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The minimum recommended age is 14 years

The Peak - Bundoran

The Peak - Bundoran

Donegal Bay, Ireland

Surf, Bodyboard

Northwest Ireland is one of the most consistent places in Europe and home to The Peak which is situated in the small town of Bundoran, south of the popular Donegal Bay. This area has become more popular over the past few years and Bundoran has become Ireland’s most important surf destination. Surfing and discovering this place is a unique experience, it’s like time travelling and integrating yourself in ancient Celtic lands. The weather is often cold and wet but the warmth of the locals and the quality of the waves are incredible. Some call it ‘Cold Indonesia’, the water isn’t turquoise and there are no palm trees but it has a power that will surprise most.

Bundoran is an ideal place to go all year round, it’s one of the most touristic places in Ireland and you’ll find everything there, restaurants, supermarkets, bed and breakfasts, surf shops, car parks, and most importantly there are good, consistent waves with a multitude of peaks and reefs all year round. The nearest airports are Donegal Airport and the International Airports of Belfast and Dublin. It takes around two and a half hours to get there from Dublin along the N3, and two hours from Belfast along the M1 and the A4. There is also a daily bus connection from Dubin Airport to Ballyshannon, which is just four miles from Bundoran.

At the beginning of the seventies the first surfers at Bundorn were Ian Hill, the Britton brothers, Dave Pierce, Grant Robinson and Roci Allen. Nowadays there are many good local riders such as Cain Kilcullen, who they say is currently the best Irish surfer, Gabe Davies, Ian Battrick, Ritchie Fitzgerald and Matt Britton to name a few. You may find some of them hanging out at the local, Maddens Bridge Bar, on the main street. It gets packed in the summer and the take off zone is very narrow. Everyone knows who is and who isn’t a local, however the locals are kind so make sure you respect them. There are some other very good waves near to The Peak such as Tullan Strand, 3D, Inside Left and Tullaghan. If you head in the direction of Sligo and turn right towards Duff River Bridge you’ll find the Mullaghmore wave which is growing in fame internationally. It’s a spot with brutal lefts above a reef which has become popular over the past few years for its enormous barrels. It works from 10 feet and with high tide.

thepeak-bundoran

Conditions

The Peak is in the west of Donegal Bay, its exposure means it receives any swell from the W and NW, and with a SW swell, the left converts into a wave which seems to be from Indonesia. The best period is from August to October as the water temperature is warmer and the first quality swells begin to enter. As a general rule, the best conditions are with 4 to 6 foot waves, a falling mid tide and E or SE wind. It works from 2 to 6 feet, and sometimes with more than 15 feet, this being the moment for tow-ins.

It’s an A-frame suitable for intermediate and advanced surfers and can occasionally be world class. The left is normally more powerful and the conditions vary quite a lot depending on the size. When it’s less than 6 feet it only works with low tide and the left is faster, longer and barrelling whereas the right is also good but shorter and more permissive. With more than 6 feet it works with all tides, the left is fast and above all, if the swell comes more from the N, it tends to close. With big swells the right is better, it’s hollow in the first section and longer, reaching the boat quay.

Despite its latitude, summer in Ireland can be surprisingly warm, thanks to the phenomenon that is the Gulf Stream which crosses the Atlantic Ocean diagonally from the Caribbean towards the north Atlantic. This makes the water on the west coast of Ireland to be warmer than, for example, Portugal which is located nearer the equator. Irish winters are hard and a 5 mm wetsuit, gloves, hood and booties are necessary. In autumn and spring you’ll need a 4 mm at least and 3 or 2 mm in the summer. Take care of the rocks, currents, sea urchins and huge tidal changes.
Optimal Conditions
  • Wave
    Left and right
  • Wind
    E - SE
  • Tide
    Medium - Low
  • Swell
    SW - W - WNW
  • Bottom
    Reef
  • Size
    3 to 12 ft
  • Time of year
    From August to October
Suggested Spots
  • 501 km from The Peak - Bundoran Newquay - Cornwall, England, United Kingdom
  • 543 km from The Peak - Bundoran Scotland - Caithness , United Kingdom
  • 1169 km from The Peak - Bundoran Gironde - Aquitaine , France
  • 1205 km from The Peak - Bundoran Coruña - Valdoviño - Galicia , Spain