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Displaying items by tag: Surfing

#Surfing - A Portrush surf school will continue its links with a programme encouraging social inclusion for people with autism thanks to a funding award from Sport Northern Ireland.

As the Coleraine Times reports, the £3,750 (€4,536) award goes to Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland, whose partnership with Autism Initiatives NI led the latter to establish ties with the Alive Surf School, recently voted 'Best Family Activity Provider' in the OutdoorNI Awards.

That connection resulted in the North's first surfing summer club specifically for people on the autism spectrum, coming after the similar Surf2heal programme in the Republic that uses surfing as powerful therapy for autistic children.

And the new NI programme is set to continue this summer thanks to the latest funding, which has allowed for the purchase of two custom-built tandem surfboards.

The Coleraine Times has more on the story HERE.

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#Surfing - Champion Irish surfer Craig Butler was forced to cut a recent African waveriding trip short after falling victim to a spider bite.

As the Irish Independent reports, 20-year-old Butler received a bite from a false widow spider that left him dizzy and nauseated within a matter of hours.

Though not normally fatal, bites from these venomous arachnids - which are increasingly common in our more northern climes - can become infected and lead to serious complications.

That's the case with Butler, who returned to Ireland with a hugely swollen foot that prompted his concerned GP to refer him immediately to hospital.

As of yesterday morning, the multi-time Irish surfing champion from Tramore had been on a trolley at Waterford Regional Hospital for some hours awaiting a bed - and his appointment under the surgeon's knife.

It's not the first time he's dealt with a serious infection, after skipping treatment for a leg wound while surfing in France two years ago.

The Irish Independent has more on the story HERE.

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#Surfing - Two popular surfing spots on Northern Ireland's north coast have been selected as the best for kids by OutdoorNI.

According to the Coleraine Times, Alive Surf School in Portrush has been named 'Best Family Activity Provider' in the latest OutdoorNI Awards, receiving a third of all votes from Facebook users throughout December.

It marks the third year in a row that the Co Derry surf school has received the accolade, and was described by Alive Surf School owner Ricky Martin as a "fantastic achievement".

Meanwhile, the Londonderry Sentinel reports that the Long Line Surf School, just west along the coast in Benone, was named 'Best Coastal Experience' for its 'Kids Big Day Out' service.

As owner Dan Lavery explains, the day-long experience on Fridays during school holidays incorporates education with fun games and shore-based exercises, and "is all about encouraging young ones to experience surfing as a lifestyle rather than just a sport."

In other NI surfing news, the Causeway Coast Surf Club in Portrush is coming off the back of its most competitive year yet, says the News Letter.

Five national titles, and a haul of 16 medals - many in the relatively new discipline of Stand Up Paddleboard - marked the end of a "tremendous" year for the club, said chair Gerald McAuley.

"It says much for the quality of surfing here in Portrush and Northern Ireland," he added. "We hope this continues in 2014."

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#Surfing - Mullaghmore regular Andrew Cotton is waiting to hear if he has snagged the world record for surfing the biggest wave in recorded history.

As the video above shows, Devon surfer Cotty was simply dwarfed by the giant swell off Nazare in Portugal on Sunday 2 February, in the same location where friend and rival Garrett McNamara clinched the world record in November 2011.

Just a month ago Cotty was tackling 50-foot waves off the Sligo coast - and as Surfer Today reports, he's now claiming "victory at sea" after surfing what the UK media is calling an 80-foot monster wave.

But we'll still have to wait and see if the record is made official.

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#Surfing - Just weeks after the 'black swell' that brought surfers in their hundreds to the West of Ireland's top surfing spots, Surfer Today reports that its sequel storm system is in the making over the Atlantic.

Taking a more direct route than the devastating Winter Storm Hercules (or Christine as it was better known here in Ireland), the new weather system known as Storm Brigid is "on a steady eastern track" towards Europe.

And the respective southwest coasts of Ireland and England are expected to bear the brunt of its force, with waves of up to 40 feet predicted.

