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Displaying items by tag: Surfing

#Surfing - The members of Westlife are well known for hailing from the 'Land of Heart's Desire' – Co Sligo. But did you know one of the group, Kian Egan, is a keen surfer?

It should make sense, when you think about it, with Mullaghmore Head attracting the world's top big wave surfers for many years now, and Strandhill producing world-class waveriders and bodyboarders.

And thanks to this travelogue in The Irish Times by Seamus McGoldrick, we can learn a lot more about the Westlife singer's passion for the waves on a surfing trip to the Canary Islands organised by childhood friend Allan Mulrooney.

However, if bumming around Fuertaventura in search of the most primo surf doesn't sound like your kind of holiday, perhaps a trip combining surfing with yoga might do the trick.

In the Irish Independent, Justine Carberry writes on her laidback getaway to a small fishing village in Morocco called Taghazout, where Irish couple Michelle and Michael Moroney run a yoga retreat adjacent to some of the best surfing the North African country has to offer.

Carberry's week-long stay also took in the attractions Morocco is perhaps best known for, such as the bustling medina markets and fragrant, vibrant cuisine.

But if you can't find the time to get that far away, the Moroneys also run yoga and surfing retreats in Ireland - with the latest taking place near the Cliffs of Moher, as The Irish Times reports.

Published in Surfing
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#WaterSafety - The RNLI is encouraging primary schools in Northern Ireland to sign up for two of its beach safety education programmes when they get under way next month.

Running from March to June, Meet the Lifeguards and Hit the Surf aim to educate pupils in P5-P7 on the importance of beach safety in a fun and practical way.

Meet the Lifeguards gives pupils the opportunity to participate in an informative and interactive session when RNLI lifeguards visit their school. The 45-minute presentation focuses on equipping pupils with key safety advice that they can put to use when they visit a beach with family and friends.

Pupils will learn more about the RNLI, the charity that saves lives at sea and the role of the RNLI lifeguard on the beach. They will be educated on what the different beach safety flags and signs mean; the safety of using inflatables while swimming; and how to identify natural and man-made hazards. They will also learn about body boarding and surfing safety, rip currents and how to escape them and safety information on tides and waves.  



Hit the Surf, meanwhile, offers a unique opportunity for school children to get practical lessons in lifesaving and beach safety at one of the 10 RNLI lifeguarded beaches located on the north coast and in Co Down.



The session, which lasts two-and-a-half hours, includes a theory lesson on staying safe at the beach and the role of the RNLI and its lifeguards. It's followed by practical lessons in lifesaving and surf-based skills while building pupils confidence in the sea. The pupils will also learn about local hazards and the beach environment.

RNLI lifeguard supervisor Tim Doran is encouraging schools to get involved. "Education and prevention are an important part of the RNLI’s work and programmes such as Meet the Lifeguards and Hit the Surf enable us as lifeguards to deliver important beach safety advice in a way that is both informative and engaging," he says.

"We hope that pupils can then take what they learn, share it with family and friends and use it to have fun in a safe way when they visit a beach."

Last year, RNLI lifeguards in Northern Ireland responded to 251 incidents, assisting 284 people.

"With the profile of the beaches changing after winter storms, the RNLI lifeguards were kept busy in 2014," says Doran. "With rip currents and changing landscapes, the lifeguards engaged in a large amount of preventative work, speaking to beach users and advising of the safest places to swim."

For more information on how to book your school onto an RNLI education programme, please contact 028 7087 8492 or email [email protected]

Published in Water Safety

#Surfing - The inspirational story of Easkey Britton's pioneering surfing trip to Iran is now part of a new film exploring how the sport is empowering women in the Middle East.

Two years ago, Afloat.ie reported on Britton's adventures in southern Iran, where she was filmed by French documentary maker Marion Poizeau as she took to the waves in a full-length 'hijab swimsuit' – becoming the first woman to surf in the country's waters.

Since then she's set up Waves of Freedom, with the aim of encouraging the women and youth of the remote Baluchistan region of Iran to get into surfing.

And she's been joined by Poizeau, whose new documentary Into the Sea weaves Britton's story together with those of two women her trip inspired: Iranian snowboarder Mona and diver Shalha.

Both have taken Britton's lead in introducing surfing to everyone in Iran, but especially women and girls – sharing "a belief in the power of sport to break down barriers and connect with others".

The 52-minute films is available to download or watch on demand at Vimeo.

Published in Surfing

#Surfing - "Next generation" surfboards are the stock-in-trade of Portrush brothers Chris and Ricky Martin, whose Skunk Works business gets The Irish Times profile treatment this week.

