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Displaying items by tag: Surfing

#DOOLIN PIER - The Irish Times reports that surfers will be at loggerheads with Clare County Council this week over controversial plans to redevelop Doolin Pier.

The €8 million plans for the Clare coastal village have been delayed for some time, and have already cost the council more than €250,000.

As previously reported on, the development was backed unanimously by Clare councillors in March 2011 after revisions made following concerns from local surfers about its impact on popular waves in the area.

However, the Irish Surfing Association (ISA) maintained that even that revised plan would result in the elimination of the waves at Doolin Point and Crab Island - the latter described as Ireland's answer to the Pipeline in Hawaii.

The proposed new pier would serve the 70,000 passengers that use the ferry service between Doolin and the Aran Islands. The development is also supported by the Doolin unit of the Irish Coast Guard, which hopes to get a new coastguard station as part of development plans for the area.

Published in Coastal Notes

#SURFING - Surfing website MagicSeaweed captured French surf pro Justine Dupont in top form at Aileens off the West of Ireland on Sunday 21 October.

The 21-year-old paddled out to the secret big wave surfing spot with 2011 Billabong XXL Biggest Wave Award winner Benjamin Sanchis, where they promptly broke their boards caught in the biggest barrels of the day.

Turning their attentions instead to the "infamous cold water right-hander", Dupont was towed into a stunning 12-foot tunnel of water - as the video above shows.

"It was more than a session, it was a mission," said Dupont. "From getting smashed paddling out to surfing that perfect beautiful wave, it was a day I’ll never forget."

MagicSeaweed has photos and video of Dupont's Aileens adventure HERE.

Published in Surfing

#SURFING - WorldIrish brings us another gem of a video as surf pros take on the challenging waves off the west coast of Ireland.

It's just the latest praise for the Emerald Isle as a world-class surfing destination.

Published in Surfing

#SURFING - Top press photographer Charles McQuillan recently travelled to Northern Ireland to capture big wave surfing pro Al Mennie in training for the winter season, as The Irish Times reports.

McQuillan set out to document every aspect of Mennie's surfing life on the north Antrim coast, from the pre-dawn starts and protein-heavy breakfasts to the gruelling solo training sessions and the thrill of the surf itself.

And he made sure to get up close and personal with his subject, using waterproofing equipment to photograph him underwater - and even following him on a jet-ski to the secret offshore surfing spots known only to Mennie and his fellow big wavers.

The snapper described the surfer as "incredibly at home" in the water. Not surprising for a man used to taking on the enormous Finn McCool swells off the Giant's Causeway, or paddling across the North Channel for charity as he did this past spring (see more pics of Mennie surfing HERE).

As Mennie tells the Belfast Telegraph, he has the good fortune to be able to ride “the biggest, scariest waves on the planet” in his own backyard.

It comes at a price - Mennie must be in peak physical condition at all times, as one never knows when the big one might come - but it's a price he's more than willing to pay, with his body and his mind.

“Big-wave surfing is at least 80 per cent to do with your mind, and the physical aspect boosts the mental side," he tells The Irish Times. "I don’t feel 100 per cent in myself unless I’m training properly.”

Meanwhile, The Irish Times also highlights the best places to get your wetsuit on and go surfing in Ireland during the increasingly popular winter season, with schools in the hotspots of Lahinch in Co Clare - the focus of a new book by journalist Keith Duggan - and Bundoran, Co Donegal upgrading to meet the demand.

And even if its waves aren't up to scratch, the east coast still is getting some of the action, with stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) becoming the latest way to ease into the sport.

Published in Surfing

#SURFING - A documentary charting Easkey Britton's history-making surfing trip to Iran will premiere on French TV later this month, according to The Irish Times.

The hour-long film was shot by French filmmaker Marion Poizeau during the Donegal surf champion's visit in September last year to Chabahar, a coastal town in southern Iran on the Pakistan border.

Britton - of the northwest surfing dynasty - became the first woman ever to surf in Iran when she donned a full-length 'hijab swimsuit' and took to the waves in near 40 degree temperatures - attracting much attention from the locals.

“Iran is not known as a surf destination," she says, "but experiencing a country through surf gives you a different perspective. It was a leap into the unknown, but I thought I’d give it a go.”

Britton is now hoping to encourage more women and girls in the Middle East to take up surfing, noting its growing popularity in the Gaza Strip.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing

#SURFING - Ireland can no longer claim to be the surfing world's best kept secret, as the Irish Examiner reports, as thousands of waveriders of all skill levels now flock annually to the west and northwest coasts to sample the swell.

