Jayce on the chase!

DTL: So, Jayce, you've been on a couple of trips to kick the year off. Where've you gone? 

Jayce: Yeah, couple of trips straight off the bat. You know, I don't normally do that really. I just saw the swell on the charts, and I wanted to start the new year with a bang. My New Year’s Resolution was to get out there more and do a bit more travelling and I'm searching for decent swell. My partner, Hannah was telling me to get up there, so off we went! I just took a mate, Fraser, and we were planning on surfing a specific spot up there. Did the whole drive in one, 8 hours, absolute mission. 

Woke up the next morning, and it was just like big and warping and not really breaking in the right place. And there was no one around. Poor Fraser was super keen, and super gutted. But I got a text from a mate about another spot that would be on. Luckily, it was absolutely pumping. Something I wouldn't expect to see because I've never been there and it's only the first day. Again, no one's surfing. And I was like, fuck it. Just jump in.  

Realised quickly once I was in there that it was bigger that we initially thought. Big sets with doubling-up barrels, spitting. The Dream! Absolutely frothed out on it. Couple of local guys came in in the end, but I was in there for about an hour on my own. Felt a bit scary because you hear these stories of like what's underneath and what's coming out from the working port around the corner. There’s heavy metals coming out in the river, contamination on the sea bed, metal stakes sticking out, concrete blocks and just general pollution etc. The local lads suggestion? “Just have a can of coke, we always have a can of coke!” 

A scary zone to just jump in on your own for the first time, but the waves were that good. You couldn't not. I just couldn't not. The next day, it was still pumping, so more of the same. Two days of epicness up there and came back home. I felt knackered, my body was beaten up from wipeouts and paddling all day. Then that chart just popped up for Ireland... 

DTL: Before we go into Ireland, what boards were you riding up in the North East? 

The bigger day a 6’2 3DV from DHD, and then the second (slightly) smaller day, I went for the 5’10. 

DTL: Fair! That's pretty small for size of some of the peaks we’ve seen from those sessions. 

Yeah, it was pretty big but I still like the smaller boards haha. Like I said, I got in there and it was bigger than thought. You know me - I always like the small, stubby 5’4 DHD Phoenix. So for me, the 6’2 actually did feel like a big board. That's what I rode at Levy that decent day back in October. Anyway, they’re just scaled-up shortboards rather than a classic round-pin style step-up. To be honest, I'm just not that used to riding different boards in bigger waves. I’ve always got confidence in the boards I use a lot so I’d rather take those boards out in more consequential surf.  

Don't get me wrong. I can take off on bigger boards and pull in any day. But when you're surfing a 6'0 or 6’2 ‘step-up’ and trying to turn it, that's when I find it a bit awkward. Feels like too much board. 

DTL: So, then you’re home and feeling knackered for a day or two before the call comes in from across the Irish sea? 

Literally the next day. Got back home, saw the chart and got the call. My good friend Matt Smith moved out there full-time to run the HomeTree Charity, a project around reforestation. He rings me every time there’s a swell and I've always found an excuse. “I can't. I can't. I’ve got this on. I’ve got that on. Levy's looking alright. I'm just gonna stay home. Take the easy option”. 

I’m glad I didn’t make an excuse this time! It was well worth going out there, that's for sure. And not just for the waves, but just to carry on that stride of going on a trip. I was questioning it a little bit, was the time to go and finally surf these waves when I’m feeling a bit beat up from a trip and still recovering from a pre-Christmas bout of COVID? Again though, Hannah was amazing at hyping me up and getting me over. Maybe she just wanted me out the house?  

Anyway, off I set! Ended up on the same flight as my mate Jack Johns too. Matt said that Jack would be coming over, so I was glad to bump into him. He got me really pumped up because he was one of the guys that pioneered the waves around that area, the Cliffs of Moher. Back in his bodyboarding days, this would be his first time standing up there. He booged it on the first, bigger day on this trip, and then surfed it incredibly well on the second day. 

