Pura Vida's Jim Brooks Dowsett reports on the conclusion of BWA Brandon Bay, Ireland. Complete with Dave White and Si Crowther's final day photo gallery...
Thursday offered North Westerly winds, some nice swell and sunshine.....but unfortunately not quite enough to run any heats! Did the competitors enjoy some rest ready for the closing party? Not exactly!
We got the light wind fleet of Mini-Tankers kindly provided by Exocet on the water for some fun in pretty decent sized waves! Loads of the am's had a go and I have to say all were surprised at how good these things ride and turn, and how easy......great light wind weapon and super fun!
It was great to see the Boards/Boardseeker team busy testing, grabbing shots and taking feedback from lots of the riders available. You'll read more in the coming issues for sure.
Anyone who wasn't at Famoyle beach was out searching for a surf in Dingle. They will have missed out on the beach burn up though, in which my T5 won the drag race, but after ploughing through the 1st river I backed off the gas to see whitey and all the boys steam through the next one all filmed by Si 'The Stuntman' Crowther so expect a clip or two in dave whites next holiday movie.
Friday did provide some decent onshore waves for jumping so Duncan Coombes made the call to run an amateur expression session right of the bar front at Spillanes and the battle was on! Hot favourites Aleksy Gayda and Lewis Merrony were taken down by boardseeker editor Emile Kott so I asked Duncan how he won?
Duncan “Emile was pretty syked to settle the score with the other lads and went straight out to pull a decent backie in the soft onshore conditions, the other guys were going for it too but he sealed it with a clean, fast and perfectly landed forward"
Danny went out to impress in the masters beating hot favourite Mark with a Rocket Air and some good clean jumps.
The ladies also went out to run another heat as a final round to the competition. Once again Sarah's training paid off and the conditions worked in her favour. The Simmer rider took 4 heats out of 5 and clearly impressed everybody there with her performance this week, and I do know she is keen to get a stab at a PWA event this winter if possible – watch this space.
Rounding the week off the Pro results remain the same and Funsport legends Ben and Phil will go on to do battle at Tiree. Simmer rider Ben Proffit technically holds the lead having won the most recent event but it's all to play for over the next 2 rounds.
Phil finished up saying “with 2 good events and 2 good results under my belt it's been an excellent start to the year for both me and Ben. I'm hoping to make all the events if I can and would love some solid conditions to fight for the top spot'
When I asked him what he thought of the Irish leg he said “there are better numbers all the time since the BWA took over the tour, and the standard across all the fleets has really improved. The atmosphere among all the guys is awesome and I have to say there are no real favourites in the pro's or the am's so lots of the top guys have a real chance at the title"
Closely following the top two is Andy 'Bubble' Chambers “Tiree 2010 was a lucky event for me and I was just finding my feet in competition wave sailing learning a lot all the time. It's been great to have consistently finished on the podium and prove myself amongst the more experienced competitors. Really stoked with the year so far and looking forward to Tiree and Cornwall"
JP/Pryde team-mate Sam Neal finished 4th last year and already has a place for some PWA action later in the year. When asked how this year was going Sam said “Good so far but I was really hoping for classic down the line conditions that normally work here a lot, which suits me better. I'm not the strongest in cross-on port tack and got nocked out early at first but steadily climbed back in the double elimination to finish 7th overall at the hands of Bubble! Ha ha." Although Sam didn't get his favourite conditions it's not a bad start if he gets it good in the next round.
One of my hot favourites from last year and a sure contender is Chris 'Muzza' Murray riding Tushingham and Starboard. He's always been an exciting guy to watch in the freesailing and claimed 3rd alongside teammate Shillito last year, but so far it's not gone his way. With the promise of solid conditions ahead Muzza said “the first two events have been port tack with loads of cross-on which I'm totally out of practice on. I came back from Maui late to enjoy more hookipa action there but that was always starboard tack riding so it's left me a bit behind. I should have warmed up more on the other tack and will be raring to go by Scotland!!"
In the masters Mark Lloyd is out for revenge and wants another crack at Big Dave White “Fair play the big man can sure move on a board, but look out! It's been an excellent week on the road and really well organised so we got stacks of heats in. Top fun, and considering my local wave break is a good 3 hour drive if I want any practice all the travelling is well worth it, more people should hit the BWA events"
In the Am's 17 year old Aleksy Gayda has impressed everyone with his two well earned victories. Lewis Merrony said “It's been a tough comp for the heavier riders like me, but fair play to Leckie, he's been smashing it! I've really enjoyed sailing with him and all the other guys and will be looking to hit back if we can get some big stuff at the next 2 events"
Simmer have a great start to the season in the quest for the constructors title with the top sailor in Pro, Am and Womens on the 2011 Icons and Black tip.
Jamie Knox has the perfect venue for this event and pretty much any windsurfing or kitesurfing or surfing in any direction and swell that comes. I've been here before and so have many of the other competitors for that very reason, and can vouch that it truly goes off. Credit goes out to Jamie who judged all week alongside Duncan and Lukaz and provided invaluable local knowledge. Put that together with the awesome hospitality at Spillanes bar and you are sorted for the week.
Hats off again to Nigel from the BWA who ran the organisation and heats like clockwork with great help from Mark Lloyd's legendary wife on the flags, and Jeff Scott's wife with the sausage baps and coffee at base camp!
All of the sponsors and more info about this and the 2 upcoming rounds of the BWA Championships can be found on the website – hope to see you supporting the next great event!
As I finish this I'm just settled on my early ferry to hear news of those Simmer Riders, Lewis Merrony and Aleksy Gayda, scoring Hells gate big time along with a full crew of the pro riders!! Cross-off logo high perfection to finally show what this awesome spot can deliver......fingers crossed they got some pics?