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Irish Marine Firms Western Marine and 53 Degrees North have announced the opening of a 'watersports superstore' at the Western Marine premises at Bulloch Harbour, Dalkey.

53 Degrees North, Ireland's Outdoor Adventure Stores with branches already at Carrickmines and Blanchardstown - caters to Climbing, Hillwalking, Biking, Camping, Hiking, and of course watersports including Kayaking, Sailing, Surfing and Swimming.

Western Marine, Ireland's Largest Marine Distributors, was established in 1966 and is based at Bulloch Harbour since 1968. Western Marine caters to all marine markets, from sailing and motorboating to commercial workboats, and specialises in inflatable boats and RIBs as well as a huge range of marine equipment, lifesaving equipment etc.

Commenting on the new store, Western Marine's MD, Hogan Magee said "We're very enthusiastic about this venture - 53 Degrees North carry a full range of clothing, footwear and equipment from value for money through to top end premium quality products and that fits very well with our own philosophy of providing of premium quality at affordable prices.

The two ranges are complimentary, with very little product overlap, and the result is a truly comprehensive watersports display that we think is unparalleled anywhere in Ireland".

53 Degrees North MD Alan McFarlane said "We're really excited about this. Western Marine has a superb reputation in all marine markets, and the combination of the Western Marine and 53 Degrees North brands will give us both a wonderful opportunity to grow our businesses.The huge range of watersports gear which we offer now has a waterside home, and a whole new customer base. With free car parking spaces available in the adjacent boatyard, shopping with 53 Degrees North at Western Marine could not be easier"

Among the huge range of brands now available under one roof are worldwide leaders including Zodiac inflatable boats and RIBs, Teleflex steerings and engine controls, Skipper and Besto lifejackets & buoyancy aids, Icom VHFs, Gleistein yacht ropes, McMurdo EPIRBs, Harken, Lewmar, Garmin GPS, Pains Wessex Flares, Musto, Helly-Hansen and Henri-Lloyd sailing clothing, Dubarry marine footwear, O'Neill wetsuits, Oakley eyewear, surfboards by Cortez, and kayaks by Islander and Wilderness.

The new store is open 7 days a week throughout the Summer, with opening hours 9am to 6pm Monday through Saturday, and 1pm to 6pm on Sunday

Published in Marine Trade
Surfing magazine MagicSeaweed recently caught up with waveriders Fergal Smith and Tom Lowe to get the lowdown on winter surfing on the Emerald Isle.
The pair describe how flat surf after last November's 'big freeze' gave way to a run of big waves from January to March. For UK pro Lowe in particular it was his best ever season - but also one that left him spent.
"The finisher for me was that Mully morning session [off Mullaghmore]," he told MagicSeaweed. "Ferg towed me into the best wave of my life that morning; sounds wet but I was drained emotionally and physically by it."
For 'Ferg' Smith, the highlight was the paddle session at the Pampa wave near Bundoran.
"I grew up surfing Pampa so I know the wave well but I have never surfed it as big and perfect at that," he said.
MagicSeaweed has more insights from Tom and Ferg HERE.

Surfing magazine MagicSeaweed recently caught up with waveriders Fergal Smith and Tom Lowe to get the lowdown on winter surfing on the Emerald Isle.

The pair describe how flat surf after last November's 'big freeze' gave way to a run of big waves from January to March. For UK pro Lowe in particular it was his best ever season - but also one that left him spent.

"The finisher for me was that Mully morning session [off Mullaghmore]," he told MagicSeaweed. "Ferg towed me into the best wave of my life that morning; sounds wet but I was drained emotionally and physically by it."

For 'Ferg' Smith, the highlight was the paddle session at the Pampa wave near Bundoran.

"I grew up surfing Pampa so I know the wave well but I have never surfed it as big and perfect at that," he said.

MagicSeaweed has more insights from Tom and Ferg HERE.

Published in Surfing
Surfing isn't just for extremists - it can be a fun activity for the whole family, and you can even build a holiday around it!
Gary Quinn writes in The Irish Times about family surf lessons in the Fuerteventura, where there's been an explosion in surfing schools and holiday operators in recent years. As such, there's something available for all levels.
And with the Canary Islands already a popular sun-drenched holiday destination, even complete beginners won't feel they're getting in over their heads.
"Surfing is a lifestyle," writes Quinn. "The families and groups around me are absorbed by it. Their clothes, food, internal clocks. Everything swings with the tides and everyone is relaxed."
There's also a handy checklist for families to make sure everyone gets the most out of the experience.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Surfing isn't just for extremists - it can be a fun activity for the whole family, and you can even build a holiday around it!

Gary Quinn writes in The Irish Times about family surfing lessons in the Fuerteventura, where there's been an explosion in surf schools and holiday operators in recent years. As such, there's something available for all levels. 

And with the Canary Islands already a popular sun-drenched holiday destination, even complete beginners won't feel they're getting in over their heads.

"Surfing is a lifestyle," writes Quinn. "The families and groups around me are absorbed by it. Their clothes, food, internal clocks. Everything swings with the tides and everyone is relaxed."

