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More than 20 of Ireland's and Europe's top surfers took on the monster waves at Sligo’s Mullaghmore Head at the weekend in Ireland's first ever 'big wave' surf contest.
The Tow-in Surf Session was organised by the Irish Surf Rescue Club in part to dispel the myth that tow-in surfing - where surfers are towed by jetski to bigger offshore waves - is an irresponsible activity.
Club president Paul O’Kane told The Irish Times: “Our surf riders and personal watercraft operators are all very safety conscious, highly trained, and contests like this can help to further develop skill sets.”
Eric Ribiere and Benjamin Sanchis from France took top place in the open category in a contest that rewarded skill and commitment on the biggest waves. Peter Conroy and Gyln Ovens came first in the Irish division, follwed closely by Al Mennie and Andrew Cotton.
Awards went to professional boarder Gabe Davies for best wave, Al Mennie for best barrel and Richie Fitzgerald for heaviest wipeout.
Easkey Britton also held her own as the only female competitor, catching a solid 20-foot wave.

More than 20 of Ireland's and Europe's top surfers took on the monster waves at Sligo’s Mullaghmore Head at the weekend in Ireland's first ever 'big wave' surf contest.

The Tow-in Surf Session was organised by the Irish Surf Rescue Club in part to dispel the myth that tow-in surfing - where surfers are towed by jetski to bigger offshore waves - is an irresponsible activity.

Club president Paul O’Kane told The Irish Times: “Our surf riders and personal watercraft operators are all very safety conscious, highly trained, and contests like this can help to further develop skill sets.”

Eric Ribiere and Benjamin Sanchis from France took top place in the open category in a contest that rewarded skill and commitment on the biggest waves. Peter Conroy and Gyln Ovens came first in the Irish division, follwed closely by Al Mennie and Andrew Cotton.

Awards went to professional boarder Gabe Davies for best wave, Al Mennie for best barrel and Richie Fitzgerald for heaviest wipeout.

Easkey Britton also held her own as the only female competitor on the day, catching a solid 20-foot wave.

Click HERE for more video of the contest's big wave surfing action.

Published in Surfing

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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