Surfing in Ireland

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Surfing in Ireland
Surfers on Doughmore Beach, Co. Clare
Surfers on Doughmore Beach, Co. Clare
CountryRepublic of Ireland
Northern Ireland
Governing bodyIrish Surfing Association
National team(s)Irish Surf Team
Clubs16
National competitions
Club competitions
International competitions

Ireland has become increasingly popular as a surfing destination, due to its exposed location on the turbulent Atlantic seaboard.[1]

The island has 3,172 kilometers of coastline, and the southern and western shores are exposed for waves originating in the North Atlantic.[2] Although Ireland is located at a high latitude, the warm ocean currents of the North Atlantic drift ensures mild water temperatures throughout the year, with a minimum of 10 °C (50 °F) in winter and a maximum of 21 °C (70 °F) in summer.[3]

The numerous beaches, reefs, headlands and coves along the west coast of Ireland serve as popular surf spots. Ireland has played host to international events since the 1960s, and is home to many surf shops, schools and clubs.[3]

History[edit]

Surfing has been documented in Ireland as early as 1949, however it wasn't until 1964 that the "Bray Island Surf Club" was founded. Ireland was first represented at the World Surfing Championship in 1966 by Kevin Cavey, which in turn inspired the first Irish National Surfing Championships, held in Tramore, Co. Waterford in 1967. The first Irish Inter County Surfing Championships was held in 1968, followed by a full Irish team entry in the inaugural European Surfing Championships of 1969.

The growing interest in competition surfing mirrored a general interest in surfing across the island, with the number of participants and clubs growing rapidly throughout the late 60s; by 1970, there were an estimated 400 surfers in the country. This led to the foundation of the Irish Surfing Association in that year.[4][5]

Governing body[edit]

Irish Surfing, also known as the Irish Surfing Association, is a voluntary organisation that governs the sport of surfing on the island of Ireland. It participates in club development, instructor training and surf school regulation, and promoting surfing safety and the protection of the environment, as well as overseeing competitive surfing in Ireland.[6]

Clubs[edit]

There are 16 surf clubs accredited by the Irish Surfing Association.[7]

There are also many unaccredited surf clubs throughout the country.

Competitions[edit]

The two most important annual events in the Irish surfing calendar are the Irish National Surfing Championships, held in Bundoran, Co. Donegal,[8] and the Irish Inter County Surfing Championships, held in Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal.[9]

Ireland has frequently hosted international competitions, including the Smirnoff International (Easky, 1979),[4] the European Surfing Championships (Lahinch, 1972; Rossnowlagh, 1985; Bundoran, 1997 & 2011)[10] and the Billabong Monster Tow In Surf Session (Mullaghmore 2011, 2012/13).[11]

Culture[edit]

Although surfing is not universally associated with Ireland, there is a growing surfing subculture to accommodate the increased interest in the sport. There have been a number of surfing documentaries filmed on the island[12][13][14] (including the acclaimed 2008 documentary, Waveriders), as well as annual surf music festivals[15][16] and a surf film festival.[17]

Demographics[edit]

Ireland has an estimated 20,000 resident surfers. In addition, the country is an increasingly popular destination for surfing tourists.[18]

Locations[edit]