Indeed, Ireland is arguably the hottest place to be for surfing right now, and RTÉ Travel rounds up the best spots to hit the water around the coast - including some that might surprise you.

Bundoran is this country's surfing mecca, and for good reason. Recently making National Geographic's list of the world's top 20 surfing towns, the Co Donegal surf capital has spots for everyone from experts to beginners, and boasts a choice of 10 surf schools affiliated with the Irish Surfing Association.

Further down the coast is Sligo, renowned among the surfing elite for the giant rollers off Mullaghmore Head but also a great place for learners, especially at Strandhill and Enniscrone - although "big waves, clean waters and great surfing" are to be found anywhere along the coastline.

Mayo continues the trend, with Bertra in Clew Bay and Keel Strand in Achill standing out, while Clare is home to the famed waves at Lahinch - home turf for big wave surfer Ollie O'Flaherty.

Further along, Kerry and West Cork can boast of a number of top-class surfing destinations, including some stretches just perfect for absolute beginners.

But it doesn't end there, as even the southeast and east coasts can hold their own - as Tramore in Co Waterford and Brittas Bay in Co Wicklow can attest.

Published in Surfing

#SURFING - Surfers all over Ireland have been urged to come and try to take bragging rights away from North West at the Bundoran Board Riders Irish Championships Tour event this weekend 29-30 September at Tullan Strand or the Peak, depending on surfing conditions.

The event is the last scheduled on the 2012 Irish Championships Tour and eight Irish champions will be crowned, including Open Surf, Women's Surf, Open Bodyboard, Women's Bodyboard, Longboard, Master, Senior and Stand-Up Paddle (SUP).

The weekend will also include a Women's Longboard event, and the Junior Interclub Championships that were postponed earlier this year.

Other awards include the Shield, which will go to the highest scoring surf club (based on five individual placings from each club), as well as competition in the U18 Boys and U18 Girls divisions.

Surfers who want to compete can pre-register by posting cheque or postal order to the treasurer of Bundoran Board Riders, Dr Philip Murphy, Tullan Strand Road, Bundoran, Co. Donegal to arrive by Thursday 27 September, or register on the day at 8.30am sharp. No late entries accepted!

The entry fee is €10 for the first event and €5 for additional events. All entrants must present a 2012 Irish Surfing Association (ISA) membership card at registration. Tour categories are open to Irish citizens or British citizens born in Northern Ireland (proof of citizenship may be requested).

Keep updated on the Facebook event page HERE.

Published in Surfing

#SURFING - Surfer and photographer Rob Gilley talks up the "cooler horizons" of surfing in Ireland for Surfer Magazine.

Responding to another surfer's arrogance in wondering why anyone would want to travel to surf in cold water when there are so many warmer spots in the world, Gilley goes on to outline his own preference for more frigid climes.

"On those particular trips I had discovered a longer lasting, deeper satisfaction," he writes. "A more profound stoke."

The theory behind his reasoning? "It's harder to feel euphoric when you're sweaty."

If that doesn't convince you, he posits the scenario of a "perfect, draining" afternoon's surfing in Ireland, then getting into a warm car and stopping at a pub "by a roaring fire" with a creamy Guinness into an empty stomach. "Case dismissed."

Surfer Magazine has more on the story, including Gilley's photos, HERE.

Published in Surfing

#SURFING - The Irish Junior Surf Team finished sixth overall at the 2012 European Junior Surfing Championship in France at the weekend.

Among the 19-strong team competing in the week-long contest at Lacanau-Océan was Meadb McCloskey, who scored Ireland's highest individual ranking - placing fifth in the U18 Girls Bodyboard.

France came tops in a strong field to claim overall first place at Sunday's grand final, followed by Spain and Portugal.

As Surfer Today reports, 'Les Bleus' dominated across the divisions, taking every title except the U18 Boys and U18 Girls Bodyboard, won by Spain and Germany respectively.

Published in Surfing

#SURFING - Landlocked Laois may not be the known for its surfing prowess, but the Midlands county's waveriders have a busy winter season ahead of them, as the Leinster Express reports.

Laois Surf Club members regularly frequent the popular surfing spots of Ireland's west coast, and this autumn and winter is no exception.

First up was last weekend's Lahinch Longboard Contest organised by the West Coast Surf Club, to be followed by the annual inter-counties competition in Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal on 13-14 October.

“Being landlocked in Laois is a disadvantage but not a deterrent for those of us who enjoy and love surfing, it’s such good fun, healthy and you always feel great after a two-hour stint in the water,” said club chairman Steve Kidd.

The Leinster Express has more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing
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