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Displaying items by tag: Surfing

#SURFING - Benone Beach in Limavady hosted Northern Ireland's first ever disabled surfing festival last weekend, as the Londonderry Sentinel reports.

More than 30 people with disabilities aged from 8 to 25 came together for the Long Line Disabled Surf Festival on Ireland's longest beach, many trying out surfing for the first time.

Wheelchair users were specially catered for with the use of "innovative" customised surfboards - similar to the kind being designed by the NI kitesurfing rookie highlighted on last November.

Dan Lavery of the Long Line Surf School, which organised the event, said: "This festival was created to give everyone the experience of surfing.

"We want the child or young person with the disability to take the driver’s seat but we also wanted it to be one of those rare events where the whole family is allowed as parents, guardians and siblings jumped in the water as well.”

The Sentinel has more on the story HERE.

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#SURFING - Credit goes to WorldIrish for a great find in this video featuring Canadian surfing pros Noah Cohen and Nico Manos on a recent trip to Ireland to sample our world-class waves.

The duo captured footage of their wave-riding escapades in the top surfing destination of Bundoran in Co Donegal, which hosted last year's Eurosurf championships.

Published in Surfing
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#SURFING - Ireland might be growing in reputation as a world surfing capital, but the vast majority of Irish teenagers have never ridden a wave. However, a new reality show for RTÉ aims to tackle that notion head-on by answering the question: can surf pros be made of these landlubbers?

Shooting begins next month on Big Wave Bootcamp, a new reality TV series following eight Irish teenagers given just three weeks to become expert surfers under the instruction of American surfing professional Ken Bradshaw.

As IFTN reports, British production company Rival Media is making the series of eight 30-minute episodes for RTÉ, with filming in Ireland getting underway in early June before the crew moves to Hawaii.

The producers were previously responsible for Mission Beach USA, which for the last two years has followed Irish teens training as lifeguards on a Florida beach.

IFTN has more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing

#SURFING - It's official - an Irish-American surf pro did indeed ride the world's biggest wave, and will have his name in the Guinness Book of Records to prove it.

Record-keepers have confirmed that a 78-foot monster wave caught by Garrett McNamara off Portugal last November is the biggest ever surfed, according to BBC News.

As previously reported on, the offshore area at Praia do Norte, off Nazaré, is noted for its deepwater canyon that channels massive swells from the Atlantic.

The tow-in surf also earned McNamara the Biggest Wave title at the 2012 Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards, the winners of which were announced this week.

Devon surfer Andrew 'Cotty' Cotton earned half a share of McNamara's $15,000 prize money as the one who towed him by personal watercraft into the massive swell.

"I feel so stoked for him, it was an amazing achievement," said Cotty, a fellow nominee for the Biggest Wave award - along with Ireland's Ollie O'Flaherty - for his efforts off Mullaghmore Head in March this year.

"Everything was perfect, the weather, the waves," said Northern Irish surfer Al Mennie, who was tow-in surfing with McNamara and Cotty when the giant swell arose at Praia do Norte.

“As I rode this wave, it seemed pretty massive, but I couldn’t tell quite how big it was,” McNamara told surf forecast site Surfline at the time. 

“When I got to the bottom and turned and got around the wave and went to kick out, it landed on me and it felt like a ton of bricks. 

"Probably one of the most powerful waves ever to land on me at the shoulder," he added. "It was pretty amazing.”

Published in Surfing

#SURFING - Surfing is Ireland's new national pastime, if the Irish Independent is anything to go by.

The paper's Amanda Phelan travelled to Lahinch - home of 'biggest wave' award hopeful Ollie O'Flaherty - to investigate the boom in surf lessons to young people on the west coast, "one of the new growing business in this region", and meet some of those involved in helping newbies get their feet wet.

"Hundreds of youngsters, some of them locals and others on holiday, line up in Clare to learn surfing, a sport that requires skill, a calm temperament, good leg strength and a lot of courage," she writes.