There's also a handy checklist for families to make sure everyone gets the most out of the experience.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing
Local surfers have expressed their dismay over the decision by Clare County Council to approve the new pier development at Doolin Point.
The Irish Surfing Association (ISA) maintains that even the revised plan - accepted by the council's 32 members following previous objections - would result in the destruction of the renowned waves at Doolin Point and Crab Island.
"I am very disappointed with this decision," Neil Cooney of West Coast Surf Club told Surfer Today. "A great deal of work was put into the West Coast Surf Club and ISA submission but it seems that the issues raised were ignored and brushed over."
He added: "If this development is built as now proposed it would be a catastrophe."

Local surfers have expressed their dismay over the decision by Clare County Council to approve the new pier development at Doolin Point.

The Irish Surfing Association (ISA) maintains that even the revised plan - accepted by the council's 32 members following previous objections - would result in the destruction of the renowned waves at Doolin Point and Crab Island.

"I am very disappointed with this decision," Neil Cooney of West Coast Surf Club told Surfer Today. "A great deal of work was put into the West Coast Surf Club and ISA submission but it seems that the issues raised were ignored and brushed over."

He added: "If this development is built as now proposed it would be a catastrophe."

Published in Surfing

Our week began with the forecast of a huge swell hitting the North Coast of Ireland. It is usual that we travel through the night to meet the swell somewhere on the West Coast with great anticipation writes Conn Osborne. This time there was none of that, this time the swell was coming to meet us in our own backyard.

There had always been rumours of a wave, rumours as mythical as the tales of the Giants themselves at the Causeway. (SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOS!)

Al Mennie has been surfing most of his life, and big wave surfing for alot of that. Years ago he began a survey of our coast searching for potential big wave spots, educating himself through much observation and study on what exact conditions were required for each indivdual location.

The exact conditions this time were culminating on one of Ireland's most famous landmarks and tourist attractions, we felt privileged and knew that performing our best was the only option.

Monday drew to a close with phone calls between us gradually slowing down and firm plans having been shaped and finalised by Al who stood alone on the Causeway in the dark watching...and waiting...

Tuesday finally arrived, we each set out alone before dawn, with an aim to meet at first light - plenty of time then to organise equipment and get the tide right.

We have done this so many times before and have seen so many big waves but it was certainly different and very inspiring to view our own waters through refreshed eyes.

Equpiment was organised, set up and checked, the chosen boards were ritually waxed and choice of fins installed. The Riders, Al Mennie, Andrew Cotton, and Lyndon Wake protected from the bitterness by high tech wetsuits set down the slipway with their Jetski and "Sled" rigs into the icey waters of the Atlantic.

The video of the expedition by Jamie Russell of Entity Media Productions

As we made our way over the the chop and over the swell we could see some white water entering the arena which is a bay that we knew would fill with white water and leave no safe exit from riding the large waves. (This was a spot that would prove to take all of our surfing knowledge and experience to surf.) We sat and prepaired with good grace 'n banter as we waited for those anticipated conditions to combine.
We could see spray fly off the back of swell as it rolled into the bay. The wind was picking up right.
Jetskis were powered up and we went in for a closer look to study how the wave was actually shaping up - the dynamics.

Swell increased in size and we could now really see the true challange of what we had set out to meet, for up until this moment, no one had witnessed swell of this size in position to surf.

Al Mennie Talks about his first experience..

"After watching the sets break and establishing some mark ups so we knew where we needed to sit in order to catch them, both Cotty and I jumped in and paddled to the peak. Every now and again the bay would close out with a set that would miss the main take off spot".

"Within 30 seconds, of paddling out, I got lucky and happened to be right under a big peak coming towards me. As I spun my 8'2" around to paddle into it I almost couldn't belive this was happening.  Last week I was in La Vaca surfing in the contest and the week before I was surfing big La Santa point with Rob Small.  Now, I'm paddling for a wave, just as big, two minutes from my house. I remember getting to my feet as it stood up and then going really fast down the face. As I kicked out I looked around me in disbelief. This big wave is breaking in one of the most beautiful natural arenas in the world and I've just ridden one.  It was very satisfying. As I paddled back out for what became a four hour session Cotty went on his first elevator drop."

"The bay is very deep and holds a lot of water causing quite a lot of movement out there. There are rock boils everywhere and it would be very easy to fall and become a human pinball!"