List of surf spots[19][20][21]
Name of spot Location County Break Direction Break Type Difficulty
Ballycastle Beach Ballycastle Co. Antrim Right and left Beach-break All surfers
East Strand Portrush Co. Antrim Left Beach-break Experienced surfers
Finn's Left Ballintoy Co. Antrim Right Point-break Experienced surfers
Portballintrae Portballintrae Co. Antrim Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Portrush Portrush Co. Antrim Right and left Beach-break All surfers
West Strand Portrush Co. Antrim Right and left Beach-break All surfers
White Rocks Portrush Co. Antrim Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Castlerock Castlerock Co. Londonderry Left Rivermouth Experienced surfers
Castlerock Beach Castlerock Co. Londonderry Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Portstewart Portstewart Co. Londonderry Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Ballyheirnan Bay Fanad Co. Donegal Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Ballymastocker Portsalon Co. Donegal Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Black spot Bundoran Co. Donegal Right and left Reef-rocky Experienced surfers
Bloody foreland Brinlack Co. Donegal Right Point-break Experienced surfers
Bundoran Bundoran Co. Donegal Right and left Reef-rocky Experienced surfers
Drumnacraig North of Portsalon Co. Donegal Right and left Beach-break Experienced surfers
Falcarragh Beach Falcarragh Co. Donegal Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Loughros Point Ardara Co. Donegal Left Rivermouth Experienced surfers
Maghera Beach Ardara Co. Donegal Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Muckros Largydaughton Co. Donegal Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Pampa Bundoran Co. Donegal Left Reef-rocky Experienced surfers
Rossnowlagh Rossnowlagh Co. Donegal Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Tullan Strand Ballyshannon Co. Donegal Right Beach-break All surfers
Tullaghan (left) Tullaghan Co. Leitrim Left Point-break Experienced surfers
Tullaghan (right) Tullaghan Co. Leitrim Right Point-break Experienced surfers
Bay Break Strandhill Co. Sligo Left Reef-rocky All surfers
Dunmoran near Skreen Co. Sligo Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Easky Easky Co. Sligo Left Reef-rocky All surfers
Easky (right) Easky Co. Sligo Right Point-break All surfers
Gaa Enniscrone Co. Sligo Left Point-break Experienced surfers
Inishcrone Enniscrone Co. Sligo Right Reef-rocky Experienced surfers
Lislary near Ocean Heights B&B Co. Sligo Right and left Reef-rocky All surfers
Mullaghmore Mullaghmore Co. Sligo Left Reef-rocky Pros or kamikaze only...
Strandhill Strandhill Co. Sligo Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Carrownisky near Louisburgh Co. Mayo Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Dugort Achill Island (North) Co. Mayo Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Keel Beach Achill Island (South) Co. Mayo Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Keel Strand Achill Island (South) Co. Mayo Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Kilcummin Ballycastle Co. Mayo Left Reef-rocky Experienced surfers
Killadoon beside Cross Lough Co. Mayo Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Doonloughin ~4 km WNW of Ballyconneely Co. Galway Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Aileens off Cliffs of Moher Co. Clare Right Reef-rocky Pros or kamikaze only...
Barrtrá Lahinch Co. Clare Left Point-break All surfers
Crab Island Doolin Co. Clare Right Reef-rocky Experienced surfers
Cream Point off Milltown Malbay Co. Clare Right and left Reef-rocky Pros or kamikaze only...
Doolin Point Doolin Co. Clare Right Reef-rocky Experienced surfers
Doonbeg Castle Doonbeg Co. Clare Left Reef-rocky All surfers
Doughmore Beach Doonbeg Co. Clare Left Reef-rocky All surfers
Fanore Fanore Co. Clare Right and left Beach-break Beginners wave
Killard near Doonbeg Co. Clare Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Lahinch Beach Lahinch Co. Clare Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Lahinch (Left) Lahinch Co. Clare Left Point-break Experienced surfers
Spanish Point Beach Spanish Point Co. Clare Right and left Beach-break Beginners wave
Spanish Point Reefs Spanish Point Co. Clare Right Point-break Experienced surfers
Ardkeragh Waterville Co. Kerry Left Point-break Experienced surfers
Ballinskelligs Waterville Co. Kerry Right and left Beach-break Beginners wave
Ballybunion Ballybunion Co. Kerry Right Beach-break All surfers
Ballyheigue Ballyheigue Co. Kerry Right and left Reef-rocky Experienced surfers
Banna Strand Banna Strand Co. Kerry Right and left Sand-bar Experienced surfers
Baslicon Waterville Co. Kerry Right Point-break Experienced surfers
Beale North of Ballybunion Co. Kerry Right and left Beach-break Beginners wave
Brandon Bay Maharees Co. Kerry Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Coumeenole Slea Head Co. Kerry Right and left Beach-break Experienced surfers
Inch Reef East of Dingle Co. Kerry Right and left Sand-bar Experienced surfers
Inch Strand Castlemaine Harbour Co. Kerry Right and left Beach-break Beginners wave
Rossbeigh Rossbeigh Co. Kerry Right and left Beach-break Beginners wave
Sandy Bay Maharees Co. Kerry Right Sand-bar Experienced surfers
St. Finnians Bay between Puffin Island and Ballinskelligs Co. Kerry Right and left Beach-break All surfers
The Old Hatchery Waterville Co. Kerry Left Point-break Experienced surfers
Barley Cove Barleycove Co. Cork Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Do More Reefs near Glandore Co. Cork Right and left Rivermouth Experienced surfers
Donomore Reefs off Ballinglanna Co. Cork Right and left Reef-rocky Experienced surfers
Dunworley on Seven Heads Peninsula Co. Cork Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Fennels Bay between Crosshaven and Myrtleville Co. Cork Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Fennels Bay Reef between Crosshaven and Myrtleville Co. Cork Left Reef-rocky Experienced surfers
Garretstown near Kinsale Co. Cork Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Inch (Whitegate) between Roche's Point Lighthouse and Power Head Co. Cork Right and left Reef-rocky All surfers
Inchydoney Inchydoney Co. Cork Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Langerville off Ardfield Co. Cork Right and left Reef-rocky Beginners wave
Long Strand near Galley Head Lighthouse Co. Cork Right and left Beach-break Experienced surfers
Ownahincha Owenahincha Co. Cork Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Red Strand near Galley Head Lighthouse Co. Cork Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Sherkin Island Sherkin Island Co. Cork Right and left Beach-break All surfers
White Bay beside Fort Davis Co. Cork Right and left Beach-break Experienced surfers
Annestown Annestown Co. Waterford Right and left Reef-rocky All surfers
Bunmahon Bunmahon Co. Waterford Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Maghermore near Blainroe Golf Club Co. Wicklow Right Beach-break All surfers
Tramore Tramore Co. Waterford Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Back Beach Donabate Co. Dublin Right and left Sand-bar All surfers
Donabate Donabate Co. Dublin Right and left Beach-break Beginners wave
Killiney Bay Killiney Co. Dublin Right and left Sand-bar Experienced surfers
Tower Bay Portrane Co. Dublin Right and left Point-break Experienced surfers
Clogherhead Clogherhead Co. Louth Right and left Beach-break All surfers
Dun Dealgan near Dundalk Co. Louth Right Rivermouth All surfers
Curacloe Wexford Right and left sand bank and shore break sand bank for experienced surfers and shore break for all

