May Day this year saw the second annual IWA Irish Fleadh Sheoil kick off in style.
Hosted by the Irish college U.I.S.C.E. on the peninsula of Belmullet, the 3 day weekend had a lot to live up to after last years resounding success...and it did!
Most of the 120 sailors there arrived on Friday making the most of the long weekend, taking the opportunity to check out the faces, new and old, at the local, Teach John Joes.
Saturday comprised of a surfdock wave clinic, as well as two flat water clinics and an introduction to surfing clinic organised by U.I.S.C.E. The light winds and glorious sunshine made it ideal for those taking their first few steps trying out "this windsurf business" while the more experienced sailors tried their hand at a spot of light wind wave sailing at various beaches along the other side of this narrow peninsula. Sunday started with slightly stronger winds than the day before and with the promise of them building everyone was champing at the bit for some planing conditions. Before it got too windy it was decided to hold a currach racing competition, providing plenty of laughs for those onshore as the competitors figured out how to get going in astraight line!! The wind began to increase and those with larger sails began to take to the water blasting straight across the turquoise water of the sheltered Elly Bay. Soon everyone was out just having a blast and enjoying the conditions.
Standouts would have to be the young Galway crew: dang and dank(both JP/Pryde), Nigal, Mogs(RRD/Ezzy) and lil bro Ronan(Fanatic/North), Finn and Simon G, Nathan(also on RRD/Ezzy), Pat (Ka/Lorch) and evman as well as Oisin who were all breaking out some quality freestyle moves including 1 handed spocks, spock 540s as well as flaka, grubby and chachoo attempts. As the wind faded everyone came off the water happy and looking forward in nervous anticipation to Monday's 4.0m swell forecast.
Monday was not to disappoint and soon the eager wave sailors were trundling along the tractor trail leading to Drum beach with its mast high sets and near cross shore winds enducing a rigging frenzy on the beach. First out was Oisin closely followed by Mogs, his RRD Freewave 87 and 5.8 Ezzy working really well in the sometimes trying conditions. Everyone else was soon on the water and it quickly turned into an epic days wave sailing, everyone getting some of their best waves in a long time. Many wild and wet hours later the last sailors came off the water totally knackered but totally satisfied!
And so ended the Festival, everyone began to pack up and head back to the real world again...but it would be a long time before anyone would forget this years magic Fleadh.