Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Freestyling in 1.5 degrees

Got my hands on a new GoPro HD the other day, and couldn't resist going to test it out straight away. It was freezing, but worth it for fun to get out there... as you will see from the title, it was 1.5 degrees ! As it was a test, I edited it very quickly to see how the footage would turn out (trying iMovie for the first time too instead of Final Cut Pro), but happy with the results so far.
Ali & Paul both forgot their gloves, so it was a bit harsh... but still worth the pain to get out there and feel alive. Happy X-Mas !

Click on links below video to watch in HD.

1.5 degrees from Surfdock Watersports on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Who's your inspiration?

I had a decidedly average days wave-sailing today at Dollymount ( a bit too S-SE for my liking), the highlight of which was trying out my new 5.3m Firefly. I have had it a while, and also a new 5.7 & 6.1, but recently I have been sailing overpowered on 4.0 almost all of the time, so have never got the chance to try them out. I probably won't use the 5.7 or 6.1 until next spring!! All good though with the 5.3, great power, really nice and light and maneuverable.

Anyways, not really the point of my post...
While I was rigging, I met a very familiar face - Johnny Lee - who I have known for a long long time, as will most people who have sailed in Dollymount (or even Achill).
Johnny is the oldest wave-sailor in Ireland - at around 73 years of age ! He is also one of the very first original surfers in Ireland, and was one of the 'silver surfers' documented on RTE television a while back.

Johnny is now enjoying his retirement from being one of AirLingus's longest serving 747 pilots. In fact, as part of his pre-retirement package, Johnny was farmed out to fly a Pacific route between Bali (I think) and Honolulu, where he went surfing and windsurfing at either end during his down time. Nice !

At the beach today he was a bit frustrated at first, and also the last time I saw him last week, as at his age, he takes a little more time to warm up his joints before getting into the water... and it didn't help that the wind was up and down a bit.
His knee is at him... from get this - a snowboarding injury last year (at 72!!) The bit that frustrates him, is that he was just jumping off the lift, with the front boot binding attached to the board as you do, when an out of control ski-er ran into him and span his board (and leg attached) from under him, twisting and breaking his leg.

Not to be disheartened, he recovered, and kept on going with all the things he loves so much.
After a while today, Johnny was rigged and got out there today taking on pretty tricky conditions. He didn't get a great run as the wind had died a little, but he was out the back, and rode a wave or two back in, before we all called it a day in the dying wind.
Today he told me he had actually planned a weeks snowboarding this week, but the snow is not falling right yet, and he will only go when it's proper powder off-piste.

What will you be doing when you are in your 70s? I know I want to follow Johnny's fine example, so I can only wish that when I'm Johnny's age, I will still be trying to ride waves and get excited at the prospect of a decent windy session.

Over the years there have been many people who have inspired me in windsurfing, sometimes from their style, their skills, passion or attitude...

So I have to say today, Johnny is my inspiration !

I also made sure I told him.
If you see him on Dollymount and you feel the same way, don't forget to say so too!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Speedsailing! New personal best :)

Well after a full week of wave-sailing in Dollymount.. literally 7 days in a row sailing on 4.0 to 5.0m's, I spotted the forecast was looking good for today for Burrow Beach in Dublin.

I have mentioned this spot many times on the blog (mostly for freestyle), but today was the first time I finally got to do some decent speed-sailing there, and also while wearing a proper GPS for logging the speeds.

The wind was initially the ideal direction - NE about 30-35 knots, and I got there early before low tide to allow time for rigging the in the pissing rain (and 6 degrees C). JK was already there too, and we were joined by Keith Gorman. I rigged 5.6, JK went 5.9, and Keith 5.5.

The first few runs were the usual for me.. 38-39knots and wondering how to go faster... but then the wind swung more to the North as the tide dropped even further.. and finally the magic started to happen.
It's been my goal to get a chance to break that bloody 40knot barrier since getting my JP speed board, and I have not had the opportunity to get on a decent course until today. Once we got into the swing of things, the 40's just kept coming and coming. Soon enough I was dissapointed if I could not break 41, then 42, and finally got a peak over 43 knots (just). That's a new PB for me, so I am very happy!

