Boards catches up with Cormac O’Brien who is helping increase the numbers of windsurfers racing in Malahide, Ireland.
Last autumn, regular one design windsurfing racing started up on the Malahide estuary for the first time in many years. A group of windsurfers joined the Malahide Yacht Club and have been racing Kona one design windsurfers as another class alongside their existing dinghy classes.
The Kona one design is an ISAF recognised class with the goal of being affordable, accessible to beginner windsurfers and providing fair and exciting competition for all levels. Unlike many other windsurfing classes they are capable of being raced in winds ranging from 2 to 25 knots. By having a sail size matched to the sailor’s weight they don’t require huge amounts of physical strength and are suitable for lighter and younger sailors as well. Their versatility allows them to be raced regularly just like any other dinghy classes and has proven itself especially this summer with the warm weather and mostly light winds.
The initial fleet of five grew quickly during 2012 and the start of 2013, with many people deciding to buy a Kona as soon as they stepped onto one. There are now about 18 boards based in Malahide with a couple of others also around Dublin. The competitors now range from advanced windsurfers to those who have just had a couple of lessons.
As well as the club racing in Malahide there have been a number of open events and demo days held at Malahide estuary and a Kona start at regattas such as the Wicklow Vase and the Sutton Dinghy Club annual regatta. Six Kona sailors even entered the Cong-Galway race held at the Corrib Rowing and Yachting Club in August and completed the full distance, which involved 52km of sailing!
The next goal is to get fleets started at other clubs and around the country, while further growing the fleet in Malahide. The inaugural Kona Nationals will be held at Malahide Yacht Club on Saturday October 5th, hopefully the first of many.
If you would like to get involved with Kona windsurfing or are interested in trying out the gear then please contact the Kona group directly on their Facebook page Kona Windsurfing Ireland www.facebook.com/KonaWindsurfingIreland or the class captain Cormac at [email protected] If you are interested in becoming a member of the Malahide Yacht Club take a look on their website www.myc.ie