Tuesday 22 August 2017

Surfers silent on location of giant wave

Brave surfers who rode a giant wave off the west coast of Ireland are refusing to give away its location.

One of the six-man team, Briton Andrew Cotton, first spotted it several years ago while on board a Coast Guard helicopter after being rescued from a surf accident off Mullaghmore, Co Sligo.

The terrifying-looking wave, dubbed 'Prowlers', was reportedly up to 50ft high on Tuesday when the Irish, British, Australian and South African surfers ventured out.

Al Mennie, one of the team and a pioneer of big-wave surfing, said for "selfish reasons" they'd keep the exact location a closely guarded secret.

"The only way I can describe it is that the waves were detonating when they hit, exploding when they hit the water," he said.

"You could surf the wave and get in to the wave and feel the violence of the wave."

It is the second huge wave discovered off the west coast after Aileen's at the foot of the Cliffs of Moher hit surfing headlines a few years ago.

The wave appears after massive swells kicked up by Atlantic storms and depressions hit a reef at least two miles out to sea from Donegal Bay. The surfers described the spot as an underwater mountain.

The water was said to have been just six feet deep on top of the reef when the biggest waves pounded down on the unidentified spot.

The team rank Prowlers as one of the biggest waves in the world, on a par with the Mavericks off the Californian coast, only made up of much more water, or heavier, according to Mennie.

"It's a brand new spot, never been surfed before. The whole Irish coast is being battered and everywhere has massive waves," he said.

The six-man team also included Bundoran surfer Richie Fitzgerald, 36, South Africans Barry Mottershead, 26, and Jeremy Johnson, 30, Australian Paul O'Kane, 50, and Cotton, aged 31, from Devon.

All the surfers took it in turn to be towed into the face of the wave over two hours surfing.

"Everyone had caught a wave, and everyone returned safe. I said if we kept pushing this then someone is going to fall," Mennie added.

Press Association

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