It was like an eye-opening experience, to say the least. It's one of the waves that I've wanted to surf for so long now. I went out when I was 16 and saw it working, paddled out, didn't get anywhere. I was kind of too scared to go and get amongst it. Since then. I've always seen the videos of it going off and just looking amazing. So there was a lot of anticipation, the anticipation of finally getting out there again after so many years had passed. And the many times that I've said no. Finally, I was going for it. Felt great. 

DTL: Get on! How did the session unfold?  

I didn't have much time to warm up. I arrived at night the day before the swell was due to come in. And yes, the next day it was on. 

DTL: Sleep well that night? Or was it one of those when it feels so important to have good sleep that you just keep yourself awake?  

Who sleeps well in that situation?! Haha. You don't, do you? It was very comfortable and I’m super grateful to Matt for putting me up in his home with his family. But no matter, you just don’t sleep that well. You're in a new environment and all that. I'm actually really shit at sleeping anyway. So I got a few hours sleep, but I think you just run on adrenaline. 

DTL: How was it seeing Aileens for the first time since you were 16? 

It was actually a touch smaller than expected. The swell was meant to be bigger, 15ft+ according to the local crew I was in touch with, they were saying that no one's going to be paddling out on that day. So I had that in the back of my head, but I was still up for it.

Overall, it was perfect. It was just clean. 12ft on the big sets, and everyone in the line-up was lovely. Felt really mellow out there, until I got called into my first wave, which was one of the set ones. I suddenly realised that it’s not like bottom turning a 3ft wave at LTB back home. I’m out there on a borrowed 6’8 - all I could get my hands on! - and I had no idea how it was gonna go. I tripped up on a little wobble, and then got a few after that. Couple of mental wipeouts too, was glad I had a bit of floatation on. Got dragged backwards over the falls on a duck dive – Oh Christ that was heavy!  

It’s really cool that there’s a very organised safety crew out there who were hovering around on the skis. Big thanks to the Irish Tow Safety Club. There’s some crazy stories of things going wrong out there back in the day and guys spending the night stuck under the cliffs. I found all that very inspiring, hearing the stories of Mickey (Smith), Lowey, Ferg (Smith) and Jack (Johns).  

So yeah, 3 ½ hours out there under the cliffs. I didn’t score any of the ‘set set’ waves apart from the first one I went over the front of. It was a busy little take-off zone full of good surfers and bodyboarders, local and international. I managed to get a second session a couple of days later on a smaller day, and was already feeling more confident. I’m amping to go back! It’s such a perfect slab underneath the Cliffs.  

DTL: Did you get to check out any of the other spots over there? 

Yeah, it was great to get out for a look at Riley’s too. I didn’t end up getting any waves, but it was cool to just paddle out, sit in the line-up and take it all in. I’d actually got towed into it years ago, on my first trip over when I was 16! Think it was Lowey or Ferg, who just ordered me into this huge, proper 12ft+ beast. Got in, got out, that was it haha. It’s a load busier now, unlike how quiet it was back when Mickey discovered it. It needs such specific conditions that it just hid away for years without being noticed. This time, there was a heavy pack on it, so just sitting out there was nice. Sunny, crisp, and just surrounded by a good crew.  

Also managed to get a few waves at Crab Island, back on the DHD 3DVs again. A lovely little right in a small harbour. Me and another guy just had it to ourselves, barrel after barrel! We couldn’t believe it. Bring on the next trip. I’m amping to get a set of guns for myself and get out there again next winter. Or earlier!  

Keep an eye out for more team rider content on our Instagram. Reubyn is still out in Indo chasing mad barrels in his boardies, and Lowey is about to head off to Central America after a stint back here in Cornwall. 

Thanks to David Beckitt (@numbskull_____) for his images of Jayce up in 'The North' and West Penwith local Ryan Holland (@rhollandphoto) for sharing his shots of Jayce in action in Ireland. 

Just added to your wishlist:
My Wishlist
You've just added this product to the cart:
Go to cart page