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Surfing documentary Between Land and Sea will have its Irish TV premiere tonight (Tuesday 20 August) at 10.15pm on RTÉ 2.

Ross Whitaker’s film chronicles ‘a year in the life of an Atlantic surf town’, namely Lahinch in Co Clare — capturing the character of a coastal spot that experiences some of Ireland’s most spectacular waves, as previously noted on Afloat.ie.

Among its subjects is Fergal Smith, a former big wave pro surfer who switched to the more sedate world of organic farming — working at the literal grassroots with the local community.

Whitaker — who since directed the acclaimed boxing documentary Katie — toured Ireland with screenings to much applause two years ago, and now the whole nation will have an opportunity to see on TV after the UEFA Champions League match, and online via the RTÉ Player.

Update Wednesday 21 August: The film is now streaming on demand at RTÉ Player until 20 September 2019.

 

Published in Surfing

O’Sullivan’s Marine have shared with us a photo of the surprise moment when a dolphin landed on the bow of one of their boats.

The sudden encounter was all the more startling as the marine mammal almost knocked a child out of the boat — but the youngster still managed to capture the cetacean on camera.

Elsewhere, BreakingNews.ie reports that a striped dolphin was found dead in a river near Lahinch despite the best efforts of local surfers after the animal live-stranded on the popular North Clare beach.

Dr Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, who also joined the rescue effort, said: “We found a striped dolphin, quite a large animal, obviously in distress. We tried to push it out again [to sea] but it was very weak.”

The IWDG chief added: “The surfers did their best and we thank them for trying but sometimes a dolphin will live strand themselves … there’s very little you can do.”

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Surfing - He’s an Irish big wave surfer who’s credited with helping discover and naming the renowned Aileen’s break, near his home in Lahinch.

But more than a decade ago, John McCarthy traded the vices of the pro surfing lifestyle for a new life serving God, as the Irish Examiner reports.

Today, McCarthy is more easily found preaching the word of the Good Book at North Clare Community Church in Lahinch, which he co-founded and where he is an assistant pastor.

However, the born-again Christian still makes time for his former passion on the waves — especially since he and his wife run a surf school in the Co Clare coastal town, a place where fellow surfers have turned to organic farming as a way to seek peace in their lives.

And a new radio documentary, broadcasting tomorrow morning (Sunday 19 November) at 8am on Newstalk 106-108fm, follows McCarthy as he returns to the wave he named before he set on his new journey. The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing
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#Surfing - Surfing farmers in Co Clare are hoping to raise €300,000 to expand their organic vegetable farm, as the Irish Examiner reports.

Afloat.ie previously highlighted the Moy Hill Community Garden started by Lahinch surfer Fergal Smith and fellow wave-riders Matt Smith and Mitch Corbett.

Now the big-wave surfers turned seed-sowers and field-diggers have launched a crowdfunding campaign to purchase 60 acres of land to expand their farm, which already grows enough to feed 50 families in the area.

The expansion aims to triple that number, as well as enable the planting of 30,000 native trees — with future plans including a ‘forest school’ for people “seeking balance and peace in their lives”, says Smith.

Thirty-six days remain in the fundraising campaign, with further details available HERE.

Published in Surfing
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#Surfing - Between Land and Sea is a new documentary on the surfing culture of Lahinch that’s currently touring with screenings around Ireland, as TheJournal.ie reports.

Chronicling ‘a year in the life of an Atlantic surf town’, Ross Whitaker’s film set out to capture the characters of the Co Clare coastal spot that’s become a gateway to some of Ireland’s most spectacular waves.

Big wave surfing isn’t just a sport for its top names — it’s a lifestyle. And the film gets to know a number of those who have made it their life’s work to get in harmony with their environment.

Among them are Ollie O’Flaherty, a regular at the Riley’s break at Lahinch as well as Aileen’s under the Cliffs of Moher, and Fergal Smith, the subject of two other recent films on the organic farming collective he’s helped establish for himself and fellow wave chasers.

Smith also features in Common Ground, a new film from Finisterre in which the surf clothing brand’s ambassadors — including women’s surfing pioneer Easkey Britton — met to share their challenges and achievements thanks to the power of the waves, as Huck reports.

Another recent surfing video from Red Bull shows what happened when Barry Mottershead invited American surfers Cody Thompson, Justin Quintal and Nate Zoller to taste the waves of the Wild Atlantic Way.

Published in Surfing
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#CliffFall - Independent.ie reports that a 23-year-old man was airlifted to hospital after falling 40ft into the sea from a cliff near Lahinch early this morning (Sunday 5 June).

Shannon's Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 115 launched to the scene after the Doolin coastguard unit had difficulty recovering the man from the sea.

It's understood that the casualty was with friends at the cliff top around 5am when he fell and lost consciousness in the water.

Published in Rescue
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#Surfing - American surfing pro Jamie O'Brien sings the praises of Clare's big waves as part of his latest web series on chasing the world's best surf.

Speaking with entertainment.ie ahead of the fifth season of his RedBull.tv show Who is JOB, O'Brien hailed the "world class" waves at Lahinch, despite the cold and the unpredictable weather this spring is bringing us.

But O'Brien – a pioneer of the concept of 'freesurfing' – was equally impressed with the "hardcore" dedication of local youngsters to what's still an emerging sport in Ireland.

"You gotta be hardcore to go surfing in that cold water," he said.

Another boarder who's been exploring Ireland's surfing scene is Andrew 'Cotty' Cotton, the star of his own Red Bull web series that started this month with his first stop along the Wild Atlantic Way in North Donegal.

Published in Surfing

#Surfing - Ireland's surfing scene gets another tribute in this new short film from surf-wear brand Billabong, via BreakingNews.ie.

Matching the pulsing rhythms of a trad session at Kelly's Bar with breathtaking action from the wild waves off Lahinch in Co Clare was an inspired choice for this clip, produced by the former title sponsors of the annual Big Wave Awards.

That's a contest with a local connection as Lahinch native Ollie O'Flaherty was nominated in 2012 for the massive swell he caught along with Mullaghmore regular Andrew Cotton.

This particular clip, however, features American Shane Dorian with Frenchman Benjamin Sanchis, a recent challenger for the biggest wave of all time, taking on the intimidating water walls of Aileens and Rileys.

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

#Coastguard - A man in his 70s has died after collapsing in the shallows at the popular beach at Lahinch, Co Clare yesterday afternoon.

As The Irish Times reports, the man suddenly collapsed and was quickly pulled from the water by fellow beachgoers.

Beach lifeguards reached the unconscious casualty within a minute and used a defibrillator to try to revive him, while the Doolin unit of the Irish Coast Guard and paramedics from Ennistymon and Ennis raced to the scene.

Despite best efforts, however, he was pronounced dead at the scene of a suspected heart attack.

Published in Coastguard
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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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