St Finan's Bay Reviews and Ratings
(Ireland – County Kerry)
Visitor reviews of St Finan's Bay surf break
July 29, 2010
Rob Davies from New Zealand
Saint Finan's Bay is a wonderful little beach where the Kerry mountains fade into the Atlantic Ocean. At high tide, the sand here is almost entirely covered by the sea but at low tide a fair sized beach is uncovered. Quite popular in summer, but always friendly. Crystal clear water and the magnificent profile of the Skellig Islands between waves. Scenic Ireland at its very best.
In terms of wind, waves and weather St. Finan's is an exceptionally exposed location, open to the full force of a SW gale when the surf must get immense, but also offering a wave in West or even big wrapping NW, as well as occasional south swells from Biscay lows. Also, it is located so far west that like Coomenoole, it must even be exposed to south Atlantic swells in the Irish summer, at about the 20-30cm height and 20 second or longer periods.
This all goes to make this little beach very consistent in terms of surf, but very prone to being blown out and extremely prone to being cloudy and wet. A good spot to head in summer when all else if flat but in all probability, in winter it will more often be too big than too small.
In the prevailing west swell conditions, expect two or three foot here when Ballinskelligs and Derrynane are just an unsurfable foot (which is why the local surf schools tend to come here in summer). Peaky lefts and especially rights are the specialty. Best at mid tide. It can be very good up to head high in light/offshore N or NE winds.
It would be interesting to know how much swell it can handle before it closes out.
St Finan's Bay Ratings
Based on 4 votes. Vote
Quality on a good day: 2.8
(1 star: Even when the swell and winds are optimum, the waves are poor quality, 5 stars: If conditions are right, the waves will be World Class).
Consistency of Surf: 2.8
(1: St Finan's Bay is a fickle surf spot that only works a few times a year. 5: Reliable year-round spot).
Regional Rating: 2.7
(1: St Finan's Bay is usually very poor quality compared to other spots in Ireland - County Kerry. 5: the best break in Ireland - County Kerry).
Difficulty Level: 3.5
(1: Suitable for Groms. 3: Intermediates. 5: Expert tow-in surfers only).
Onshore Wind: 2.3
(1: even a light onshore ruins the surf. 5: St Finan's Bay can offer better rides with a light wind behind them).
Other Options: 4.3
(1: If wind or tide conditions are poor at St Finan's Bay, it will be poor everywhere nearby. 5: other locations nearby provide a rich variety of wind and swell exposures).
Wind and Kite Surfing: 1.0
(1: An unsuitable spot. 5: Wind and wave conditions at St Finan's Bay are often excellent).
Water Quality: 3.8
(1: Known health risks from pollution. 5: Never any pollution).
(1: Often too crowded. 5: St Finan's Bay is an isolated spot where you are unlikely to meet other surfers).
(1: Getting to St Finan's Bay requires an overland expedition or chartering a boat. 3: A 30 minute walk from the nearest parking. 5: Park a vehicle right by the break).
(1: An ugly industrial backdrop. 5: A spectacular setting).
Local Attitude: 3.3
(1: Locals are hostile to visitors. 5: Either there are no locals who surf, or else they are accommodating and friendly).
(1: No convenient places to stay indoors. 5: A wide variety of accommodation near St Finan's Bay for all budgets from hostels to luxury hotels).
(1: Camping at St Finan's Bay is not possible. 3: Camping tolerated but no facilities. 5: A nearby camp ground has excellent facilities and a good vibe).
(1: Besides the surf and the solitude there is nothing to do when it is flat. 5: St Finan's Bay is in such an interesting area to visit that getting wet is a bonus).
Equipment and Repairs: 1.0
(1: Nothing can be sourced, not even wax. 5: Quality surfing equipment can be purchased or hired. Major repairs can be fixed too).
(1: Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. 5: A wide variety of places to eat and drink at St Finan's Bay, from fast food and cafes to fancy restaurants).
(1: Alcohol is not allowed in the country. 5: There is an excellent pub near St Finan's Bay where you can stay or park a camper van overnight).
Based on 4 votes. Vote