Excerpt from the book Surfing Mennie Waves chapter Project Red ......
I was already on my next mission. I wasn’t content with doing a Mavericks trip once a year from now on. I knew those kind of waves existed off our shores in Ireland, but they just hadn’t really been noticed as yet.
To the best of my knowledge, some guys, such as Willy Britton, Brian Tobin, Jonny Vance and American Mike Campbell – possibly a couple of others – had already had a go at some of the more exposed spots. However, no one had really ridden anything jaw-droppingly massive or, if they had, they had kept it pretty quiet. I had heard stories of guys paddling out to various spots at size and managing to ride some waves. It was those guys who began to pioneer big wave surfing in Ireland. They saw bigger waves and they had the desire to ride them. They were, no doubt, held back by equipment limitations and were probably alone for the most part as they pushed themselves to surf bigger and more challenging waves for that time.
I studied the charts very carefully and began circling areas of the ocean floor that looked to have a sudden change in depth, or faced the right direction to pick up swell or that would hold wind, etc. I searched the coast, using these maps but also on foot. I encircled lots of potential locations from as far east as Rathlin Island off the north coast to as far west as Sligo. I could have looked for other places but the search would be too thinly spread. I figured it best to focus on a fairly local area to begin with.......
Project Red has found countless locations that are home to some of the biggest and wildest waves on the planet. Some I have ridden several times over the last 15 years, some only scratched the surface of.
I touched on the Project in my first book and on this page I have shared some images from some of the locations. I keep a written journal of all the missions and on some occasions there is someone present to take pictures or video.
We have turned down several offers from both international surf brands and media companies to come on board and film our exploits based only on the fact the people involved did not understand that exposing the locations was not part of the plan and they would not guarantee that they would respect our wishes.
In Project Red, we have no desire to expose exact locations of waves around this island. In fact we completely oppose the over exposure of spots by foreign surfers in the quest for fame and glory, likes, follows etc. In no other country in the world do waves and spots and local surfers accept such ignorance and arrogance from visitors. Take a look, the locals are not the ones ever pushing the exposure of particular waves, its always visitors. That needs controlled so that the generations of people to come, born and bred on this island can benefit from our finds and our experiences. I am sick of reading something by a visitor to the island claiming to have found new waves, empty locations or whatever else they dream up. Do you think we don't have eyes, do you think we need you to discover whats on our doorstep? No! These are our waves, in our waters, have some respect for those who came before you, born and bred on this island.
Some of the pictures here have been deliberately cropped or shopped to remove landmarks.
Project Red 2003 -2020
Searching, Discovering and Pioneering Big Wave Surf Spots in Ireland
This is the reason I surf, exploring, discovery and pioneering. That's what I love about surfing.
I am fortunate to have been born and bred on this Island. I have loved nothing more than to go in search of rugged outcrops, headlands and isolated sea mounts where lonely, mysterious, often uncharted waves break day in day out.
The waves brave, the cold, they brave the desolation with no desire for notoriety.
In 2003 I bought a boat and lots of ocean charts and began to search a large stretch of coastline for these waves. I later enlisted the help of a University Oceanographer and various digital data sources.
Harsh winds, cold and wild seas in this corner of the Atlantic, on the edge of the continent, mean that some years, some of the spots go unridden and we switch to other ones, other years we surf them every week.
My charts are battered, scribbled over, torn and falling apart from continual soakings by rogue waves into the boat. Like treasure maps they hold gold, memories, stories, distaters, wrecks and a few gems.
Project Red, is the reason I surf. It has given me so many great experiences in life, stories to tell and met some amazing people. In recent years I've been able to bring a few more great people into the Project who possess similar values. The camaraderie, friendship and belief in each other that go on all these missions and work on the project is incredible. We are always open to other like minded people coming on board!