And courage is something these kids are definitely not lacking, especially with Ireland's famously freezing waters!

The Irish Independent has much more on the story HERE.

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#SURFING - Ireland's surfing scene is on the crest of a big wave, according to BBC News in its profile of Mullaghmore Head rider Ollie O'Flaherty ahead of the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards.

As previously reported on, Lahinch native O'Flaherty and Devon surfer Andrew Cotton are both nominated for the $50,000 biggest wave prize, to be announced in Anaheim, California on 20 May.

Both surfers raised the bar with their tow-in efforts among the giant swells off Mullaghmore in Co Sligo, defying the dangers involved.

Even so, O'Flaherty is lucky not to be nominated for the less auspicious 'wipeout of the year'.

"I've definitely had one or two pretty big scares," he said. "Last October I got wiped out and was stuck at the bottom of one wave and I got picked up, hit and dragged over the reef three times."

But the Clare wave rider insists: "The thrill outweighs the consequence for me."

BBC News has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing

#SURFING - Discover Ireland guest blogger Mark Folens jumps right into the deep end as he explores one of the many options for those learning to surf in Ireland.

Despite describing himself as "not really the beaches type", Folens braved the beaches of Bundoran at dawn with a group of fellow novices for his first lesson.

"To stand on a surfboard you must lie on your chest and push yourself up with your arms while tucking your legs in beneath you," he writes.

"This might sound easy but if you have the arms of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and upper-body strength of an eight-year-old girl like me, it’s a bit of a challenge."

And that was on the relative ease of dry land - it would be a different story once Folens took to the water!

The Discover Ireland blog has more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing

#SURFING - A new short film tells the story of "one epic day of huge surf" at Mullaghmore Head, as Surfer Today reports.

The Northcore film 'Fathoms Left to Fall' follows some of the world's top big wave surfers as they converged on Co Sligo to take advantage of the swell, prompted by the extreme weather system known as the 'Viking storm'.

Among the Irish riders featured is 24-year-old Ollie O'Flaherty, who has been nominated for the 'biggest wave' prize in the 2012 Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards for his monster ride at Mullaghmore.

Also nominated for his outstanding effort at the Sligo surf mecca is Andrew Cotton, a Devon native who's no stranger to Ireland's big rollers.

Published in Surfing

#SURFING - A young surfer from Lahinch in Co Clare is in the running for the 'biggest wave' prize in the 2012 Billabong XXL contest for his monster ride at Mullaghmore Head, The Irish Times reports.

Ollie O'Flaherty, 24, is nominated along with Devon's Andrew Cotton for the massive surf they caught off Co Sligo on 8 March last.

It was the first visit to the world-class big wave spot by O'Flaherty, a science student at NUI Galway who is a veteran of the Co Clare scene.

As previously reported on, it was Cotton who tackled the biggest wave on that day - a giant 50-footer - as some of the world's top surfers took advantage of the Viking swell.

Also nominated for the $50,000 (€38,280) prize is Irish-American surfer Garrett McNamara, who last year rode what is being called the biggest wave ever surfed in the world, a 90-foot goliath off Nazaré in Portugal.

According to the Irish Independent, O'Flaherty has put out a call for sponsorship so he can attend the awards ceremony next month.

"It's a massive honor to be able to represent Ireland," he said, but added that he is "pretty much on the breadline from what I'm doing".

Should he win, the Lahinch native said he intends to "put every cent back into surfing" and replace his seven broken boards.

The winners will be announced at the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards in Anaheim, California on 4 May.

Published in Surfing

#SURFING - Irish surf classifieds website has compiled some stunning images from March's world-class surfing conditions.

From the biggest rollers in years off Mullaghmore Head in Co Sligo to the Cliffs of Moher and even as far south as Kerry, Ireland has seen some of its best surf in a long time - and things are certainly looking up for an exciting summer on the waves.

Published in Surfing
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