Some sad news has for Irish windsurfing has come through recently; Boards send our best wishes to the family of Irish windsurfing legend Justin Coleman…
“This week the Irish windsurfing world lost a legend and a gentleman.
Justin Coleman was one of the first people in Ireland to have windsurfed in our waters.He took up the sport in it’s early days but when he was already about fifty years old.
Born in Kinsale Justin had salt in his blood.After leaving school he served a 7 year apprenticeship as a shipwright.He also spent many years at sea travelling the world before entering his final career as a distinguished Port Of Cork Harbour pilot, safely piloting large ships into Cork .It was during his time as a Harbour Pilot that Justin, already a small sailing craft expert, discovered the somewhat esoteric joys of early days windsurfing and it’s equipment.
Justin had the physique and courage of Christy Ring and the charisma of John Wayne both combined with a generous spirit. He was also also gifted with his hands and proud of his original boat building skills which he constantly put to use in all manners and ways.
Justin sailed totally year round, in all weathers.He was one of the first people in Ireland to own what was then known as a sinker.No day was too cold nor wind too strong.He thought many people to sail and his enthusiasm was only outweighed by his patience.
I can well recall the first visit of the PWA to Brandon Bay.I had been introduced to Robbie Naish and despite being somewhat star struck I spotted Justin nearby.I immediately called him over and introduced him to Robbie as the Grandfather of Irish Windsurfing.Robbie was rightly very pleasant and respectful towards Justin. I can recall Justin telling Robbie they had something in common by informing him “my son was born on the very same day as you!”
Justin continued hardcore sailing well into his seventies until an eye problem forced him to retire.He died this week eighty years young after a few short days of illness.He was buried in Cobh with “Home from the sea” emotionally sung by the large gathering at his graveside.Our sympathy is extended to his lovely wife Bernie his son Gerry now living in Boston and who remains an avid windsurfer with the next generation of Coleman rippers under his wing as well as to his daughters Catherine, Helen and Justine along with his Grandchildren.”
Sail on Justin, we won’t see your likes again.”
Words by Alan Lynch