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Displaying items by tag: Surfing

#Surfing - To most people he's probably best known for that iconic AIB television advert, riding the giant waves at Aileen's off the Cliffs of Moher.

But to the surfing community in Ireland and beyond, John McCarthy is regarded as a pioneer of the sport on these shores.

The three-time former Irish senior champion was one of the first to discover and surf that Co Clare giant, and cement Ireland's status as a go-to destination for any wave rider worth their salt.

Today, however, McCarthy is a changed man, as he tells The Irish Post how he found religion and left behind the "egotistical" trappings of surfing culture for a life of greater meaning and purpose for himself beyond the allure of firsts and championship titles.

The Irish Post has much more on the story HERE.

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#Surfing - Surfers in the West of Ireland will be on standby this week as the latest weather forecasts show a significant swell heading our way across the Atlantic.

According to Surf-Forecast.com, the coastline is already set to experience wave heights of 5 metres or more this afternoon (Sunday 15 December).

But the best may be yet to come, with swells expected to nearly double that height by Thursday (19 December).

And the big wave bounty looks to continue into the following week, providing plenty of opportunity for Ireland's swellseekers to catch a monster before Christmas!

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#Surfing - Irish big wave rider Peter Conroy is the latest addition to the Northcore surfing team.

A relatively late starter in surfing at the age of 16, the Clare native had a solid background in competitive swimming and lifeguarding to build upon

That meant he was well prepared for the heavy surf off Ireland's West Coast, where he keeps a rigorous fitness and training regimen, including his chairmanship of the Irish Surf Rescue Club - organisers of the annual Tow-In Surf Session.

This summer he celebrated his nomination for the 'tube of the year' gong in the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards.

And now he's a part of Northcore's surfing squad for the UK and Ireland, alongside fellow Irish riders Conor Maguire - who joined two years ago - and team ambassador Richie Fitzgerald.

Conroy said of joining the team: "I'm very excited to work with the Northcore crew for future projects and pushing my limits further with the help of their excellent products."

Northcore's spokesperson added: "We are really pleased to welcome Peter to our team. He's a well respected, talented surfer with a wealth of big wave surfing experience and skills.

"He charges the biggest, meanest waves out there amongst some of the worlds very best as his nomination for XXL Ride of the Year testifies! It's an honour to welcome Peter to Northcore."

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#Surfing - When it comes to the world's coolest surfing destinations, Bundoran makes the grade yet again - according to Travel+Leisure magazine.

Nearly 18 months after the Donegal location was named one of the best surfing towns in the world by National Geographic, the big wave hotspot - site of the deciding leg in the 2012 Irish Championships surfing tour - has been included in Travel+Leisure's list of the 'World's Coolest Surf Towns'.

Indeed, Bundoran's listed along with 15 other renowned surf pilgrimage sites such as Encinitas in California, Australia's Byron Bay, Jeffreys Bay in South Africa and Hawaii's Paia and Haleiwa.

"Passion for pubs, music, and surf culture collides" in Bundoran, the magazine says, highlighting the town's three-time hosting of the European Surfing Championships and reputation for rock-band jams "into the wee hours at bars like Chasin' Bull", not to mention the "lively conservation" at Brennan's Criterion, an institution for more than a century.

The accolade for Bundoran comes just a few months after Mullaghmore Head, a little further along the northwest coast in Co Sligo, was named one of USA Today's 'World's Most Surprising Surf Spots'.

And it will surely be good news for Irish tourism chiefs who've recently launched a drive to attract more surfing enthusiasts to our shores, particularly over the quality winter surfing season.

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#Surfing - Bundoran-based Peter Craig currently tops the voting among six unlucky surfing enthusiasts shortlisted for Surfer magazine's ignoble 'Worst Wipeout' award, as BreakingNews.ie reports.

When the recent giant swells hit Ireland's northwest coast, veteran waverider Craig was out there in the surf with the best of them.

But as the video clip above shows, he ended up a victim of the wall of water for which Mullaghmore Head's become famous.

