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Tow-in surfers get proper training

22nd April 2008

Ireland's big-wave surfers took another step towards safety last week with a full course in jet-ski rescue.

The course, the first of its kind in this country, put Irish surfers through their paces when trying to launch and rescue surfers and troubled watercraft in big swell using powerful jet-skis.

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Big wave surfing in Ireland hit the headlines last December, when Irish surfers rode waves in excess of 40 feet off Mullaghmore in Co Sligo - the biggest ever ridden in the UK and Ireland. Other surfers had pioneered the discipline in Ireland years back, riding a wave known as Aileens off the Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare.

The December sessions put Ireland firmly on the big-wave surfers' map, so boardriders worldwide are likely to be watching any developing swell coming our way from now on in the hope of catching some of Europe's biggest surf.

Glyn Ovens, the instructor who provided the course, held in Co Clare, has also trained US Navy seals and beach lifeguards, and focuses heavily on precision driving and surf safety in the K38 surf PWC (Personal Watercraft) course.

When it comes to big surf, the difference between having a good PWC driver and one who's not entirely on the ball can be as stark as life and death, as the following video links illustrate.

This is what big wave tow-in surfing looks like when it goes right.

This, however, is how it looks when it goes wrong.

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