Strandhill Surf Festival 2013

by Alison, 07/08/2013

Strandhill is a small town in Co. Sligo on the North-west coast of Ireland. Last weekend, Sligo Surf Club, hosted the Co.Sligo Open as part of the Irish Senior Surfing Tour. This was the third out of four events on the tour. The first was in Portrush in March which we unfortunately didn't make (due to the perfect waves that were right on our doorstep) and the second was in Easkey which we did (post to follow).

As it was the August bank holiday weekend there was time to compete, free-surf, eat and hang out with some friends. 

Leaving home we got stuck in a cow-jam. It may be a stereotype but in reality it does actually happen. We met this herd as they escaped their field, leaving the poor farmer and dog trailing behind. 

When we got to Strandhill, we stayed with some friends who practically live on the beach. As far as accommodation goes, they have a fantastic location for surf and all the other good things Strandhill has to offer- The Strand, Shells, Voya. Add to that a gorgeous veggie dinner, happy chats, sunsets, long lost faces and impromptu bbq's to make a great weekend- thank you Bren and Caoimhe!

Unfortunately we never got a proper group shot, but here are most of us grabbing a sundowner.

The competition was potentially to be run on the 3rd and 4th of August but a good swell and a well organised event meant that it was all over in time for some prize givings and pints on the Saturday evening. 

Ollie entered the Senior Open, while I entered the Women's Open. Unfortunately  our heats were only one apart so I had no time to take any photos of Ollie surfing.

Competitions are so different to free-surfing and I generally feel like I'm being told to 'hurry up and wait'. Which is a skill in itself, and something I'm trying to learn. Time seems so slow as you wait through the list of other heats however it seems like no time at all between the first duck dive and the final hooter.

A two wave total. For those 20 minutes, it's everything. Luckily at the end of my final, I came out with a third place.

With the competition over and some swell still hanging about, Sunday was open for some free surfing. We woke late and with this came the indecision about where to surf. Going with the theory that its bad to walk / drive away from clean surf, we got a quick session in Strandhill before heading to Easkey. 

The off-shore wind had held longer then we expected. This meant that we were greeted by a perfectly clean Easkey right. Unfortunately 20 minutes into our session, the wind shifted, it started sectioning and then dying out as the tide got too high. As we were frothing to get in the water, we never took a photo of the right when it was working, however we did take a quick snap on the iphone of the castle and the left as we were leaving.

Monday was all about relaxing and recovering before the drive back and taking advantage of my prize. A seaweed bath in Voya.

1 comment:

  1. I was in Strandhil that weekend myself and had a great time there!
    I like your blog, very nice photos and I think I will try those burritos ;-)