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Irish Surfer wins Fair Play award

22nd April 2010
Irish Surfer wins Fair Play award
An Irish surfer has been given a fair play award for sharing his only board with a competitor whose baggage did not arrive at the World Surfing Games. John 'Long John' McCurry, a longboarder from Portrush, is the first surfer to win such an award.

The International Fair Play Committee, (Comité International pour le Fair Play, CIFP), has awarded Irish Surf Team member and Portrush local John McCurry an International Fair Play Diploma for excellence in sportsmanship.

The CIFP which is a not for profit international non-governmental organisation, exists to foster sportsmanship in international competition, presents awards annually at the World Fair Play Awards to recognise acts of fair play carried out by sportspeople or teams.

This is first such recognition given to any surfer in the world and the highest such award given to any Irish sportsperson.

25 year old John, a three-time Irish National Champion, who has competed in surfing for Ireland at many European and World contests said, “I am overwhelmed by receiving this Diploma. Its fantastic to see surfing recognised in this way”.

It was John’s actions during heats at the Billabong ISA World Surfing Games held in Costa Rica in August 2009, which earned him the international fair play recognition.

Having arrived in Costa Rica early to practice for the Games John snapped two of his contest boards, one of which was repaired just in time for the start of the event.

Meanwhile, one of John’s main rivals, top British competitor Ben Skinner arrived just the day before the start of the contest without his surf boards, due to a baggage handling error at the airport. Ben who had flown in last minute for the Games had been competing on the World Longboard Surfing Tour.

As the two surfers “ride” the same type of surfboard, John offered to share his board with Ben for the first day of competition. Both surfers made it through their first 4 heats and into the next stage of the contest. This selfless act of sportsmanship had never before been seen in the world of competitive surfing.

Ben’s own boards arrived that evening, allowing him to continue the remainder of the contest with his own equipment. In fact he went on to win the bronze medal. John, who made it through to the fourth round of the contest, said afterwards, “what else could I do but lend him my board, Ben’s a friend as well as a rival. It was great to see him make the final and take third place. Next time I hope it’s me”.

Published in News Update
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