Follow the Rugged Coast is part of Prolimit's project 'Follow the Current', an innovative and educational initiative that aims to follow ocean currents to understand how they affect water temperature and climate. Prolimit's aim is not just to do photoshoots but to tell stories, educate their consumers and riders, and take them on a journey. On the search for a location for their winter shoot, Prolimit's creative team scrolled through the world map to find a suitable spot…
The Rugged Coast of Achill Island
When going over the world map and following the different ocean currents, one current in particular stood out, which has an impact on the climate close to our home base: the Gulf Stream. We followed the patterns and movement of the Gulf Stream, which transitions into the North Atlantic Drift once you get closer to the North of Europe. The North Atlantic drift runs along the coast of Ireland and is a powerful ocean current that carries warm water from the Gulf of Mexico northward. It plays an important role in determining the region's climate.
The Gulf Stream is regularly in the news these days. As the Gulf Stream weakens, Ireland is expected to face cooling while many other parts of the world warm up due to climate change. Interesting… we zoomed in on Ireland on the map and picked Achill Island, along Ireland's West Coast, as the destination for our next mission.
Achill Island has a unique geographical position, and the rugged cliffs and pristine beaches make it an unparalleled playground for water sports enthusiasts. Winter days on Achill Island range from mid-cold to cold temperatures, but the strong coastal winds make it feel a lot colder.
Time to explore Achill Island and get the shoot going
With the knowledge of Achill Island's allure and the dynamics of the Gulf Stream in mind, the crew and riders Stig Hoefnagel and Jeanne Vanderick gathered at Schiphol Airport. At Dublin Airport, we would meet with windsurfer Henri Kolberg. However, Henri's bags encountered an unexpected detour, getting stuck somewhere in Germany. Luckily, they would arrive the next day.
After a four-hour drive, we arrived on Achill Island, eagerly anticipating the surprises the next morning would bring. We woke up to a stunning view of the tranquil lake, and despite encountering an angry farmer who disrupted our plans, we adapted and focused on capturing lifestyle shots for our winter collection.
Breathtaking landscapes and rich water wildlife
The days unfolded with explorations of Achill Island's breathtaking landscapes, from the famous White Cliffs to the secluded Mulrany spot recommended by Swiftie from Pure Magic Lodge. We witnessed the whimsical dance of dolphins and learned about the island's rich wildlife, including the possibility of spotting whales and basking sharks.
Keel Beach became our go-to spot for extreme action, and riders Stig, Henri and Jeanne braved the cold conditions to unleash their skills. We discovered the deserted beauty of the island during winter and early spring and relished the opportunity to enjoy the stunning landscapes Achill Island offers.
Adventures, challenges and memories
The trip was definitely not without its challenges, with rain-soaked days and soaked crew members… but it only added to the memories we cherish nowadays. We spent the nights in cosy bars like Lynott's Pub and at home in front of the fireplace, where we played some games.
Reflecting on our adventure, our Prolimit Mission went beyond capturing stunning visuals. It was an opportunity to unlock the secrets of the ocean, and to understand the interplay of currents, temperatures, and climate patterns. By undertaking these missions, we aim to raise awareness about the impact of climate change on our oceans and inspire individuals to protect and preserve these precious ecosystems.
The story of Prolimit's journey along the rugged coast of Achill Island will forever be etched in their hearts, reminding them of the power of nature, the spirit of adventure, and the importance of embracing and safeguarding our natural wonders.
Words from Stig Hoefnagel
Exploring new kiteboarding destinations has always been one of the most rewarding aspects of kitesurfing for me. From my early days as a little boy discovering local lakes to now travelling the world in search of the ultimate kitesurfing spots, the thrill of exploration never ends. While we typically travel to warmer locations, the idea of going to a colder destination rarely crosses my mind.
I had never been to Ireland before, but when Prolimit asked me to join them on their winter shoot, I was beyond stoked to join them. It's a place that I always wanted to visit due to its rough and raw nature. This, combined with unpredictable weather and big storms, made it seem like the ultimate kite challenge and story to do a winter shoot.
The beauty of this trip to Ireland was that none of us had ever been there, so nobody could spoil the others with stories of the past, making it an authentic exploration for each of us.
The week we spent in Ireland created some unforgettable memories on and off the water, and it truly became a place that I would like to visit again if the opportunity arises.
"A true adventure, to say the least. Every day turned out to be so different from what we expected. The forecast seemed to be unreliable, and the rain and sun would appear whenever they wanted to." - Stig Hoefnagel