JK (who is 40kg heavier than me) was using those tree-trunk legs to good effect and peaked over 45, with a good bunch of 43s and 44s, giving him plenty of 500m runs over 40 knots. At this stage I had borrowed Keith's weight jacket, increasing my weight from 78kg upto about 85 I think. Not sure if it made me faster, but did help me keep the sail more in control anyway, so I guess it was a help all-right. Possibly should have changed down, but it was so cold I couldn't feel my feet and couldn't be bothered walking back to the van. I tried a couple of runs without the jacket, and they were still just under 42, so guess I was just getting the hang of it.

In the end, analysing the tracks on the computer, I was happy to see about 8 runs over 40, 8 over 41, and 8 over 42, giving me a very nice average, and also a 500m of nearly 41knots.

Happy Days !

ps - thanks Keith for the lend of the mast & jacket, & Alan for the sail.

pps - getting back to the wavesailing, definitely worth mentioning that the day after the looping clinic, Ali landed her first forward loop. Nice 1 Ali !!!!!
Not to be outdone, Paul was back the next day and giving it loads more.... the race is on now to see who is the first to sail away properly !

Monday, November 23, 2009


Well the looping clinic certainly could not complain about a lack of wind on the weekend!
Apart from driving rain on Saturday morning, we couldn't have asked for more. 4.0m weather from the start, and one of the best swells I have seen in Dollymount all year.

A good bunch of 9 guys & 1 girl all signed up to break the fear barrier. I spend a lot of time at the start on pointing out the reasons that are stopping you looping, and getting rid of all the negatives.
A lot of people will tell you loads of reasons why they CAN'T loop, rather than just concentrating on one reason why the CAN... and then just focusing on that and getting on with it.
Once we had got that sorted out, it was into the water for some non-planing practice loops, or 'chicken dippers' as we like to call them. The aim of this is to learn how to program your head to keep sheeting in no matter what, and how turning your head to look back helps that (and stops you from crashing or letting go), and also how the angle of the mast makes all the difference. Once you land under the sail, the suprise that you haven't broken anything (body or gear) is enough to make most people see that there was nothing to be worried about. The more you practice chicken dippers, the easier doing a real loop will be.

As the swell built up the wind died a little so we had to re-rig to 5.0m, but still all good. For some it was their first time in bigger waves, and despite this there was no lack of commitment or trying from anyone, so I have to say well done all round! Once 1 person starts going for it, the buzz that creates is infectious, and soon they are all at it. Everyone went home sore but happy, with a good frame of mind to build onto bigger and better things for the next session.

Brilliant too to see so many people in Dollymount, it was like the good old days - I have not seen so many faces new and old there in a long time. Must have been about 30-40 people out during the day.

Sunday the wind went more cross shore, meaning getting out the back was easier (which in Dollymount is about 30 waves out), and some nice overpowered down the line wave-riding could also be had (see pic).

I'm getting more into my quad fin after this weekend, and despite not having the right size back fins in yet (too big), I'm still amazed at the control this board has on overpowered waveriding. Like Julia Roberts once said to Richard Gere: 'This baby corners like it's on rails'.

In onshore I'm thinking I may prefer twin fins - as I'm really loving takas, but for cross-off riding with super tight turns and unbelievable control... so far I am in love with this board. I suspect in bigger waves this will be even better.
The beauty with the JP quad is that it can also be used as a twin fin, so I'm not limited to one or the other.. I just have to get busy with the screwdriver.

The loopers though fewer in number, were super-keen to keep going, and did us proud. Ali B has absolutely non fear - that's official, while Mark Grennan was the star of the show, landing quite a few his first loops that he sailed away from properly. He got so into it, he started thinking about push-loops next, which I'm sure he will get in a matter of minutes. He has the right attitude now, and that makes all the difference.
Paul Reid wins the prize for determination, as he was not going home till he had rotated a full loop. I'm not sure if its the two cans of RedBull I gave him, but this meant that we were both still sailing 5pm on Sunday, in almost pitch dark. But sure enough finally got he got one where he jumped, rotated with the board properly and rolled onto his back. Well done Paul!
If if had not been dark, he would have kept going, and I'm sure he will be sailing away from them in the next session.

