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'It was worth waiting five years for this' IRISH SURFER AL ON CONQUERING 50FT WAVE.

Byline: RORY TEVLIN

CROUCHED low on his surfboard, Al Mennie watches and waits as a 50ft wall of water looks set to crush him, but this is the moment the daredevil's waited five years for.

The adrenaline junkie, from Portrush, Co Antrim, was part of an elite band of surfers who took on the gigantic waves off the West coast of Ireland for the first time this week.

He has travelled around the world and bested the worst the sea has thrown at him but Al said this one was the ride of a lifetime.

Surfers have nicknamed the new crest "Prowlers" and Al said enthusiasts have been waiting five years for the perfect conditions - which finally came on Monday.

He added: "We redefined big wave surfing globally. This new spot looks like the famous Mavericks in California. I've surfed Mavericks and although this looks like it, Prowlers has much more ferocity, violence and power."

Photographer Aaron Pierce had been looking at the spot for some time but the huge swells from Hurricane Tomas brought waves of up to 50ft crashing on to our coast. Andrew Cotton, from Devon in the UK, said the few hardy souls who took on Prowlers were just lucky to be there.

Andrew added: "We were lucky, the conditions were perfect and we were just lucky to be there. It's a hard thing to describe really but there is intense noise.

"But you are focussed and you are committed so you can't really take it in until after it.

"It really sinks in when you start to look at video or photos, it sinks in what you have done.

"Monday was unique in that there was big swells and hardly any wind, usually there are gales.

"A couple of locals have been looking at the spot for some time, we never had the opportunity or the conditions have never come together and Monday morning was the time." However, Al and his mates are keeping the exact location of Prowlers a secret.

Andrew said: "It's not for me to tell, I would not be coming back to Ireland if I did tell. It's quite a way out to sea."

With a growing reputation in the surfing community, Prowlers has joined "Aileens" in Co Clare to make Ireland the Big Kahuna of European surfing.

Irish Mirror Comment: Page 10

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SKILL Surfer Al Mennie WHITE KNUCKLE RIDE Co Antrim man Al Mennie on Prowlers off the West coast on Monday
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Nov 10, 2010
Words:414
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