Ladies who slide

by Alison, 17/08/2014

Once again we spent the August bank holiday in Strandhill, Co. Sligo. We love this little seaside town and for us it has plenty of happy memories. For the third year in a row it was the Co. Sligo Open which brought us there on this particular weekend.



I competed in the ladies open and the ladies longboard.  I came third in the ladies open and made it to the semi-finals of the ladies longboard. I was proud of the results considering the deteriorating conditions and the fact that I managed to badly cut my left foot during the first heat. Two weeks later I am still out of the water.
This was the first ladies longboard division that the Co.Sligo Open has ever had and in my opinion it was the success story of the weekend. Generally in the women's open there is 5/6 girls competing at any given competition. This often means a straight final or at the most a semi-final. However in the ladies longboard division there were 16 women. This reflected the great turn out last year in the Lahinch longboard competition

It makes me wonder about women and competitive surfing, women and surfing styles and well women and surfing. Why was there such a difference in the numbers of women in each division? Was it just a once off? Is it that we all feel we can potentially longboard but for some of us short-boarding feels unattainable? Is it the innate artistry and flow of the longboard appeals more readily? Is it simply the worldwide resurgence of long-boarding that is appealing to a relatively new population of surfers? To be honest there are probably 100 reasons, depending on the individual. All I can give is my experience.

I started surfing on a 7' 3'' and I have slowly (read very slowly), reduced the size and volume of my boards. I currently ride a 6' 0'' as my standard board. Until we moved to Lahinch I had never really thought about long-boarding loving the idea of lighter, more maneuverable, more portable boards (travel is never far from my brain). 

However Ollie had back surgery just when we moved to Clare. To help him return to surfing he bought a longboard. By the end of that summer we were both signed up for the Lahinch long-boarding competition where I was given my 9'0'' bic. This has become my small wave board. When I want to catch a load of waves, when the swell is tiny and the crowds are huge this is the board I reach for. 


The difference in the two styles is something that continues to amaze me. I love to short-board however there is something about long-boarding. In my head I call it joy-riding. I may not do it very often but even on the smallest of days it can make me smile from the inside out. I love the feel of flowing with the waves and the idea of maybe one day dancing on the water.  I have definitely populated our instagram account with beautiful images from Lauren Hill aka the sea kin, Bing surf boards, Mele Salli, the drifter blog and Tara Michie aka Lady Slider.

I must sound like a broken record at this stage but whatever their individual reasons, it makes me happy to see more girls in the line-up and testing out competitions. It definitely pushes and encourages me to improve. 

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