Aileens comes to the XXL Big Wave Awards

Written by K38rescue on Apr-15-08 12:36am


XXL Big Wave Awards: Cotty, Alladio, Mennie, Burle and Kelli

Ben Granata Skypes me with news. The Irish boys are heading for Anaheim. Well naturally I'm going to invite Ben's friends into our K38 family! This weekend was going to be hectic. The Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards were looming, talent from around the globe was heading to the OC (Orange County). Al Mennie and Andrew Cotton were the hometown favorites from Aileens and other greater area big wave spots off the coast of Ireland. Phone calls and emails and Al told me to look for a sunburned red head, and of course a tall one. Shouldn't be hard to find at the Awards!

Not so hard as Mennie is a beacon, he gets there before us, we seem to always be 30 minutes behind on everything this week. What a cool group of people! We're stokked to meet them and hopefully we can go train over the weekend if things work out?

The Irish Hut on Wheels

We agree to meet at the house so they can crash curbside, we plan on going jet skiing tomorrow. Bryant from Hypnotic Films arrives at home from the XXL Awards, he sees the Tall red head guy driving the RV. But obviously a wee bit lost. We go outside and listen for them, we can hear them driving in the distance and backtracking, we're all laughing. Then slowly the headlights appear, heading straight for us is a comfy RV driving a wee bit fast.

Dip in the road! No matter, it is a rental. The parking is curbed and organized, once straightened out. They are a team, always watching our for one another, even RV rear ends. They fit snug up against the Jet Ski trailer and tumble out! We head into the house and get sorted, everyone is really spent, been a long day.

Cotty's Misadventure

Al Mennie and Andrew Cotton

is Al and Cotty's story on the shores of Ireland and the fringes of the Atlantic Ocean's licks, some are given and some are taken. The Atlantic pushes fast swells with big conditions and cold, colder than you can imagine, so don't go there, it's not pleasant.

Who turned up the heat?
A three day heat wave begins, we are melting. It's not like the stiff cold of Ireland, but more like the Sahara in the middle of summer. Water doesn't even help. The RV turns into a hotbox. My four year old Shaniah turns it into a playhouse and torments her 'boys' and coaxes kelli into spoiling her. She has found Nirvana in the kindness of big wave surfers, yeah really she did, they became her 'sweeties'. She asked Kelli why she talked so funny. I think it's called an Irish lilt.

After a lot of wrangling for Carlos Burle and Maya Gabeira's Waverunner, we finally get to the promised waters of the Pacific Blue. Mennie had been to Mavericks during the winter, now we had descended on the desert of all waveless liquids, it was glass sheet calm blue. The Channel isles loomed ahead, we suited up, launched the 4 Jet Skis and did a quick trot of over 40 miles easy.

The mega pod of spinnaker dolphins found us, we merged into the pod as they transitted our trackline. We slowed down as they passed, but to no avail, we were harassed by hundreds of dolphins trying to compete with our boat wakes, jumping in the air, twirling, dancing and loads of dolphin mirth with these amazing sea creatures. Everyone had smiles, it was really like a dream, in frontl, off to the sides riding our trailing wakes, we became a part of the mystery of the ocean's life, this pod was thriving and happy. That joy extended into our escape of the heated asphalt of Orange County. Kelli got a special and well deserved treat. They had all suffered with the attention of Shaniah, time delays and intense heat, this was a great reward, and I think one of thier longest rides. Great company to keep!

Cotty at the end of the run. We had a great time, but first it started of with trials. First I had to get the 4th Jet Ski hotwired, the digital key was missing, so we did some 'adjustments', not much different than being in class, I try to never give up on a ski, besides I was selfish I wanted to ride too! Then the RV compartment housing their wetsuits was key locked....Kelli had to master the opening and miracuously, we escaped! The ride was hard fought.

HUNGER. The ride resulted in hunger, we worked hard, clipping fast runs and miles of throttle and trim control, not an easy feat if you aren't used to it. The drive home from Dana Point Harbor had me thinking about how the kids would have dinner ready when we walked in the door! Very spoiled I am huh? Carlos Burle stayed behind to conduct an interview for a book about Gary Linden, one of our beloved in surfing. When we got home he was taking a nap in Shaniahs bedroom. Shaniah was on pins and needles for her boys to come back. She had adopted Cotty and Mennie and wasn't going to let them get out easily!

The Rainbow Motorhome

Shaniah drew the clouds, with the sun hanging over the world. The rainbow from the window inside the RV was clasped in the clouds. She was a storyteller with chalk. She drew the RV, with its windows, its two door handles, and the bed full of surfboards. She was very impressed with the boys 'pillows' on their beds and Kelli's pillows on the girl bed. The bathroom was her special place. I hope she didn't break anything. Her boys were very tolerant as she tends to be a bit overwelming even for four years of age. She drew the steps to the door and pictures of Mennie, Cotty, Kelli and herself all happy as can be, Fat tummies too!
She wanted to have a slumber part with them. I told her no.

The night was hot, and Shaniah had chalk. She drew stories of her 'boys', with heart shaped bodies around everyone, guess children's symoblism speaks volumes! She never stopped, while everyone lounged and waited for Bryant to finish the cooking at the barbecue. It was a mellow evening as the heat took our spirit and laid it low in energy. Shinn was the only one along with our dog Pancho Villa who didn't realize it was too hot to trot.

We stayed up way too late (Carlos crashed early) watching what else? XXL Big Wave Award videos I filmed..they were pretty horrible, but entertaining. Then we watched anything else surf related, go figure. The boys began to fall and the ladies kept on going. Finally I died, time to hit the sack.

Shaniah says goodbye to her boy Cotty. I'm sure I'll be hearing about him for years now. I'm hoping to hook up wiht them and Ben this summer and get some training time in. Not a bad idea! The Emerald isle is a good place to land, why not? Everyone has a wee bit 'o Irish in them!


The Driven Documentary tells the tales, so go listen to the story, check out their inspiring escapades:

Al Mennie's Website:

Andrew Cottons myspace: 5716