However, the Derryman takes it all in his stride, describing the wipeout as "par for the course" for any hardened wave hound.

"I'd love to win [the award]," he adds, "but wouldn't be able to afford to get to Hawaii to pick it up."

The Surfer Poll awards will be webcast live on Friday 6 December.

Below is a video featuring more action from Mullaghmore Head over Halloween:

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#Surfing - Surfers across Europe are keeping a close eye on the weather forecast as two large swells are expected to reach the coasts of Ireland and Portugal in the coming days.

SurferToday reports that 100-foot waves could be on the cards for Mullaghmore in Co Sligo, making tomorrow 31 October a happy Halloween for any big wave riders in the region.

Meanwhile, Nazaré in Portugal - site of a reported record-breaking wave earlier this year - is the place to be for the surfing pros from 3-4 November next week.

Scotland and northern Spain will also experience some bigger-than-usual swells as the Atlantic waters rage in our direction.

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#Surfing - Irish junior champion surfer Iarom Madden has clinched the men's title at the British University Championships, as the Donegal Democrat reports.

Bundoran native Madden - who studies at University College London - used his skills honed on some of the world's finest waves to fend off competition from some of the UK's top young guns to take first place in what was his first appearance at the contest in Newquay, Cornwall last weekend.

And he follows in the wake of fellow Bundoran surfer Shauna Ward, who took the women's title in 2007.

In other surfing news, Coleraine's Martin TK Kelly celebrates his 11th national title after being declared Irish National Bodyboard Champion for 2013.

According to the Coleraine Times, the win makes 35-year-old Kelly the most decorated Irish surfer of all time.

But he's not one to rest on his laurels, stating that his goal for 2014 "is not to defend my Irish Title but to rejoin the European Tour Of Bodyboard where in the past I have finished 21st."

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#Surfing - Travel writer Pól Ó Conghaile has posted his recollections of surfing the wintery waters of Dunfanaghy in North Donegal.

With "waves you’d be hard pressed to find in Australia", the region proved to Ó Conghaile why surfing in Ireland is such a draw for world-class pros and land-lubber novices alike.

"Sheltered or exposed, facing every which way, throwing up all kinds of waves – sure, the water is cold, but with the right gear you can break out the board no matter what," he writes.

And there's more on the story at Pól Ó Conghaile's website HERE.

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#Surfing - Surfing has the power to bring people together across cultural and gender barriers, according to Easkey Britton, whose talk at the recent TEDxDublin event has now been posted online.

"It's as if the salt water literally dissolves those barriers and fears we carry with us when we're on land," she says of taking to the waves and immersing in the power of nature, "and we're no longer separate but a part of it all."

Surfing also helps people to get out of their comfort zone - something Britton knows all about after becoming the first woman to surf the waters of Iran last year.

Travelling to the remote province of Baluchestan in south-eastern Iran initially in search of new waves to ride, Britton - of the famed Donegal surfing dynasty - explains how her mission quickly changed to one of connecting with people through surfing.

She recently returned to the region - three years after her first visit with a documentary crew in tow - to find she's sparked something of a quiet revolution in the area, which now boasts a surfing programme to get both men and women out on the waves.

See footage from Easkey Britton's original trip to Iran below:

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#Surfing - Irish-Australian surfing star Mick Fanning built up a 6,000-point lead on his closest rival, surf legend Kelly Slater, to win the Quiksilver Pro France title yesterday (4 October).

And as the Sydney Morning Herald reports, the win edges Fanning ever closer to a third reign as world surfing champion.

The Aussie of Irish parentage clinched the title in one-metre waves at the backup venue of Le Penon on the Bay of Biscay near the Spanish border.

And the 32-year-old wave whiz claims he "never really got into rhythm" until the morning of the final day, which makes his performance all the more remarkable.

The Sydney Morning Herald has much more on the story HERE.

Last year Afloat.ie reported how Fanning and his teammates captured pioneering Matrix-style 3D footage of their surfing using GoPro HD cameras. See video of their 'Mirage Moments' below:

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