FINDING A BALANCE
CIARAN, THE ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS PIXIE, IS ONE OF THOSE SURFERS THAT IF YOU'VE SURFED A WHILE YOU'VE PROBABLY BUMPED INTO. WHETHER IT'S IN BUNDORAN OR INDO. HE'S ONE OF THOSE GUYS THAT'S ALWAYS MANAGED TO FIT WORK AROUND SURFING AS OPPOSED TO GIVING I
Ciaran Haresnape is a fixture in the Bundoran line-up and has been for a long time. Ian Mitchinson quizzed him on getting the surf/work balance right.
So Ciaran, How long have you been surfing and when did you move to Bundoran?
I started surfing in Bundoran when I was around 12-years old whilst visiting my mum's family who live nearby. After that I spent every school holiday surfing there until I finally moved here when I was 17.
Being able to grow up around the waves of Bundoran would have been so epic. So, tell me though … How do you feel the surf culture has changed with the growing numbers of surfers, photographers like me, so many businesses with commercial interests etc getting involved?
Ahh next question! Okay … think I'll skip a few questions then! So, I heard you had a boat in Indo for like five years or something, what the story there?
Yeah me and a close friend Kwab went 50/50 on a 38-foot catamaran. Which we sailed and surfed our way from Kavieng in Papua New Guinea all the way to the Mentawais in West Sumatra. All in all it was about three years and without a doubt one of the best experiences of my life.
So how do you survive the real world and maintain a surf lifestyle in your thirties?
Well I suppose that depends on what you classify the real world, haha! Seems like the real world is whatever you make it. The real world for me is finding a balance between work and spending plenty of time in the surf and hanging out with friends.
“WE SAILED AND SURFED OUR WAY FROM KAVIENG
IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA
ALL THE WAY TO THE
MENTAWAIS IN WEST SUMATRA .”
For sure, OK let's pretend I’m an 18-year old surfer and I know in my heart I want to always have surfing in my lifestyle. What advice would you give me?
Most important thing I would say is to make sure you live somewhere where the waves are good and rest will fall into place. Secondly, learn how lay rail before you try do an air …please.
Wise words there. Do you feel like your surfing is still improving at this stage?
I think its only natural with the more experience comes more knowledge and therefore improvement. I’m only 37 and these days guys are still ripping all the way through their forties and fifties.
That's so good to know that when it comes to surfing, age is never the key factor. But how is your stoke factor as you grow older?
The stoke is still strong especially when the waves are hollow.
One more question I got here, it's a deep one, how does surfing enrich your life?
For me surfing has helped make my life better in lots of ways. It has inspired me to travel to some amazing places worldwide where I have experienced different cultures which I think helps you to become more open minded. Thats not to mention all my great friends I’ve met along the way.
“THE STOKE IS STILL STRONG ESPECIALLY WHEN THE WAVES
ARE HOLLOW .”
So last time I saw you you were pretty much taking ownership of the Volcom house in France, so where have you been the last six months?
Yeah that place seems more like home to me than England! I've had a super busy last six months chasing swells leading up to Christmas I went down to Portugal where we scored some of the most fun waves I've had in Europe. I was there with Roberto d'amico and Marlon Lipke. After that I came home for a few days and got a call from Tim Borrow saying there's a swell in Ireland, so it was straight back on a plane chasing winter swells. Then I thought it was time to get into some warmer waters so I flew out to Hawaii for the winter, which was so good. Oh and then I stopped off in California for a quick month and fell in love with the place. I really didn't want to come home! Ha ha!
How was Hawaii? Was that your first time?
My winter in Hawaii was such a good experience, I loved every minute of it. I feel like it really builds character over there just the whole vibe and the waves. There’s always some scary faces out at Pipe when it’s on, and even just cruising around the beach. It keeps you on your toes that’s for sure! It was my second time there, the first time was a few years back when I was in my grom days (or am I still a grom?) but this time I knew what to expect and was ready to grab the bull by the horns and go on anything! I definitely tried to earn as much respect as I could when I was there, after all it is why they call it the 'proving grounds'.
What were you expecting and how did it pan out?
I sort of knew what to expect but that doesn't make it any easier. I wanted to get as many of the good waves at Pipeline as possible, having the Volcom Stone on the front of your board definitely helps, but you need to be super on it and always ready to go when you get your chance. Hawaii is a fantastic place with a variety of waves. Part of my goal on this trip was to continue to improve and surfing in such powerful waves for months gives you that confidence to push your limits. Having been surfing for as long as I can remember (around three years old I reckon) it’s still a real buzz to feel yourself improving, pushing turns harder, completing bigger and better airs, feeling relaxed in scary barrels. It just keeps you so motivated. I had so many sessions at Pipe just getting some bombs and by the end I felt so comfortable out there, which I guess is a big goal in itself as its a pretty scary wave! I know a lot of people will agree with me on that one!
