This doccie is thick with cultural nuance, partly the indomitable seafaring spirit of the Irish. The thundering cold water brutality of big wave spot Aileens (Aill n Searrach) is a wonderful contrast to the warm lyricism of the people. Stories, legends, hair-raising tales by Ireland's surf pioneers are interspersed with stunning land and sea-scapes, and epic cold-water surfing shot over two years. Irish surfing history surges against the crazy 700ft Cliffs of Moher over Aileens like a storm-blasted detonation of Low Pressure TNT. The mullet pioneers rode briny behemoths with primeval equipment and lived to tell the tale in a thick Irish brogue. Celtic kiff.
Wavescape, South Africa - November 2008
If you still don't think Ireland is a legitimate wave zone,
pick up a copy of Sea Fever.
The flick, which is part surf film and part documentary, will introduce you to the people, places and very real waves that make Ireland a vital landing pad for any surf seeker worth his weight in Guinness.
Surfer MagazineUSA July 2008
"Forty years of Irish surfing. From the early pioneers to the recent discovery of the un-jolly green giant Aileens, this is the definitive Irish surf flick. Not glossy, progressive or action packed, but certainly rootsy, hardcore and full of surfing devotion."
Surfing Magazine USA June 2008 issue
This Irish surfing documentary is the first offspring from
filmmaker Ken O'Sullivan. Beautifully shot and slickly edited, it charts
the arrival and growth over the last forty years of big wave surfing in
Ireland, namely Ireland's big wave spot Aileens.
Two years work have produced an epic production worthy of bigger budgets and the quality of footage is tantamount to O'Sullivan's skills and dedication and the hell man instinct of Ireland's and Britain's big wave surfers. Just what us at Pitpilot like to see ! Several British surfers are featured, there's Mole Joel's 50 foot monster on the back of the Hurricane Gordon swell, Sam Lamiroy, as well as Irish surf legends Kevin Cavey and John McCarthy, Mickey Smith and Saul Harvey.
This film is dramatic, ballsy, fascinating and manages to capture the character and charm of Irish surfing
Pitpilot - British & Irish Surf Magazine
It's a first-time film and in some ways that shows - not
quite enough footage, not edited as neatly as Hollywood might have done
it - but bejeesus don't let that put you off. O'Sullivan's love for his
subject - Irish surfing - shines through beautifully in this relaxed romp
around the coast of the Emerald Isle, past and present.
The film is steeped in dedication and reverence, highly entertaining and full of jaw-dropping waves. And he's pulled off a neat scoop, too, by putting out the most complete document so far of the rise of Aileens, Ireland's top o' the rankings big-wave tube that sits deep beneath the Cliffs of Moher in mystical
County Clare. This is the focus of the film and the peg upon which the story of Ireland's early surfing years is hung. Leading local lights appear as talking heads, from godfather Kevin Cavey to blesséd daughter of the shores, Easkey Britton, as well as the Aileens pioneer crew - bodyboarder and genius photographer Mickey Smith, John McCarthy and Saul Harvey. A bunch of Brits also help shed light on their neighbours' ever expanding surf world, with Sam Lamiroy and Dan 'Mole' Joel describing just how hairy it is to tackle an unknown monster wave, midwinter, miles from the madding crowd; wise insights on where surfing in Ireland may yet be going from Carve magazine's Steve England; and UK transplant Rod Bennett on his forty-something-year affair with the Emerald Isle. Ken O'Sullivan's earthy attempt has plenty of magic to offer, I'd recommend it to anyone who has a relationship with Irish surfing, anyone who's even contemplating going to
Surfer's Path - Alex Dick-Read
From Ireland comes a great film by Ken O'Sullivan. Loosely based around the current big wave movement in Co Clare it is well made and interesting throughout and covers Irish surfing unlike any movie before. If you are Irish it is a must, if you have any interest in Irish surfing you should also get hold of a copy as it captures the vibe of Irish surfing and surf history perfectly.
