When you purchase gear through links on our site, we may earn a small commission. Here’s why you can trust our tests and our affiliate partner.

TKM54 Antidote do Chaos Airush Bunotti 12 copy 1 1200x800 - Antidote to Chaos

Antidote to Chaos

Airush riders Jason van der Spuy and Alessa Mensch headed to Ireland for a Brunotti photoshoot. A rare ‘heat’ wave meant no wind for their first two weeks and when it did eventually kick in things got pretty chaotic, but they got the conditions they needed to shoot their video project and were overwhelmed by the beauty of the country.

WORDS: Jason van der Spuy
PHOTOS: Dylan Osborne
TKM54 Antidote do Chaos Airush Bunotti 3 1260x754 - Antidote to Chaos

Imagine a place with pure, raw beauty… Mother Nature at its finest… Then imagine a place where chaos and beauty are balanced as if crafted in an unknown world. Finding chaos in such a beautiful setting is rare – as is finding beauty amidst the chaos. It is hard to imagine that it exists, yet this is precisely what we found in Ireland.

We were quite lucky to end up in Ireland for the first time last year. My South African passport makes traveling through Europe to compete in the summer months quite difficult, as the competitions are spread over a three-and-a-half-month period. Last year I desperately needed to get out of the Schengen area before overstaying my visa, and Ireland was the closest country that did not require a Schengen visa. I made contact with Ruben Lenten as he had been to Ireland a few times, and he linked me up with Pure Magic Achill on the most western side of the country. I was unaware of Ireland’s inherent beauty and also of what it had to offer as a kiting destination. I was fully unprepared for what I would find and completely overwhelmed by what I discovered upon arrival. Immediately I knew that I would be returning the following year with Alessa and a videographer to capture it all through a lens so that the whole world could experience it too.

Fast forward to this year and our dreams became a reality. We arrived in Ireland, blissfully unaware that they were right at the start of the longest heat wave they had experienced in years. I wouldn’t really call it a heat wave like most of us know it, as we were still wrapped up in big jackets… but the sun was out for the majority of the day, which was the complete opposite to what we experienced the year before. Thanks to the heatwave, there were no storms passing over and it gave us time to properly explore the west side of Ireland like tourists. It was the perfect scenario because we went there to shoot the new collection of Brunotti clothing, and this proved to be the perfect spot! We would drive around every day to a new location, each one unveiling more beauty than the one before. The number of times each of us said, “how beautiful is this?” would fill up a hundred-page book. It is almost impossible to put into words what makes each location so beautiful, as there is too much to take in. It is so overwhelming that it feels chaotic.

We spent the first two weeks shooting at all the locations we could during the ‘heat’ wave, and finally week three brought in the storms. The first and second day were not very strong, making it perfect for exploring locations that have never been kited, as they are not very accessible. The most insane location was one we found on the second day when we saw this area on Google Maps that had a bunch of small islands spread across the bay. Each island was around one hundred meters long and thirty meters wide. There must have been close to fifty of them, and each one was slightly unique in the way that the wind funneled through or how the banks created different water conditions. After a bit of driving around to reach the few islands that were accessible by car, we found a gem. It wasn’t easy to get there as we pretty much had to make our own road, and had to cross over some farms, but once we arrived it was totally worth it. I managed to score an epic hour-long session surrounded by dark gloomy clouds and lush green islands.

TKM54 Antidote do Chaos Airush Bunotti 4 1260x754 - Antidote to Chaos

“We saw this area on Google maps that had a bunch of small islands spread across the bay.”

Day three and day four is when the storm really came through properly. We were so determined to ride in the strongest conditions that we woke up on day three at 4am so that we could start kiting at first light, as that was when the wind was meant to peak. It was extremely cold and the rain was coming down hard, but we still stuck to our decision and made our way down to the beach. As we arrived, there was a break in the rain and the sun began to appear. We pumped up our kites as fast as we could and Dylan, the videographer, wrapped up his camera in plastic bags. It was all looking very promising until five minutes into the session when the rain returned with a vengeance, and it started to pour down harder than ever before. We did not give up and continued kiting through it, trying to film as much as possible, but soon enough we had to accept that it had to be declared a failed mission. We then packed up and headed back to our accommodation and sat around waiting for a break from the rain and the clouds. Throughout the day we tried kiting four times, and there were some moments when we had partial success. In the end though, we were not satisfied with what we had, and knew that the next day was our absolute last shot at making this whole trip come together.

The morning of day four was not looking promising. The weather was similar to the day before, which would be perfect for normal kiting, but not what we needed for the video. We kited for six hours during the day with little success, and we were ready to call the whole thing off. It wasn’t until seven o’clock in the evening when I looked out of our bedroom window and saw a gap in the clouds approaching and what looked to be very big white caps far out to sea. I told Alessa and Dylan that we needed to get down to the beach ASAP as there was something coming, but they weren’t too confident as that is what we had been doing for the past two days. Nonetheless, I managed to get them into the car and the moment we got to the beach, the wind switched on. When I say it switched on, I mean it went from dark and gloomy clouds with twenty-five knots and patches of rain, to clear blue skies with gusts of at least forty-five knots. It went from chaos to unrivaled beauty in a matter of minutes. Without hesitating I was in my suit, my kite was pumped, and my lines were attached. We all worked as a team to get me into the water and Dylan onto the beach in position with the camera as soon as possible. The conditions in the first ten minutes of the session were by far the best conditions I have kited in for a very long time, and we managed to get most of the shots we needed from those ten minutes alone. I did a trick on every single tack just to make sure we would get enough footage in case the wind died at any given moment. Once we were satisfied with the footage, Alessa joined me for the session, and we ended up kiting until it was nearly dark.

We experienced Ireland to be one of the wildest and most beautiful kiting locations in the world – in spite of the stress involved in filming a Big Air video! The gloomy days, the sunny days, a mix of both and every day in between just keeps you in this state of awe. Even though the gloomy days were not ideal for filming, it was such an amazing experience to kite in conditions like that, and we really enjoyed every minute of it. If you are ever contemplating a kiting expedition to Ireland, specifically Achill Island, all I can say is that it will be one of the better decisions of your life to go. Get in contact with Pure Magic Achill and they will sort you out. And check out our video project to give you a flavor of the magic…

TKM54 Antidote do Chaos Airush Bunotti 13 1260x754 - Antidote to Chaos

“It went from chaos to unrivaled beauty in a matter of minutes.”

Want More?

You can get the latest goodness from the world of kiteboarding by subscribing to our print edition. You'll get 5 packed issues, plus a free tee and free digital access. And you'll be directly helping with our sustainability efforts too!

Check it out now
Subscribe Today