There’s a lust for adventure that seems to bubble up each summer as South swells light up some of our favorite southern hemi spots. Often times, the only thing between us and those empty desert point breaks is a few hundred miles worth of dusty roads, cacti, yucca, cold beers and fish tacos. While we plot our next escape, we can be grateful for those bits of inspiration that remind us of the joy and stoke born on these adventures and surf trips.
Recently, we connected with Barry Mottershead, a Cape Town native, Ireland transplant, and owner of Sligo Kayak Tours, to hear about his 14 day, 180km kayak assisted road trip that inspired the making of his latest short film, Niebla.
Barry: “The idea for the trip came about when I read ‘Voyage of the Cormorant’ by Christian Beamish. It was one of those books that I just could not stop thinking about and the idea of doing something similar started to grow in my head. I like to surf, but I find the mission of getting to the surf spots just as interesting and rewarding as actually riding waves, so I’ve always loved off the beaten track adventures.
I grew up on the desolate west coast of South Africa, so could relate to many of the scenes Christian found himself in and I have a deep love for those barren landscapes that he encountered. One look at Google Earth and I knew I had to make these ideas a reality somehow, the potential for perfect surf out there is just mind boggling. I work as a kayak guide, run my own business Sligo Kayak Tours, on the west coast of Ireland so it just seemed natural to try paddle the zone in sea kayaks.
I spent all summer guiding in Ireland, thinking of ways to stash more gear in and on the kayaks. Did I need a sail? What about coming ashore? How many surfboards could I fit? There were endless questions and to the best of my knowledge no one had tried this before, so I just tried to think of practical solutions to all the hurdles.
In the end we towed our longboards like a little trailer, they were attached to a harness and our gear and shortboards were piled on top.
My girlfriend was super keen to come and ride the fun pointbreaks and paddled every day I did in the kayaks; she nailed it. Her brother just happens to be one of Ireland’ top surf videographers, so they jumped at the chance to come explore the coastline.
We asked another friend to join us for land support, and together we trekked about 200km on dirt trails and ocean swells, paddling when we could and when the winds howled or the sea was too rough we’d load the kayaks on the truck and drive south a little more. We ended up seeing some amazing coastline, surfed some perfect waves and met the nicest people.
I just want to thank Greg Stahl of rigracks.net for all his help. The dude literally left his wife and baby girl at home in Carpinteria to chase a wild dream with us. His enthusiasm and spirit was infectious and we’re forever grateful to you buddy.”