In the early 1970s, the world-class waves of Ireland were uncharted waters for the international surfing community. Amidst the conflict of the Troubles, pioneers in both Dublin and Belfast transcended political hostilities to host the 1972 Eurosurf championship, while every international sporting event in Ireland that year was cancelled as the conflict between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland plunged parts of the island into chaos and violence. This look into the unsung history of Ireland’s now world-renowned surf scene details the power of sport to bridge any divide.
The inspiring true story of the dawn of Irish surfing and how the sport’s pioneers from around the globe descended on the coastal village of Lahinch for the 1972 Eurosurf Championship, the largest surfing event in all of Europe and the competition that would put Irish surfing on the map. Finding peace in the surf during the most violent years of the Troubles, surfers from both sides of the divided island would forget civil strife and instead celebrate their shared love of the sport by riding Ireland’s majestic waves. Even surfers from England would defy their government’s intense pressure to boycott the event. For these surfers, there were no borders, only the endless freedom of the ocean.
Ireland has since become a global destination for world-class surfing, with a coastline twice the length of California’s and world-class waves to match it, but back in the early ’70s it was completely unknown to surfers outside Ireland.
A chronicle of boundless idealism in the midst of a violent conflict, this debut documentary by filmmaker Sean Duggan will take you on a stunningly beautiful ride revealing how surfing would forever change the lives of an exceptional collection of young people, giving them hope at a time of bitter despair, and and how the tight-knit, rebellious community they formed would leave a lasting impression on Ireland.
Keep It A Secret from Sean Duggan on Vimeo.