Sea Fever review – Surfer’s Path February 2008
It’s a first-time film and in some ways that shows – not quite enough footage, not edited as neatly as Hollywood might have done it – but bejeesus don’t let that put you off. O’Sullivan’s love for his subject – Irish surfing – shines through beautifully in this relaxed romp around the coast of the Emerald Isle, past and present.
The film is steeped in dedication and reverence, highly entertaining and full of jaw-dropping waves. And he’s pulled off a neat scoop, too, by putting out the most complete document so far of the rise of Aileens, Ireland’s top o’ the rankings big-wave tube that sits deep beneath the Cliffs of Moher in mystical
County Claire. This is the focus of the film and the peg upon which the story of Ireland’s early surfing years is hung. Leading local lights appear as talking heads, from godfather Kevin Cavey to blesséd daughter of the shores, Easkey Britton, as well as the Aileens pioneer crew – bodyboarder and genius photographer Mickey Smith, John McCarthy and Saul Harvey. A bunch of Brits also help shed light on their neighbours’ ever expanding surf world, with Sam Lamiroy and Dan ‘Mole’ Joel describing just how hairy it is to tackle an unknown monster wave, midwinter, miles from the madding crowd; wise insights on where surfing in Ireland may yet be going from Carve magazine’s Steve England; and UK transplant Rod Bennett on his forty-something-year affair with the Emerald Isle. Soon there’ll be a big, wonderful movie about the same subject – Waveriders made by Inis and Besom Films, profiled in this issue and showing in cinemas right now – but Ken O’Sullivan’s earthy attempt has plenty of magic to offer. I’d recommend it to anyone who has a relationship with Irish surfing, anyone who’s even contemplating going to
Ireland to surf, and, most importantly, anyone else who’s far removed from Ireland but thinks they know about surfing and surf culture – until you’ve learned about Ireland, you’re missing a beautiful part of modern surfing’s soul.
– Alex Dick-Read
Check out Ken O’Sullivan’s new Irish surf film at www.seafever.ie.