Was that you first time hanging out in the Volcom Pipe house? This was my second stay in the Volcom house. The first stay was with the Volcom European junior team, and was a shorter trip so this time it was nice to get settled in and start knowing the place a bit better. As groms you have to start off in the ‘small house’ (which is still worth a fortune) in what’s called the Dungeon, a dark room downstairs in the basement full of bunk beds and a every groms gear. The deal is you are expected to keep it all in order and clean without being told to do so. If they notice one bed unmade you have to go to the school park across the road to train and get beasted by Kaiborg who is built like a brick shithouse and probably the scariest guy you will meet. We had to go to the park more than once! This season in the Pipe house was obviously different now being 21. I felt a lot more confident in the house. You still have to tow the line and are expected to respect the house and the rest of the team. Someone will let you know if you’re not pulling your weight for sure. I started off this year in the small house again as the big house was full. You wait your turn in the pecking order to move up the big house. When you get called in by Tai Vandyke (who runs the houses) it feels like you have arrived for sure. I had a room on the second floor where I could lay in bed and watch Pipeline out of my window and the balcony was amazing.
Downstairs in the main part of the house has such an amazing vibe; everyones frothing and amped for surfing and the guests/visitors to the house are like a who's who of surfing.
Does everyone put their name on their milk cartons/food/ice cream in the fridge?
With food in the kitchen fridge etc you need to eat it and not leave it for long as it will just go and going around asking scary Hawaiians who's eaten you pizza is not a good idea.
Are all the stories of wild parties true?
You bet they are, but some of what goes on in the house stays in the house! Who were you hanging with?
There are always a lot of Volcom riders around you are never stuck for a surf buddy. I surfed with so many international riders and for sure you're always learning from them.
Which waves did you surf and which were your favourite?
I had use of the van while I was there in return for doing the airport transfers for the team, usually two or three times a week, which I enjoyed as I passed my UK driving test in early January, so to be let loose on the six lane highways was pretty cool. Then having use of the van let me surf any of the other waves on the island.
Rocky Point was one of my favourites it is just a dream for airs; a wicked left wedge and the wind nearly always blows in to it from the left so perfect for me. I surfed Off the Wall loads and Haleiwa.
Did you snag any sneaky bombs at Pipe?
Pipeline is a full on wave you can never really relax. It has so much power even on small days. I definitely had my fair share but you soon realise waiting for that perfect one, the barrel of your life will probably have someone else on. So you just go when you get your chance and never hold back because that really won't do you any favours. I suppose to sum up my time at The Volcom Pipe house up is that I feel incredibly lucky and privileged, as a grom I never dreamt I would get the chance. So stoked with the guys at Volcom for believing in me for the last 11 years.
‘IF THEY NOTICE ONE BED UNMADE YOU GET BEASTED BY KAIBORG WHO IS BUILT LIKE A BRICK SHITHOUSE AND PROBABLY THE SCARIEST GUY YOU WILL MEET.’
How was the vibe in California?
I flew to San Diego where I have relatives, which is a real plus as Cali is pretty expensive, especially accommodation. I was so stoked when they picked me up from the airport and had a perfect base in El Cajon with a wicked pool and they lent me a spare car for the duration! The nearest wave was probably 20 minutes away, Mission Beach. Although there are waves everywhere pretty close, mostly I travelled about an hour when the traffic was quiet up to Trestles. It was definitely a different vibe to Hawaii, a lot more chilled and relaxed you are not dicing with death like Pipeline, people aren't as competitive and are more talkative and approachable. I had so many compliments on my surfing from guys in the water and on the beach, something you don't tend to get in Hawaii or Europe for that matter! Everyone is so positive. Cali is the first place apart from home I have been to that I could see myself living long term. I would be more than happy to do the hour drive from San Diego and the half hour walk everyday of my life to surf waves like Trestles. I didn’t have a filmer while I was there but would have had the clip of my life for sure, but got that one in the memory bank!
What are your plans for the rest of 2017?
Plans for the rest of 2017 ... well as I write I’m planning to go to Indo with the Volcom International team for a two week filming trip, although I will probably get there a couple of weeks before the team and maybe stay for a bit after to get more for my buck with jet lag etc. Then I will be heading back to the Volcom house in Hossegor, for the summer season. Who knows whats next? People and surf media try to pigeon hole you, whether you're a free surfer or competition surfer or whatever, but to be honest I'm just a surfer trying to improve everyday and be ready for any opportunity, upping my game day by day. I love surfing...
‘THAT PLACE SEEMS MORE LIKE HOME TO ME THAN ENGLAND!’