No animals were harmed during this weekends production. There were no injuries, and no equipment was broken, only pre-conceptions. This weekend was sponsored by Ibuprofen (for the slight bruising) and Specsavers (Paul lost a contact lens every 20 minutes).

I will run another one of these clinics before Christmas, so if you want to join in the fun, get in touch.

Loads more wind this week... hope you have fun wherever you are.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Want to Loop?

I'm running another jumping and looping this weekend in Dublin.

If you have ever wanted to loop, and in particular forward loop... then you will probably know about the mental blocks that stop you from going for it. The clinic is designed to get rid of all these fears and problems, and get you straight into DOING loops, rather than wishing about it!

In case you hadn't seen it, here's a from one of the first clinics I did about a year ago. If you want to join in this weekend, contact me through the email at the end of the video.

New Year's Loopers from Surfdock Watersports on Vimeo.

Monday, November 16, 2009

My first foursome

Looks like its going to be an interesting week :-)

Monday, November 09, 2009

Back to Belmullet

Well it seems like it has been all about Belmullet lately. Well I cant help that... I love the place !
With a 9.7m swell forecast from the NW, and wind upto 30 knots, Falmore was looking like a good call yet again. Driving down, we saw the main beaches at Elly and Drum were closed out with massive swell, which was breaking over the islands offshore, but Falmore would get a wraparound swell and cross off wind.

When we arrived the tide was still pretty high, and the big sets were closing out the bay. But as the tide retreated, the waves looked more manageable and definitely worth a go.
As it turned out the wind was pretty offshore, so it was hard to hook into the really clean bowl at the start of the wave up at the point, as it meant sailing straight into the wind, while trying to find the speed to drop down the face stay in front of the wave.

In Falmore, the wave is horse-shoe shaped, and if you start high, it's a super clean cross-off racetrack all the way down the beach to the pit of death at the end, or kickout before the closeout on the beachbreak. After my 2nd wave I got eaten by a set and had a nice 10 minute swim after my kit, but nothing broken... so straight back into the action.

Carlos the mexican joined me after a watching for a while, and got the wave of his life with a good few decent snaps before finally getting blown off the back with too much power on the lip. Even though he swam back, he could not help smiling, which sums up the day :-)

The local crew (Cormac, Laoise, Michheal) hit the water around the back of the penninsula at Blacksod, and caught the smaller wraparound swell.

Pic is a frame grab from the video camera, as my Nikon is broken at the moment (probably 5 years worth of salt water spray inside the body is not helping)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A few more Belmullet pictures

Big thanks to Paulina and Stiff-on for taking these pictures.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Trading Places

50 knots of wind, hanging onto 2.9m sails, 3 full rounds of competition, sailing all day every day.
Needless to say Belmullet lived up to it's reputation as a full on seriously windy event, and marks the start of hopefully a very windy Autumn. (This week has been good so far)

The short story: I won the event.
The longer story: As usual, the whole championships came down to the very last round of the year, and the 3rd and last final of the event. Who ever won the final between Finn Mullen and myself would walk away with the title for the year. This year it seems it was Finns turn.

More text and pics on the way.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Get set for the weekend

After what seems like an endless spell of flat calm weekdays and occasional windy days here and there, there is no doubt now that Autumn is in full swing. Just had 3 good windy days in a row now in Dublin, sailing mostly on 4.0m, either at Low Rock (pictured), or outside my house in Skerries.

The forecast for the Belmullet wave event this weekend changes every-time I look at it. There are 3 low pressure centres very close off the Atlantic coast, and depending on which way they track will determine whether we had a good weekend or not.
I think I'm just going to stop looking.. what ever comes will come.

Its not really going to matter until the green flag goes up, and there's not much I can do about it but try and be ready for anything!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

speed-wavesailing & catch up

Well it seems like it has been a long time since posting, in fact it's almost a month.
I have been really busy working (yes despite what people think, I do actually have a job!), and in-between that I have been catching some wicked windy-boarding sessions all over the country.

Also I have received the rest of my JP boards, and some of my new sails, so I have been more interested in getting out there and trying my new toys.. than writing about them!
I think I will dedicate another post to my findings on the new equipment, and just fill you in on what's been happening in this one. If you want to know anything in particular about the gear... just leave a comment at the bottom of the post and ask away.