Big wave surfing[edit]

Ireland's location on the edge of the North Atlantic makes it a good location for accessing large waves. The record for the largest measured wave, at 19 m (62 ft) tall, is held by a buoy off the north-west coast of the country,[22] and satellite imagery has shown a tendency for the generation of waves in excess of 9 m (30 ft) tall in the area.[23]

Ireland's most iconic big wave, known as "Ailleens" after the nearby Aill na Searrach cliffs, is located off the Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare, and is a popular location for tow-in surfing. Although championed by many as a "perfect wave", with a potential height of 12 m (39 ft), Ailleens is not an everyday occurrence, as it requires stormy conditions and strong east winds offshore.[24][25]

Mullaghmore Head's 9 m (30 ft) waves, in Co. Sligo, have served as the platform for the Billabong Monster Tow In Surf Session since 2011.[26] A nearby wave, known as "Prowlers", has been surfed at an estimated height of 15 m (50 ft).[27]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ltd, Wannasurf.com. "Ireland - WannaSurf, surf spots atlas, surfing photos, maps, GPS location". www.wannasurf.com. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  2. ^ SurferToday.com, Editor at. "The best surf spots in Ireland". SurferToday. Retrieved 26 April 2017.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  3. ^ a b "Surfing in Ireland Irish culture and customs - World Cultures European". www.irishcultureandcustoms.com. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Our History". www.irishsurfing.ie. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  5. ^ Cavey, Kevin. "Surf History". kevincavey.com. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  6. ^ "Who We Are". www.irishsurfing.ie. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  7. ^ "IrishSurfing - Sign Up". Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  8. ^ "Irish National Surfing Championships 2016 - Discover Bundoran - Tourist Information from Ireland's Capital of Fun!". discoverbundoran.com. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  9. ^ "47TH Annual Intercounties". www.irishsurfing.ie. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  10. ^ "Rossnowlagh Intercounties & Irish Surfing Association 50th Anniversary Celebration". Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  11. ^ "Tow-in Surf Session Ireland | Surf Camps Europe". Surfcampseurope.com. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  12. ^ "Irish Film Institute -New Documentary Between Land and Sea Gets Stunning Trailer". ifi.ie. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  13. ^ "Monster Waves of Europe- Ireland - Surf Around Ireland Surf Around Ireland". www.surfaroundireland.com. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  14. ^ "The Crest - A New Crowdfunded Irish Surf Movie - Surf Around Ireland Surf Around Ireland". www.surfaroundireland.com. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  15. ^ "Sea Sessions 2017". seasessions.com. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  16. ^ "Surf & Sea Festival Tramore". www.surfandseafestival.com. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  17. ^ "Shoreshots". 54.2766° N, 8.4761° W. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  18. ^ "Surfing tourism on crest of a wave after monster swell". The Irish Times. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  19. ^ Ltd, Wannasurf.com. "Ireland - WannaSurf, surf spots atlas, surfing photos, maps, GPS location". www.wannasurf.com. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  20. ^ "Surf Forecast & Surf Reports for IRELAND". www.surf-forecast.com. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  21. ^ "Surfspots.ie". surfspots.ie. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  22. ^ "'World's Biggest Wave' Recorded Off Ireland". afloat.ie. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  23. ^ "New Big Wave Hotspot Discovered Off Irish Coast". afloat.ie. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  24. ^ Fáilte Ireland. "Biggest Waves in the World | Wild Atlantic Way". www.wildatlanticway.com. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  25. ^ "Aileen's – Ireland's Perfect Wave #irlnd". Ireland.com. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  26. ^ Fáilte Ireland. "Mullaghmore Surf | Surfing on the Wild Atlantic Way". www.wildatlanticway.com. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  27. ^ Cooney, Neil (November 2010). "The Impact of Surfing on the Local Economy of the Lahinch Area, Co. Clare, Ireland" (PDF). www.surfaroundireland.com. p. 5.

External links[edit]