Storm chasing 'Black Wednesday'

The Eyeforce Production crew got in touch with my cousin Kevin Langeree and myself as soon as they saw black appear on the radar. Predictions were that the storm of the century with 13-meter waves and 40 to 60 knots of wind would hit the coast of Ireland.

Time to get in touch with the locals to determine the best possible location. As every storm is unique with different pressures, wind-wave and water directions and levels, which might only work in few spots.

Quickly we came to the conclusion that this forecast was the gnarliest any of us had seen and we didn’t really know what to expect. The spot we choose was Magheroarty, Donegal as this had a great set-up with a harbor and would get side-on shore winds and massive waves.

Eyeforce kicked off their new cinematic movie project called Chapter One by capturing our adventure with a dedicated crew equipped with RED cameras. Kevin flew in all the way from Cape Town in the hopes to ride some of the biggest waves of his life. He’s been rocking the waves for several years now and is looking very confident in big swells.

From Dublin airport it was a 4,5hr drive and we were all super excited to see the area and conditions. After a good night of sleep we explored the spots and got our hopes and aim set for Magheroarty. In the afternoon we met up with the safety crew consisting of 4 big wave surfers with 3 jet-skis. These guys knew what was up and had the perfect knowledge about the spots and safety measures. During the meeting it was definitely most frightening to talk about being stuck in my boots in massive swell. Go to your happy place is the solution, haha…

After a short night of sleep we headed to the beach early so that we wouldn’t miss out on any daylight. Full of excitement and adrenaline we headed to the beach and couldn’t wait to see the playground.

Unfortunately the conditions weren’t the ones we dreamt about. The wind was super gusty and the waves only got bigger later in the day. It was definitely windy and there were definitely some waves… I headed out on my 7mtr and was super overpowered, at the launch I got lifted 7mtrs in the air from the rocks… before touching down and holding an edge all the way out to sea. One out of control jump that I landed full speed until I lost an edge and crashed my kite. A big wave was coming so I released my kite and there I was, stuck in my boots in between massive swell. A second of panic before my happy place memory kicked in. Haha! It wasn’t too bad, got 3 waves on my head and then the jet-ski came to fetch me.

Actually laying on the back of the ski was pretty painful on the hamstring, as I had to keep my board up behind me the whole way. One broken kite, eaten by the waves… not being able to feel hands and feet whilst looking at conditions not really great for flying but more for surviving we decided to take a little break.

Kevin was amped to ride and motivated me to go back out again… this time we rigged our 6 meter kites and headed out again in hope to find some clean wind to fly. On the water I wasn’t having any fun… it was so frustrating seeing big kickers but not feeling steady wind in your kite… Argh, I hate that!!! A couple tacks and I went back in whilst seeing Kevin cruise all the way out the back between some big big waves. :) He lost his board and was bouncing in between the big waves, coming through the lip then into the air whilst looking around for his board. Jetski assisted him nicely getting his board back so he could ride around some more.

Very cold and a bit upset we knew that the storm was over and that this was it. Headed all the way out and not scoring is part of the job and I actually loved the trip. Ireland is beautiful, such a raw and pure nature… awesome flat and wave spots to find. Above all of that it was the team spirit and adventure that I loved most. Doing a trip with my cousin Kevin hadn’t happened in 10 years and working with the Eyeforce crew was a blast once again. Sharing stories and learning with the safety crew was essential and definitely added a lot.

Big thanks to all for encouraging messages during our storm chase. Hopefully we score bigger, better, faster, higher, stronger and sicker next time.

Big thanks to John Carter photography and Pure Magic Watersports for all the support.

Ride hard and fly high!

Video: Kevin having a great time playing with the wind !