The news comes in the same week that Donegal recorded its biggest ever surf in the form of an 80-foot monster wave dubbed 'Growlers'.

However, like earlier this month, even the hardiest waveriders won't be taking their chances till the severe conditions turn down a notch!

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#Waves - TheJournal.ie has compiled some of the most breathtaking images of the exceptional waves that crashed on the coastlines of Western Europe from Ireland to Britain to France and Portugal over the past week.

The incredible swells saw surfing pros flock in their hundreds to big wave hotspots like Mullaghmore Head in Co Sligo, where regular visitor Andrew Cotton was filmed riding the monsters churned up by the recent Atlantic storms.

Published in Coastal Notes
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#Surfing - Devon surfer Andrew Cotton, a regular at Ireland's big wave hotspots, was spoilt for choice as the 'black swell' moved in on the coastlines of Western Europe earlier this week.

But as the video above shows, he plucked for the walls of water off Mullaghmore Head in Co Sligo.

And according to the Daily Telegraph, Cotty was not at all disappointed, catching waves of up to 50 feet charged by the exceptional Atlantic swell - and getting it all on camera for a documentary series on adventure sports web broadcaster EpicTV.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the stormy conditions brought surfers in their hundreds to Ireland's west coast to catch the biggest waves going.

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#Surfing - Though the recent spate of Atlantic storms have made things difficult for inshore fishermen and devastated coastal areas throughout the country, one contingent that's been welcoming the wind is the world's big wave surfing community.

As The Irish Times reports, 20-metre waves were not uncommon as the Atlantic 'black swell' that swept in with what was dubbed Storm Christine crashed on the shores of Western Europe, and attracted the cream of Ireland's and the world's surfers to the north-west.

Mullaghmore Head, which made the list of Surfer Today's best European big wave surf spots along with Aileens off the Cliffs of Moher, was producing waves on Monday morning described as "too big to tackle" by the Irish Independent.

And first to the Sligo surf was American boarder Kurt Rist, according to Surfer Today, which notes that Belharra in south-west France was another big meeting point for the pros.

The surf at Mullaghmore was even strong enough to snap the board of Irish Surfing Association chair Henry Moore, who got a bloody nose for his troubles yet still sang the praises of the conditions that "put Ireland on the big wave surfing map and that's why so many people have flown in from France, the USA, Germany, Spain and Portugal."

Visitor numbers in Ireland's top west coast surfing haunts were up thanks to the recent Atlantic swell, though at least one local hotelier was caught out as he closed up shop for a fortnight just before the big waves hit - more on that story in the Irish Independent HERE.

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#Surfing - Though the storm surges in Lahinch may be too much even for the most experience surfer to handle, big wave chasers will no doubt be champing at the bit to tackle the monsters expected to crash Europe's western shores in the coming days.

Surfing website MagicSeaweed describes the ominous swell due on Monday 6 January - appearing like a black hole on the weather map - as "a step into the unknown" as it comes as a single solid system rather than a chain of multiple cores, set to "deliver huge surf to the whole of west facing Europe and North Africa".

One of those who's surely itching to hit the surf at Mullaghmore Head in Co Sligo is photographer Christian McLeod, who tells the Irish Independent about the "huge thrill" he gets from capturing his breathtaking images from the heart of the action.

Elsewhere in Europe, Portugal is directly in the swell's path, and looks primed to provide some giant waves - possibly even to beat the record-breaking Nazare monster surfed by Irish-American waverider Garret McNamara two years ago.

Published in Surfing
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#RNLI - Kilmore Quay RNLI volunteers had a Christmas Day call-out last week when a surfer got into difficulties just before 4pm.

The man had been surfing at the Burrow Shore off the Memorial Garden to the west of the Co Wexford lifeboat station when he drifted towards the rocky end of the beach, where it would have been dangerous for him to come ashore.

