Irish surfer talks about ride on record-breaking wave
Friday, November 11, 2011 - 05:30 PM
A record-breaking big wave surfer has taken on what is believed to be one of the biggest waves ever surfed.
Al Mennie from Portrush was part of a three-man team that surfed Atlantic swells as they built from 60-90ft at Nazare off the coast of Portugal on Tuesday.
The men surfed for three hours off the headland at Praia do Norte as part of a study with the Portuguese Hydrographic Institute.
Mr Mennie compared the challenge to the efforts of some of the greatest ever Olympians.
"It's a bit like rowing in that Steve Redgrave can't win the race without the other three guys to row the boat with him, we work as a very tightly knit team to ensure safety while we attempt to ride the biggest waves the ocean can throw at us," he said.
"We rotated a three-man system using two jet skis for safety cover. Each of us surfed and then switched roles to driver and safety cover."
He was joined by surfers Garrett McNamara, from Hawaii, and Andrew Cotton, from Devon.
The biggest wave was ridden by Mr McNamara, by chance - the team were rotating and he happened to be in line to surf when the largest of the waves was approaching, about 90ft.
"We use high-powered jet skis to hurl each other into these giant waves as they approach shore and then watch each other's backs while we ride the mountain of water," Mr Mennie said.
"The bond and camaraderie between us is like nothing else. We are literally trusting each other with our lives, our lives are in each other's hands."
Mr Mennie has previously surfed giant waves off the coast of Ireland including at Mullaghmore, Co Sligo and a wave known as Aileen off the Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare.
Irish Examiner live news app for smartphones lets you quickly access breaking news, sport, business, entertainment and weather.
Irish Examiner ePaper app gives you the entire newspaper delivered to your phone or tablet for as little as 55c a day.
A 6ft shark from the Great White family has washed up on a Kerry beach. The female porbeagle shark was discovered by local photographer Bernard Fitzgerald at the weekend as he was walking on the Aughacasla beach in Castlegregory.
Astronaut Chris Hadfield's ability to make his adventures in space accessible to a wider audience has been credited by a minister for a large increase in the number of Leaving Certificate students choosing physics and other science subjects.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter is expected to come under renewed pressure to apologise to two Garda whistleblowers after a "damning" Garda Inspectorate report criticises the cancellation of penalty points by members of the force.
A topical conference about cybercrime takes place today at Cork Institute of Technology. Organised by the MA in Journalism with New Media class, 'The current state of cybercrime and cyberwar' will explore a number of perspectives in the world of online crime and journalism.
Former Irish Nationwide chairman Michael Walsh wrote to the late minister for finance, Brian Lenihan, warning him against bank mergers as the financial crisis escalated, according to a letter obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
One of the most senior doctors in the Department of Health, Colette Bonner, has responded to assertions from the wind lobby that her review on the health effects of turbines was "extremely limited and incomplete".