Where to start? Well I guess probably at the beginning is a good place...

The last post left off at the Achill wave competition (see gallerys), where we competed two rounds of waves in fun sized cross-on starboard tack on Keel Beach. As the forecast on the second day was hopeless for Achill, we hit the road to Louisbourg and the entire fleet went free-sailing for the day in cross off 4.0m weather. Got to sail my new 68 twinser in cross-off for the first time, so I was loving life :)

The following weekend was spent in Brandon Bay, for WOWI's 10th birthday party.
We had a chilled out time in glorious sunny summer weather (in Sept!), and had good fun catching up with a few old friends. The party on the Saturday night went on till the wee hours, helped in no small part by the presence of the Limerick University windsurfing club.
Not much wind though, so myself and Megan had a great SUP session on Sunday morning in Fermoyle.
By Sunday evening though, the SW wind had kicked in Brandon style. Which in case you don't know... means if it's SW... it's windy! Although only forecast for 12 knots, there was easily enough to get out on 5.0m in Gowlane, and ride some sweet waves down the line on my new 92l JP twinser.
Alan from Surfdock was also out, and was blown away with his new twin-fin board. He was so happy with the immediate improvement in his wave-riding, he took me out to dinner and could not stop grinning about his session.

The following days forecast looked even better.. 25 knots SW, so I stayed over, and was rigging up again at 8am with a crowd of excited locals and tourists. 25 knots SW means 4.0m sails in Gowlane, and we had an awesome session, hooking into wave after wave for about 4 hours.
There was a good crowd out, and there was action everywhere you looked. The local crew were in full force, with Niall, Rose Rob and Knoxie all. One of the best waves I had was shared with Rob and Knoxie, all of us screaming and shouting as we charged down separate sections of the same wave. Up the beach at Kilcummin, Peter Hart was out with a wave clinic, and Rob's brother Rik was out with his crew of friends from the UK, all over for ther Autumn dose of Irish waves.

I have got to say Rob and Rose looked good too with their matching gear, sharing a quiver of 2010 FLY sails, it will be hard to tell them apart now. And I mean it.. standing in the shallows, I watched Rose rip a wave up, and I honestly thought it was Rob sailing. That girl can RIP!

Rob was also obviously loving his new quad-fin board. The effects of which are blindingly obvious:

Eventually the wind got too much. Rob had changed down to 3.2m FLY and was even struggling on that in the gusts, while Niall and I were still hanging onto 4.0m sails. Knoxie had decided to check out Stradbally further downwind in the hope of finding less wind (imagine that!), but when we de-rigged and got down, the wind still looked too much to be any fun waveriding. Fine if you are in Pozo cross-on jumping, but 3.2m weather cross-off is another thing.

Eventually we found more manageable wind in Stoney Gap, where it was pozo-esque cross-on jumping on 4.0m sails. Peter Hart and his crew had come down, and Knoxie also hit the water again, with Rob joining us as soon as he ad finished driving the school bus again.
Here's a fun forward on the way in off the backwash off the rocks:
Despite the pole-vault looking effect, I can report that I landed this and with everything intact :)

The following weekend, the only place in the country showing wind was NW Donegal, which is my favourite place in Ireland to windsurf. With a forecast for 18-20 knots W-SW and a NW swell, I had no problem convincing a few friends to hit the road. Dave from DMG sailsports is my usual travel buddy in the Vito on the road to Magheroarty, and sure enough this stealth mission was too hard to resist.
Still buzzed up after the previous weeks twin-fin sessions, Alan from Surfdock was also in no doubt he wanted more, and told a few more people in the shop about his plans. Even Peter Hart made an appearance (is that guy following me??).
We were rewarded with perfect cross off conditions on 5.0m sails and logo to mast high sets of perfection on the reef. No pictures this time.. we were having too much fun sailing, so you will have to take my word for it!

Competition time again..... but not the usual Belmullet affair. This time a round of the Irish Speedsailing Championships!
The forecast was for the best wind early in the morning, so I hit the road from Dublin early, and arrived at 8am to find a good crew already rigging. JK was already about to hit the water, and even Rob Jones had driven up overnight from Kerry, as he was also super keen to try out his new JP Speed45.

