Paddle out in memory of Tom Buckley

by Alison, 19/11/2013

This weekend we said a final goodbye to Tom. Tom and Rose Buckley opened Lahinch Surf Shop in 1989. It was the first surf shop in Ireland. This small business has changed the face of the town and the lives of many people for the past 24years. Tom played a pivotal role in creating the surfing community in Lahinch. Aside from running the surf shop, Tom resurrected the West Coast Surf Club and provided encouragement, advice and friendship to every surfer who has walked through the shop doors. 

We only moved to the town 4years ago but Tom and Rose have been our neighbours ever since. They were two of the first people we met in the town and we have always felt lucky to know them. Sadly Tom passed away unexpectedly only 5weeks ago. 

As a mark of honour and appreciation, a paddle out was held by the West Coast Surf Club for Tom.  It was a lovely thing to be a part of. Young and old, new and established members of the surf community turned out to pay their respects to Tom. 

Unlike in the movies, the sky and sea were a determinedly grey colour and unlike the calm, tranquil conditions usually seen, the swell and surf kept rolling through making the formation of the circle a challenge. However the grey skies, the rolling swell, the wind and the cold, all made this uniquely Irish. We are and Tom was, cold water surfers and it is in these conditions we spend our days. It felt typically Irish for it to be less then picture perfect as you tried to stretch your arm to catch another's fingers and the waves pulled you further from them or you saw the faces of the surfers sitting with their backs to the waves drain a little as they could feel the pull but couldn't see the height of the waves.  

However as beautifully captured by David Olsthoorn (a very talented local photographer), we did manage to all gather together and take a moment to acknowledge a person who had touched all of our lives. Being able to do it right below the cliffs and in front of the town and shop where he spent his days made it all the more special. 

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