The early days of Finn MacCools (Northern Ireland)
In November 2010, the discovery of the awesome ‘Prowlers’, an exciting new big wave spot, was the talk of the Irish (and international) surfing community. Now with the memory of that ground-breaking discovery still fresh in everyone’s mind, Al Mennie and Andrew Cotton have done it again, this time joined by Lyndon Wake.
The new wave known as ‘Finn MacCools’ was first paddled on Tuesday 1st of February, and the three returned Thursday February 3rd for a heavier tow-in session, joined by photographers Gary McCall and Conn Osborne.
Al Mennie and Andrew Cotton invitees at Quiksilver La Vaca Gigante
La Vaca Gigante was green lighted for Monday 17th January. Al was surfing in the Canaries at the time with British/Canarian transplant Rob Small and Cotty was just beginning a three month stint in Ireland with Croyde surfer Lyndon Wake. Both Al and Cotty dropped everything and made their way to North Spain to meet with the forecast 15ft (Hawaiian) surf.
As with every big wave session which arises within a couple of days notice, chaos is guaranteed. Cotty drove 6 hours to Bilbao from Barcelona to collect Al from the airport before driving on to Santander. Both guys extremely exhausted from travelling but amping to see the surf! That night was spent in Somo with fellow competitors and big wave chargers from around Europe.
“The morning of the event was cold but sunny and the swell was a little inconsistent but there were no doubt some legitimate waves out there!” said Al.
The decision was made to start the 75min heats at 11am. The big sets were in the 15 foot range but were inconsistent and more frequent 12fters broke throughout the heats. This inconsistency made it difficult to allow everyone to pick and chose waves.
The finalists were announced and both Al and Cotty along with Joao de Macedo from California, Eric Ribiere (France/Brazil) and a solid crew of French, Basque and Spanish surfers all made it through.
The Organisers decided that the final would not run as the surf was no longer consistent enough to be fair to all those involved. The contest was stopped and some prizes awarded.
The winner of ‘Best Wave’ was Californian surfer Joao de Macedo and ‘Best Wipeout’ was local man Dani Garcia.