It was not flat water by any means, just the usual blasting on chop in Elly Bay, but it was really good fun to see so many guys and girls out blasting around. Myself and Rob had a good session chasing each other around the bay. It was tricky to find the flattest bit of water to go really broad and get the board flying, but overall it was absolutely brilliant fun. I have always loved going fast on a tiny boards in strong wind, and add that into how good the gear is nowadays and it's smiles all over. With the advent of GPS speedsailing, it's now so easy to find out just how fast you are really going. (Thanks Stevie for the lend of the GPS)

I managed to to hit a peak of 38.5 knots, and try as I might, I couldn't get the board to go any faster in the chop. It seemed to me that the wind was dropping (as was the tide), so it was time to pack up the speed needle and go in search of more waves.

At the end of the penninsula is Falmore, which works best on a low tide and W or NW wind (strange co-incidence that !) and sure enough when we arrived there were lovely sets of head high joy rolling into the bay.
We wasted no time in joining locals Cormac and Laoise from UISCE in sharing a few waves, and some of the speed/wave guys came down too; Dan Gardener, Katie McAnena, Rob Creane, Stephen OBrien, Woodsy. Rob Jones had to have a quick siesta in his van before hitting the water again at the wave beach.

The shore break can get quite punchy here as the tide rises, and sure enough it claimed a couple of masts from those who timed it wrong. I don't think the guys were even disappointed though, as the riding was so smooth and fast. All worth it at the end of the day.

Oh yes, I'm glad to report my top speed was enough for me to win the speed event, which was a very nice end to the day.

Next up is a freestyle event in 'The puddle' - Rusheen Bay in Galway, where every kid and his dog is trying to learn the latest trick. In fact if the place was sunny, you could almost believe it was Bonaire (well if you try hard!)

Till next time....

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Achill Day1 & Louisbourg Gallery

Here's a couple of slideshows from the IWA Achill event last weekend. Will write more when I get a chance.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Double forward loops

With all the talk of forward looping lately, this video may add a little bit perspective to those who think falling into water might be a bad thing.

Is been very interesting posting about Ryan's first loops after only windsurfing for one year. Some good feedback on comments, email and phone calls from friends and people who all want to do it, but need help. There's probably a whole book in it, but I will endeavor to post something about the psychology of looping lessons.

For now though, I will finish with a quote from Aaron's blog:
"The only reason you aren't looping is because you aren't trying them"

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

little and large

I'm now on the search for a hurricane and a seriously flat piece of water to try out my speed board ;)

One Year old looper in 15 minutes

I got my new JP Freestyle board and Speed board yesterday, so couldn't wait to get out and try them. Luckily when I got to the beach, it was perfect for the freestyle board with small swell and cross-shore.
The main difference from last years board is the shape of the deck, and also that the board carves so much better. I think they have reduced the tail width and given slightly more tail rocker or vee, while sharpening up the rails and flatting out the mid section for speed. The shape of the deck makes it SO much easier to transfer your weight from heel to toes, so combining this with the tail shape makes carving into a pop for shaka, or even just gybing in choppy water so much easier. The shape of the deck too means that when you are in the straps, it feels like you are wearing a pair of shoes. SO comfortable :)
I'm looking now for a gale to go and try the speed board ! Its tiny !

Anyway, the point of this post... as I got my new FS board, I was able to deliver my old one to Ryan - a 15 year old windsurfer who is getting into a bit of waves and freestyle. He was waiting at Dollymount beach with his friend and sailing buddy Lewis. The two of them usually sail together at their home spot of burrow beach, which I mentioned quite a few times in this blog.

Ryan was super keen to try his new board (FS Pro 90), and had been telling me that he had tried a forward loop the previous week but got nowhere and needed help. So I started chasing him around and looping all over the place to try and inspire him to go for it. Sure enough it worked, and he pulled the trigger and went straight over the front, landing under the sail (the safest place to be).
A few top-tips later on technique, and there was no stopping him. Practically every run out, Ryan was flying through the air, and then blasting back in screaming because he was so buzzed up with joy. Sure enough, a couple of quick tips later, and he water-started away from one !

Now here's the impressive bit... next week will be Ryan's 1st anniversary of when he started windsurfing !! Sailing away from your first forward loop after 1 year... that is seriously impressive !! CONGRATULATIONS RYAN !!

