Now 30 years down the line from when that dream began. One dream has taken me on a 30 year adventure into the unknown and all sorts of experiences are continually given to me by the sea my father introduced me to as a tiny baby at the beach in Castlerock. (In one of the pictures he is wearing a ring, a year after his passing, I’m wearing his ring in the boat). Remember where you come from, you carry them everywhere.


DES MENNIE & AL MENNIE

DES MENNIE & AL MENNIE

AL MENNIE MAVERICKS 2003. PICTURE BY TONY CANADAS

AL MENNIE CASTLEROCK

MAVERICKS SURF VHS TAPES IN CASTLEROCK IRELAND

AL MENNIE


THE FIRST WAVE AT EIRE 70, IRELAND JANUARY 2013. PICTURE BY CONN OSBORNE

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