After a long break since the first IWA Wave Championships event in Brandon Bay, Irish Wave-sailors have been eagerly awaiting the Autumn gales and a busy schedule of wave events back to back over the coming months. The second round took place last weekend at Keel Beach – Achill Island on Ireland’s West Coast, hosted by Gareth & Ruth from local windsurfing Centre – Windwise (www.windwise.ie).
As is often the way, a week of gales preceding the event blew through, with the event forecast looked only moderate for the Saturday, with no wind and a big swell for the Sunday.
This kept a few regulars sitting on the fence, and wondering if they should make the trip. But as they say: “If you don’t go, you wont know” …and the die-hards who travelled to support the event were not to be disappointed, with enough wind to complete a full round of competition in cross-onshore port tack and occasional head high waves.
A call for an early start ensured the competition run through the 24 heats (only just), which could not be said for the Kitesurfing event that was being held on the lake – their event only kicked off at 2.30 and had to be binned half way though when the wind died.
In the Gold fleet, Oisin van G from Dublin got the edge over Finn Mullen to take the final, with Kerry event winner Morgan McGuire taking 3rd this time. This keeps the Championships wide open, with Oisin & Morgan sharing joint 1st, and Finn trailing by 0.3 of a point. No doubt it will go all the way to the final heat of the last event in Belmullet to see the outcome of this years Championships.
30 minutes after the final the wind died, which cleaned up the swell and gave everyone the chance to hit the water for a great evening surf session, and the promise of no wind the next day guaranteed that the evening social at the Achill Head Hotel went off until the wee small hours. On Sunday the 4m swell hit as forecast, which gave classic glassy conditions for an all-time surf session before the prize-giving and everyone hitting the road home.
1st: Oisin van Gelderen (JP/NeilPryde)
2nd: Finn Mullen (Starboard/Severne)
3rd: Morgan McGuire (RRD/Ezzy)
1st Lady & Silver Fleet: Laoise Ni Dhuada (U.I.S.C.E)
1st Junior: Nathan Regan, who also won the top prize in the raffle, a spanking new Severne Sail !