The brothers' company is a first for Northern Ireland, let alone its Coleraine base, but they're taking advantage of a growing thirst for surfing across the island's top surfing spots.

That's particularly strong on the North Antrim coast – home turf of big wave surfer Al Mennie – and the northwest, from Donegal to Sligo, where the biggest waves attract the best in the world.

And the Martins' revolutionary concept – a custom method of manufacturing stronger foam surfboards to withstand the rigours of the waves – is appealing far beyond the North, with the brothers fielding interest internationally from the industry's leading lights.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing

#Surfing - With surfing hotspots like the magnificent Mullaghmore bringing the cream of the world's wave-riding crop to Ireland's coasts, it should be no surprise that some enterprising individuals see opportunity in meeting the growing demand for the sport.

The Irish Independent profiles one of these entrepreneurs, Mark Mulvihill, a former freelance video editor with RTÉ who made a massive career change in setting up his own surf school in Ballybunion, Co Kerry more than a decade ago.

Back then Ireland's surfing industry, if one could call it that, was a mere fraction of what it is today.

But Mulvihill saw the potential that went past unnoticed to most, and these days works with four other surf instructors over the peak summer months training everyone from serious starters to school children and even stag and hen parties.

The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing
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#Surfing - Mullaghmore regular Andrew 'Cotty' Cotton has secured a nomination in the 2015 Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards for his monster ride on the swells that preceded Storm Rachel this week.

According to The Irish Times, Cotty skipped an appointment with his chiropractor to race from his Devon home to the Sligo coast a week ago to make the most of the strengthening surf.

Shaking off the effects of a shoulder injuring sustained while surfing at the infamous Praia do Norte in Portugal last month, he was ready to take advantage on Monday.

That's when the waves reached their peak in the midst of an "exceptional" five days of surf to match or even better the Vikings storm of 2012.

And luckily for us, it was all caught on video for a new documentary on his and other big wave surfers' adventures on the edge.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing

#Surfing - An Irish surfer who went missing off the east coast of Australia last summer underestimated the dangerous conditions, an inquest has heard.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Stuart Butler was swept out to sea in a rip current while surfing with friends near Tallow Beach, south of the Gold Coast in New South Wales on 19 July. His body has not been found.

According to ABC News, neither Butler nor his friends were experienced surfers, and the survivors told the inquest that they did not appreciate the dangers till they had already paddled out.

"[Butler] was pretty panicky, had frozen up a bit... was pretty scared to be honest," said Michael Fuller, who himself was found by rescuers on rocks at the base of Cape Byron with minor injuries.

ABC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing

#Surfing - Glenn Hall is the only Irish surfing name set for competition in the 2015 World Surf League, the new name or the ASP World Tour.

Surfer Today has the full rundown of competitors, which includes such luminaries as multiple-time world champion and living legend Kelly Slater, and Irish-Australian surf pro Mick Fanning.

Australians make up the biggest proportion of entrants, with 12 Aussie surfers out of the 34-strong field set to challenge for the 2015 title.

In other surfing news, the ASP World Tour website has some breathtaking images of American big wave surfer Kurt Rist riding the tube of a massive swell that crashed over Mullaghmore Head in early November - his nomination for the 2014 XXL Big Wave Awards.

Published in Surfing
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#Coastguard - The Clare Herald reports on the happy outcome after a search for a missing surfer near Lahinch yesterday afternoon (Monday 15 December).

Members of the Irish Coast Guard's Doolin unit began combing the beaches of Lahinch after an emergency call from a concerned family member.

But the surfer was quickly locoed safe and well just south of the Co Clare town, a popular surfing hotspot even in winter.

Published in Coastguard

#Surfing - This is no computer simulation: it's a very real, very large wall of water being surfed by an actual human off Portugal this past Thursday 11 December.

With a poor wind direction putting paid to any attempts to ride big swells crashing in on Ireland's northwest with the recent 'weather bomb', the world's top big wave surfers - including a number of Mullagmore regulars like Andrew Cotton - turned their attentions to Nazaré, site of 2012's record-breaking monster.

And as Magic Seaweed reports, they weren't disappointed, with former Billabong Big Wave Tow-In champion Eric Rebiere calling Thursday's massive rampart "for sure the largest waves I've seen".

Of course, big waves of this exceptional kind are a regular occurrence at this Portuguese hot spot, as this recent photo gallery from the Guardian demonstrates.

Published in Surfing
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