I really enjoy getting a buzz from teaching loops like this. It's brilliant to see people break the fear barrier, and just get on with it. Once they get over that hurdle, they are always SO surprised to find out how easy it is to do... and the elation on their face says it all. Sweet!
Its interesting to see how teaching a 15 year old is so much easier, as they have not had the time to come up with excuses not to do it, or have no fear or bad habits.
When it comes to forward loops, the technique can take 10-15 minutes to master, but learning how to avoid all the fear and negative thoughts, and then focus on all the positives of why you CAN do it. With some people that can take longer.
But the end result is always the same... it IS possible & it IS easy.

See you on the beach!

ps - Ryan and Lewis's blog is here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I made it

Well it seems like ages since I blogged, and I'm glad to say it has been down to too much windsurfing :)
I made it to Fuerte via the Holy-land (Knock airport... don't ask) and Lanzarote (I said don't ask!)... and in the end it turned out that it was good I got there a week late. The previous week had no wind and a stinking heatwave, and on the first evening I arrived it was still 38 degrees.

Seems however I did bring the wind (as usual), which meant that next morning straight away it was onto the bumpy road to Punta Blanca. Good news for Gareth (IWA President), who had been there for a week with his lovely and heavily pregnant wife Louise. Their plan was to chill out for a week, and hopefully get some sailing in too... so Gareth (not Louise obviously) booked some looping lessons with my buddy Steve Gibson ( ), who is a damn fine windsurfer, coach, and... he will even cook your dinner in the evening at his restaraunt GIBSONS.

Gareth was pretty fired up as it was his last day, and he went for quite a few loops, but suffered the problem of feet coming out of the straps. It was a pretty intense session (as he had been looking forward to wind all week), and in the end I think despite his best efforts... he had to admit defeat for now, as he just ran out of time to refine his technique.
He pretty much had to jump in the car, pick up Louise and drive straight to the airport. You will get them next time Gareth!... see you in Rush for the next session!

For me and Steve though, that's pretty much how the next two weeks went. Wind every day, and on the beach at Punta from 10am till 8.30pm. On the days there was not much wind up North, we would hit the road to Sotavento, where you can guaranteed that it will be windy enough for some freestyle trickery. Some days on 5.4m, and most on 4.5m.
It was cool to see a few of the good guys still there from the PWA event, like EFPT leader Stephen van Broekhoven. He had all the tricks... spock-kono, burner-puneta, air funnell etc.. Inspiring stuff! Was also really cool to see so many young kids ripping around in Sotavento. By young.. I mean 6yr olds, blasting in 30 knots on 1.5m and 2.0m sails, on tiny boards like JP Young-Guns. I saw an Austrian kid of about 10, who was with his 'older' freestyle friends of around 17-18 who had all the moves. But the 10 year old was going for spocks and flakas. The future of windsurfing is pretty bright when kids are going straight into stuff like this.

Steve and I spent a lot of time filming with the GoPro Wide Helmet cam, and below is just a taster of the footage. We shot about 18 gigs in total from every angle... mast tip, boom mounts front and back, nose of board, helmet and in the water. I now have the task of sorting through the lot and seeing what I can come up with for a movie. Watch this space as I will post up a few frame grabs.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Well I should be in Fuerteventura right now, enjoying some waves on the North shore. I booked my flight on Wednesday night, and the following morning checked my passport.... 2weeks out of date!! DOHHHHHHHH! So I rushed to the Dutch Embassy... got the paperwork done, and now I'm waiting for my new passport to arrive back from Holland. As soon as it's here... I'm on a plane outta here.

Still... got a nice day wavesailing today in Dublin. The forecast was for SW winds, so I headed to Dollymount and had a long day. At first on 90l and 5.7m, and then on twinser. It picked up as the day went on, and the waves got better with the rising tide. Changed down to 5.1m and got a few nice waves in the bag. Plenty of people out, think about 20, which was cool to see.
Im sure the west coast will have been firing today.. but I didnt feel like the drive... and I'm on standby for my passport to arrive!