Al Mennie's exploits, expeditions and endeavours can be read about in his book... Surfing Mennie Waves. Available online at www.almennie.com

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Irish Big Wave Rider Al Mennie going over the Edge @ Finn MacCools - Giants Causeway

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The Team sit studying before commiting (Scale Setting)

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Early in the day before the real conditions meet, this is the wind starting to Rise

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Al Mennie, Ireland's Big Wave Rider "Taking the Drop" and experiencing weightlessness

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Al Mennie having a fun Tow In, the guys prefer to paddle into waves under their own steam, "Any wave worth surfing, is definitely worth earning"

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Favourable conditions.. This is what Finn MacCools looks like

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The Giant's Causeway before the real Big swell hits

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Al Mennie gets to his feet and anticipates the next 20 seconds

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This is Al Mennie paddling to get up to speed so he can catch the Giant that is about to rare up to him

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Al sets the Rail of the board as he makes the high speed descent down the face of this fast moving Giant

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Irish Big Wave Rider, and Devonshire Big Wave Rider Andrew Cotton go over their equipment.. "to be able to actually put yourself in these potentialy dangerous situations and get out of them not only requires reliance on others, but also equipment"

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Andrew Cotton makes it to the bottom of a Finn MacCool wave ready to turn in towards it and climb

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Young Devon Pro Surfer Lyndon Wake, Andrew Cotton, and Al Mennie attach their "Sleds" to their high powered jet skis, these enable a platform for a surfer in the water to swim, and hold onto so they can be evacuated from a hazardous situation in the least possible time

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Early morning at the Harbour .. North Antrim.. Cold and deserted

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Al Mennie and Lyndon Waxing their boards for traction

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Andrew Cotton takes the drop at Finn MacCools and tries to force the nose of the board down against the wind that howls up the face of such sized waves

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6ft 5' Al Mennie walks down the Causeway into the sea ready to paddle out and catch a giant

More from Conn Osborne on his website HERE

Published in Surfing

The 50ft monster waves that arose off Ireland's west coast last week could provide a significant boost to tourism in the region.

Ethna Murphy of Fáilte Ireland told The Irish Times that images and news reports of the Prowlers waves has given them "priceless publicity" ahead of next autumn's European Surfing Championships in Bundoran.

"Those photographs will be in every surfing magazine in the world that matters and that is how we attract visitors to Ireland," added Killian O'Kelly of Bundoran's TurfnSurf Lodge surf school.

Last week's Fáilte Ireland conference on adventure tourism in Killarney was told that the market is worth over €1 billion annually, attracting over a million visitors to Ireland each year.

Prowlers has enhanced Ireland's already growing reputation as one of the top cold-water surfing spots in the world.

But the location of the giant waves as yet remains a secret known only to a handful of intrepid surfers.

Published in Surfing
The location of record breaking waves that appear only every few years will remain a secret known only to a handful of brave surfers. An international team - including Irish surfers - rode the giant prowler waves off the west coast of Ireland on Monday.

According to a Press Association report one of the six-man team, Briton Andrew Cotton, first spotted it several years ago while on board an Irish Coast Guard helicopter after being rescued from a surf accident off Mullaghmore, Co Sligo.

Last night some west coast surfers told Afloat.ie the location is most likely off the Sligo coast, up to two kilometres offshore and close to an underwater reef.

The terrifying-looking wave, dubbed 'Prowlers', was reportedly up to 50ft high on Tuesday when the Irish, British, Australian and South African surfers ventured out. Photos of it appeared on the front page of the Irish Times yesterday.

The surf team included Bundoran's Richie Fitzgerald who says he had waited for five years for the type of conditions required to surf it and on Monday the waves were in the 40-50ft range. Conditions were perfect due to the massive swell generated by Hurricane Tomas.

Published in Surfing

Surfers from across the country will be converging on Donegal this weekend for the annual Rossnowlagh Intercounties from 16-17 October.

The All-Ireland event in Ballyshannon is a team competition, and is seen as an important social gathering for Ireland's surfing community.

Current forecasts for Rossnowlagh are showing low waves for the start of the weekend, with the swell expected to pick up on Sunday afternoon - which is sure to heat up the latter stages of the contest.

Published in Surfing
14th October 2010

Portrush Surf Cam Goes Live

Surfing action from Portrush can now be enjoyed from all around the world following the launch of a live webcam at Whiterocks Beach.

Martin Kelly of Portrush Surf School teamed up with the town's Royal Court Hotel to set up the webcam at the popular surfing spot as a tool for travelling waveriders to check out conditions from a distance.

"By checking the webcam they can now see first hand exactly what the waves are doing, saving them time and money on a potentially wasted journey," the former Irish surfing champion told the Coleraine Times. "This is a case of know before you go."

The movable camera will allow for many different views of the Co Antrim beach that will surely appeal to more than surfing fans.

To view the webcam visit www.portrushsurfschool.com

Published in Surfing

John Britton of the famous Rossnowlagh surfing dynasty was among the winners at the Billabong Easkey Open in Co Sligo last weekend. (SCROLL DOWN FOR GREAT YOUTUBE VID)

The national school teacher from Ballyshannon took the senior title home to Donegal, site of next year's European Surfing Championships.

But Britton wasn't the only Donegal resident to enjoy success at Easkey, the final stop of the Irish Championships Tour.

Nicole Morgan from Tullaghan came tops in the women's event, retaining her Irish championship title. And although missing out on the national title, Emmet O’Doherty from Bundoran won out in the stand up paddle.

Junior talent Iarom Madden Travers from Bundoran also showed skill in the open finals, coming third behind Aaron Reid from Sligo and first place Fergal Smith from Mayo.

Published in Surfing
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