The Ferry Wave
Anyone living on the north side of Dublin city will know that we are neither close to the mountains nor the rivers but what we do have is the sea. It can be tough making the frantic drive across the city to Sluice or down to Wicklow only to find that the release is gone or the rain has stopped. Continue reading below to discover one of the northsides hidden paddling gems.
Dollymount beach is not the first or even the last place that you might think of when you consider surfing but at 4.30 every day as the ships arrive in there is a perfect opportunity to grab some suburban surf!
Access to the Bull island is via the wooden bridge in Clontarf, continue along the north bull wall until you come to the parking area on the beach. Walk 250m or so out along the breakwater until its deep enough to paddle. The waves will start to form as ships pass into Dublin bay. For the cleanest waves it is best to paddle out close to the Green North bull wall lighthouse. There are traffic barriers at the bull bridge that are fine for cars and tall enough for a van but not with a kayak on the roof.
A set of three waves spaced out by around 10 minutes or so form as 3 ships enter the bay starting at around 4.30. There is plenty of time to paddle out The waves form every day the ships are running but are really only worthwhile if the tide is low or within two hours of being low. The best waves form on a low spring tide as this is when the ships displace the most water in the channel. A tide tables or tides app for Dublin bay will give you all the information you need.
What boat to bring
The waves can be surfed in any type of kayak, SUP or even a longboard. At very low tides, the wave will break quite early and become a retentive moving foam pile where all sorts of freestyle moves are possible. Playboats are best suited here.
On higher low tides the waves have decent glassy shoulders which are awesome for some soul surfing in a longer boat or SUP.
What to watch out for
While generally the waves are reasonably tame, you do need to paddle out a fair distance so a solid roll is definitely crucial. It would be a long swim to the shore! Dollymount beach is an extremely popular kitesurfing spot and while they usually show little interest in the wave it is important to keep an eye out as it can get busy.
Finally, don’t forget to check out the Happy out café on the way off the island. Situated on the North Bull Wall and based out of two repurposed shipping containers they have the best coffee and toasted sandwiches around!
Check out the short video below and hopefully we’ll catch you on the water soon.