Best bit about the day: Ice cream van on the beach... nice :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Starboard tack Pozo & road trip west

While waiting for the wind to pick up at home, I spent some of Saturday watching the PWA Pozo event live on their webcam which was pretty cool. You can watch the live action, while refreshing the PWA live ticker and heat boards, and get a pretty good idea of what is going on.

Pretty inspired, I watched up until the quarter finals, and then went in search of wind and waves myself. Eventually we hit the water in a local spot called Low Rock, with the wind coming cross-on from the right and small waves (starboard Pozo?). Started on 4.8m fly and bigger twinser, but the rain soon kicked in with the increasing forecasted wind, and soon we were hanging onto 3.9metres :) The rain was damn hard though... so it was a pain to throw yourself into backloops or pushloops, as every time you looked upwind.... you would get your face jet-washed! Packed up at 9pm and retired home to a warm shower.

The next morning we decided to hit the road at 6am and head west in search of real waves. Most of the west coast was looking good for wind, but I wanted to try somewhere different, so hit the road for Clare. I had heard about a spot that breaks well on a rocky reef and point, so hopes were high to find some good cross off riding.
Unfortunately when we arrived, the wind was good, but the direction was too westerly for the spot to work properly. So we sailed at the other side of the bay for a couple of hours... in guess what: cross on starboard tack... like I need the practice in that!

There was a good crew of Galway guys 'n' girls on the water though, so it was good fun. Katie McAnena was the first to hit the water - she raced out and bust a perfect forward loop, which got everyone else excited to rig. She is going to be the one to watch in this Autumns Irish wave events, though I hope Noelle Doran will be back in fighting form after her bad injury earlier this year.

The wind swung more onshore, meaning the other spot might finally be sailable... so a quick break for food, we packed up and drove around to the reef. It looked OK and we all hit the water, but unfortunately still too onshore to get good rides.

It was worth the drive though, I can see how this spot can work, and have a better idea of swell and wind direction that will make it work. We hit the road home through the Burren, which was pretty cool. It's been a long time since I have been in this part of the country (usually going further North), so it's always nice to find a change of scenery. I will definately be back to this spot on the next good forecast.

1. Nice swell, wrong wind direction to be classic :(
2. Typical Burren
3. Check out the mast bend on that back loop landing

Friday, July 03, 2009


And here is the happy couple!!
Congratulations Helen and Andy!!

The sailing was sweet too, full power 5.4 , warm water and 24 degrees
c air temp. Not bad for Ireland!!

Later that night, Andy skipped the usual speeches and decided to treat us to his best impression of Marty McFLY.
You can check out the video from Andy's wedding here on Andy's blog: McFLY

Sail before wedding

What do you do when the wind picks up on your wedding day?

Go sailing of course!!!!!!!!

Here's Andy Radley on his way onto the water 4 hours before getting
married this evening!

I better rig up too

Andy's blog

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Girls with BIG BALLS !

Ha ha, well that post got your attention, though probably for the wrong reasons !

Due to a lack of wind, most of this week I have been cruising around on a SUP, and also a lot of wake-boarding which has been pretty cool. On Tuesday we got out on the sea and found nice flat water beside Lambay Island - which is a few miles offshore from Rush Beach.
Then on Wednesday and Friday, I spent the evenings wake-boarding at Camlough lake, which is in the hills beside Newry. I was invited up to do some coaching, and who was I to refuse? Camlough is a great spot for really flat water, and the water is so nice and warm that it makes the whole experience a real pleasure. It's always a strange sensation for me to crash into fresh water for a change.

On one of the evenings, the girls with big balls turned up!
Let me explain... the ball is a giant pvc see through ball with a zip. You climb in, zip it up, and then inflate the ball with a leaf-blower. Then you are kicked into the water, and attempt to make the ball move, by adopting the style of a very pissed hampster who has just finished drinking 5 pints of vodka and RedBull. Priceless!

This weekend was spent teaching wake-boarding and windsurfing (thanks DMG) to my nephew Dubhghall (who is pictured in the first wakeboard pic) Then today I joined a SUP safari around the islands at Skerries. It was really foggy at first, but the sky cleared so we could find our way back home again.

Hope we get wind soon.... I'm getting sunburned and sore from too many crashes on the wakeboard while trying to learn Tantrums and Heelside flips.