Weather conditions were good at the time, with a light north-westerly breeze with an on-shore swell, good visibility and overcast sky - so the lifeboat crew had no problems responding swiftly, taking the lifeboat’s Y-boat to recover the surfer and his board. 

No medical assistance was required and the surfer and his board were landed safely back at the marina.  

The Kilmore Quay surfer was just one of hundreds who took to the wintry waters around the coast as Christmas Day saw an array of special events nationwide, from surfing in Strandhill to swimming in Sandycove.

As the Irish Independent reports, locals at Banna Beach in Co Kerry were treated to the incredible sight of 300 people running into the freezing Atlantic in a charity challenge for the local sea rescue unit.

And in Dublin, the traditional Forty Foot plunge brought out its regular contingent of hardy souls.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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Irish Coast Guard

The Irish Coast Guard is Ireland's 4th Blue Light service (along with An Garda Síochána, the Ambulance Service and the Fire Service). It provides a nationwide maritime emergency organisation as well as a variety of services to shipping and other government agencies.

The purpose of the Irish Coast Guard is to promote safety and security standards, and by doing so, prevent as far as possible, the loss of life at sea, and on inland waters, mountains and caves, and to provide effective emergency response services and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The Irish Coast Guard has responsibility for Ireland's system of marine communications, surveillance and emergency management in Ireland's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and certain inland waterways.

It is responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue and counter-pollution and ship casualty operations. It also has responsibility for vessel traffic monitoring.

Operations in respect of maritime security, illegal drug trafficking, illegal migration and fisheries enforcement are co-ordinated by other bodies within the Irish Government.

Introduction

On average, each year, the Irish Coast Guard is expected to:

  • handle 3,000 marine emergencies
  • assist 4,500 people and save about 200 lives
  • task Coast Guard helicopters on missions around 2000 times (40 times to assist mountain rescues and 200 times to carry out aeromedical HEMS missions on behalf of the HSE), Coast Guard volunteer units will respond 1000 times and RNLI and community lifeboats will be tasked by our Coordination Centres about 950 times
  • evacuate medical patients off our Islands to hospital on 100 occasions
  • assist other nations' Coast Guards about 200 times
  • make around 6,000 maritime safety broadcasts to shipping, fishing and leisure craft users
  • carry out a safety on the water campaign that targets primary schools and leisure craft users, including at sea and beach patrols
  • investigate approximately 50 maritime pollution reports

The Coast Guard has been around in some form in Ireland since 1908.

List of Coast Guard Units in Ireland

  • Achill, Co. Mayo
  • Ardmore, Co. Waterford
  • Arklow, Co. Wicklow
  • Ballybunion, Co. Kerry
  • Ballycotton, Co. Cork
  • Ballyglass, Co. Mayo
  • Bonmahon, Co. Waterford
  • Bunbeg, Co. Donegal
  • Carnsore, Co. Wexford
  • Castlefreake, Co. Cork
  • Castletownbere, Co. Cork
  • Cleggan, Co. Galway
  • Clogherhead, Co. Louth
  • Costelloe Bay, Co. Galway
  • Courtown, Co. Wexford
  • Crosshaven, Co. Cork
  • Curracloe, Co. Wexford
  • Dingle, Co. Kerry
  • Doolin, Co. Clare
  • Drogheda, Co. Louth
  • Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
  • Fethard, Co. Wexford
  • Glandore, Co. Cork
  • Glenderry, Co. Kerry
  • Goleen, Co. Cork
  • Greencastle, Co. Donegal
  • Greenore, Co. Louth
  • Greystones, Co. Wicklow
  • Guileen, Co. Cork
  • Howth, Co. Dublin
  • Kilkee, Co. Clare
  • Killala, Co. Mayo
  • Killybegs, Co. Donegal
  • Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford
  • Knightstown, Co. Kerry
  • Mulroy, Co. Donegal
  • North Aran, Co. Galway
  • Old Head Of Kinsale, Co. Cork
  • Oysterhaven, Co. Cork
  • Rosslare, Co. Wexford
  • Seven Heads, Co. Cork
  • Skerries, Co. Dublin
  • Summercove, Co. Cork
  • Toe Head, Co. Cork
  • Tory Island, Co. Donegal
  • Tramore, Co. Waterford
  • Waterville, Co. Kerry
  • Westport, Co. Mayo
  • Wicklow
  • Youghal, Co. Cork

The roles of the Irish Coast Guard

The main roles of the Irish Coast Guard are to rescue people from danger at sea or on land, to organise immediate medical transport and to assist boats and ships within the country's jurisdiction.

