Lahinch Longboard Competition 2014

by Alison, 07/10/2014

Sunshine, swell and light off-shore winds. Perfect conditions for surfing and an almost unheard of combination for a surf competition. The Lahinch Longboard Competition is run by the West Coast Surf Club over one weekend in September and this year it had it all. 

 Not that any of this was achieved without a massive amount of organisation, planning, determination and (I can only imagine) praying. The initial event was canceled due to the un-naturally calm weather that dominated most of September. The second attempt initially seemed to be headed the same way. Calm, sunny and with only a gentle ripple on the bay.

This left plenty of time for pondering the conditions, shooting the breeze and best of all barbecue. 

Finally after calls at 10am, 12pm and 3pm, enough of a pulse came through to allow the first heats to run at 5pm on Saturday. This is a prime example of how surf competitions have so many additional challenges to any other competitive sports I have ever completed. I never played a match where you had to wait for the pitch to arrive.

With the girls first in the water all I could hope was that the hours of sitting and waiting had paid off and that I wouldn't fall on my face in front of what could comfortably be called a crowd at an Irish surfing event.

As the tide dropped, the waves picked up, the heats continued and the sunset glowed across the bay.

A still, clear, crisp night meant a chilly 7.45 Sunday start and clean lines. The men were first in the water and it was lovely to see some of the grommets from the kids league join in the action and compete.

The swell continued to build and the different peaks started to work until there were 5ft set waves which peeled perfectly across the reefs. This gave rise to some controversy and  debate until competitors were made to decide prior to their heat where they wanted to surf. I'm delighted to say not only did I make it to the girls final but I got to surf it on Cornish (one of the local reefs). 

This was only my second time using a longboard out on Cornish but its flowing, steady nature lends itself perfectly to long boarding and for once there was no fear of taking somebody out. Instead there was only 3 others girls to compete for the set waves instead of the usual circus . Unfortunately in a 30minute final there was only two decent sets. We had a 15minute lull. Its the first heat I've ever surfed where I had enough time and breath to have a chat. However the sets that did roll through were pure joy. I came off each wave thinking that was epic, can I have another. Flow and stoke rolled into one. 

As for the result of the final, as Ollie wrote about in his last post (Irish National Surf Championships 2014), I won. Not only did I win but this year the women actually were awarded the hand-made longboard that is sponsored by the club. Generally this prize is reserved for the men's competition. I'm exceptionally proud to have won something so beautiful, I'm also exceptionally proud to be part of a club that is recognising the changing face of surfing. To finish I would like to say a massive thank you to the organisers for an amazing weekend.


  1. The Lahinch Longboard Competition is run by the West Coast Surf Club over one weekend in September and this year it had it all. the best longboard

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