Wavelength - British & Irish Surf Magazine
".. slickly edited independently made movie complete with jaw-dropping footage of surfers surfing the Aill na Searracht (Aileens) wave off the Cliffs of Moher. "
- Irish Independent
"Seafever is a soulful insight into the growth of big wave surfing in Ireland. With dramatic footage and eloquent insight from Irish pioneers and the new Irish professional surfers it captures the spirit and addresses many questions with honesty and integrity"
The canon of great Irish surf films is pretty small. You
can now add one to that list- Ken O'Sullivan's Sea Fever. In tune with
the Irish surf experience this documentary is a more reflective, relaxed
look at surfing in the Emerald Isle, not all hyper-action and punk music.
Not that it's lacking on great action, the Aileens footage is worth the
price of admission alone, but it's the way the whole piece is stuck together
that really works- a professional mix of great surfing, interviews with
key characters old and new, gorgeous scenics and it's all soundtracked
If you live here it will reinforce why you do, if you don't it will make you want to visit.
In short it's an essential purchase. We like. We like it a lot.
"... an enjoyable documentary and a well made film capturing the thrills, history and spectacular waves, such as the giant Aileens off the Cliffs of Moher. Especially intguing treatment of the early surfers who 'discovered' the sport in Ireland..."
Four Stars - Tom Hickey / Irish Examiner Film Review
Sea Fever is a surf film with heart. From the very opening scene - a close up of foaming white water, tumbling over sand as it hisses its way back into the next wave the film captures the essence of surfing that in many other parts of the world has been lost in the tumultuous commercial growth of the last few decades.
Sea Fever is a surf film that goes beyond what happens in the water, it explains the lifestyle that Irish surfers live, using interesting interviews with some of the most important surfers who inhabit those shores. The one thing that stands out with all the local surfers that are interviewed is that while they are talking in a very open and honest matter - they are all smiling. None of them are talking about what surfing means to them in a matter of fact way; its is all from the heart with a clear passion that is evident and can be understood by anyone who has themselves slid down the face of a breaking wave.
The film follows a meandering course via Bundoran, Kerry and Lahinch, through the 60s to the last few years and culminates in this winters epic tow in surfing under the Cliffs of Mohir. The footage is well shot and edited and really captures what it is like to surf in the Emerald Isle. The water is shown clear and glasslike but with a grey-green tint that you will not find in Australian surf films. The footage of the shore is all of lush green farmland and imposing limestone cliffs, rather than sand dunes and cane fields, which gives the footage a much more raw and European feel.
The surfing highlight is obviously this winters big wave tow in surfing at Aileens. It starts with one wave, where it appears that the very floor of the Ocean has lifted up en masse to create a heaving wall of exploding water. Dan Joel and Sam Lamiroys commentary provides a wonderful insiders view of tow in surfing and explains what the extreme end of Irish surfing feels like. Watching this footage, of numerous surfers riding 45ft walls of water in towards a sheer limestone cliff, a mile from any exit point, makes compelling viewing.
The film flicks away from Ireland for a short while, moving back to the Cornish village of Porthleven, which provides an interesting contrast with the English surf scene. Sea Fever shows that Ireland has an enormous amount of coastline, lots of it unexplored, where it is still possible to head out into a 5ft swell and find there isnt a crowd or any attitude. It shows that there is a certain spirit alive in Irish surfing, where surfers have that spirituality, closeness to nature and a complete lack of materialism or ego, leaving just a burning passion for surfing and a love of the Ocean.
Watching Sea Fever will leave you with that same stoked refreshed feeling
as an early morning session, on a cool deserted beach as the sun comes
up. It is a great surf film, which creates an impression of Ireland as
being an outpost on the border of a great wilderness, the last great untamed
surfing frontier, full of wild characters with a glint in their eye and
broad grins on their faces. And watching this film you arent quite
sure if its because their eyes are the window to their soul or its because
of a secret Irish reef break they are just about to surf.
SurfingGenie.co.uk - Click here for full review.