Keep It A Secret

Keep It A Secret recounts the inspiring true story of the dawn of Irish surfing and how the sport’s brave pioneers found peace in the surf during the most violent years of The Troubles conflict.

In 1972, every international sporting event in Ireland was cancelled, except for one. Teams from around the world were terrified to travel to Ireland amid the height of The Troubles, the conflict between Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland that had plunged the island into chaos and violence.

The only group of athletes bold enough to risk traveling in Ireland at this turbulent time were surfers. Surfers from around the globe descended upon the coastal village of Lahinch for the 1972 Eurosurf Championship, the largest surfing event in all of Europe and the competition that would put Irish surfing on the map. Here surfers from both sides of the divided island would forget about the civil strife and celebrate their shared love of the sport by riding Ireland’s majestic waves. Even surfers from England would defy their government’s intense pressure to boycott the event. For these surfers, there were no borders, only the endless freedom of the ocean.

Many people might be surprised to learn that Ireland has since become a global surfing destination, with a coastline twice the length of California’s and world-class waves to match it. Nowadays the Emerald Island is well known for world class surfing, but back in the early ’70s surfing in Ireland was completely unknown to the outside surfing world.

Keep It A Secret will be the first documentary film to tell the inspiring story of the surfing pioneers from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, who found in the exhilaration of wave-riding an escape from The Troubles and a common bond that transcended the political hostilities and religious sectarianism that divide their countrymen.

At the heart of the movie is the Northern Ireland’s Belfast Crew who were led by Davy Govan & Bo Vance and the Dublin Crew led by Kevin Cavey. By day, Bo Vance ran Belfast’s first recording studio helping launch the career of Van Morrison and by night, he revolutionized his beloved sport, making cutting-edge wetsuits, building innovative homemade surfboards and developing wave prediction tools. Kevin Cavey from Dublin started C&S Surfboards, Ireland’s first surfboard import business, he was the first to compete internationally for Ireland and led the campaign for Ireland to host Eurosurf 1972.

Keep It A Secret is a chronicle of boundless idealism in the midst of a violent conflict. It will take us on a stunningly beautiful ride through rough waters to reveal how surfing gave an exceptional collection of young people hope at a time of bitter despair; how the sport would forever change their lives; and how the tight-knit, rebellious community they formed would leave a lasting impression upon Ireland.

With Brexit enflaming old and new divisions between Ireland and the United Kingdom, the incredible, unsung history recounted in Keep It A Secret is as timely as ever to remind people that the stormiest of seas creates the most thrilling of waves for those with the vision, daring, and passion to ride them.

Director: Sean Duggan