Each year the Irish Coast Guard co-ordinates the response to thousands of incidents at sea and on the cliffs and beaches of Ireland. It does this through its Marine Rescue Centres which are currently based in:

  • Dublin
  • Malin Head (Co Donegal)
  • Valentia Island (Co Kerry).

Each centre is responsible for search and rescue operations.

The Dublin National Maritime Operations Centre (NMOC) provides marine search and rescue response services and co-ordinates the response to marine casualty incidents within the Irish Pollution Responsibility Zone/EEZ.

The Marine Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) Valentia and MRSC Malin Head are 24/7 centres co-ordinating search and rescue response in their areas of responsibility.

The Marine Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) Valentia is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Ballycotton and Clifden.

MRSC Malin Head is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Clifden and Lough Foyle.

MRCC Dublin is the contact point for routine operational matters in the area between Carlingford Lough and Ballycotton.

Each MRCC/MRSC broadcasts maritime safety information on VHF and, in some cases, MF radio in accordance with published schedules.

Maritime safety information that is broadcast by the three Marine Rescue Sub-centres includes:

  • navigational warnings as issued by the UK Hydrographic Office
  • gale warnings, shipping forecasts, local inshore forecasts, strong wind warnings and small craft warnings as issued by the Irish Meteorological Office.

Coast Guard helicopters

The Irish Coast Guard has contracted five medium-lift Sikorsky Search and Rescue helicopters deployed at bases in Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo.

The helicopters are designated wheels up from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours and 45 minutes at night. One aircraft is fitted and its crew trained for under slung cargo operations up to 3000kgs and is available on short notice based at Waterford.

These aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains of Ireland (32 counties).

They can also be used for assistance in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and aerial surveillance during daylight hours, lifting and passenger operations and other operations as authorised by the Coast Guard within appropriate regulations.

The Coast Guard can contract specialised aerial surveillance or dispersant spraying aircraft at short notice internationally.

Helicopter tasks include:

  • the location of marine and aviation incident survivors by homing onto aviation and marine radio distress transmissions, by guidance from other agencies, and by visual, electronic and electro-optical search
  • the evacuation of survivors from the sea, and medical evacuees from all manner of vessels including high-sided passenger and cargo vessels and from the islands
  • the evacuation of personnel from ships facing potential disaster
  • search and or rescue in mountainous areas, caves, rivers, lakes and waterways
  • the transport of offshore fire-fighters (MFRTs) or ambulance teams (MARTs) and their equipment following a request for assistance
  • the provision of safety cover for other search and rescue units including other Marine Emergency Service helicopters
  • pollution, casualty and salvage inspections and surveillance and the transport of associated personnel and equipment
  • inter-agency training in all relevant aspects of the primary role
  • onshore emergency medical service, including evacuation and air ambulance tasks
  • relief of the islands and of areas suffering from flooding or deep snow

The secondary roles of the helicopter are:

  • the exercise of the primary search, rescue and evacuation roles in adjacent search and rescue regions
  • assistance to onshore emergency services, such as in the evacuation of high-rise buildings
  • public safety awareness displays and demonstrations
  • providing helicopter expertise for seminars and training courses

The Irish Coast Guard provides aeronautical assets for search and rescue in the mountains of Ireland. Requests for Irish Coast Guard assets are made to the Marine Rescue Centres.

Requests are accepted from An Garda Síochána and nominated persons in Mountain Rescue Teams.

Information courtesy of Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (July 2019)

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