4 Nations Ireland - day 3 report

17 April 2008

UKWA/IWA Four Nations Championships - Jamie Knox Watersports

Smackin the lip in IrelandA perfect head high swell greeted the sailors on day three of the Four Nations Championships in Brandon Bay, Ireland.
Today it was the turn of the Amateurs, Juniors, Ladies and Irish pros to have they're crack at the emerald lips of Brandon Bay. Today's heats were held at Dumps, just down the road from Jamie Knox Watersports HQ. The increasing tide produced some clean surf and the cross offshore wind was producing just enough power to propel the sailors down the line. The wind was making things tricky, but the 15 minute heats were just long enough for the sailors to catch 2 or 3 waves.

Louise Emery was the busiest sailor on the water with heats in both the ladies and amateurs. All that time in the water seemed to pay off as she aced the ladies fleet and caught some long waves in the Amateurs to come out ahead of Chris Cartin and Nigel Treacy who got caught on the inside and snapped his mast Five minutes into the final.

The UK Juniors saw local hot shot Tom Knox come out ahead of Sam Darkin in 2nd and Lecki Gayda in 3rd. The Irish Juniors saw Nathan Regan carve his way to first position ahead of James Mulligan in 2nd and Tom Knox in 3rd.

The Irish Pro fleet was a tough battle. Wave selection and tactics were paying a big part in the heats. Finn Mullen was looking good after a few weeks in Maui. He wins the prize for the most amount of kit used - he changed boards three times and sails twice during the day. Morgan Mc Guire showed the experienced guys how to do it with a great run of waves that set up perfectly for some aerials and front side hacks. Finn Mullen pulled into 2nd place and Oisin Van Gelderen slotted into 3rd despite busting probably the biggest aerial of the day, but just couldn't quite get it back into the wave to score maximum points. Matias Genkel surfed some long waves to place 4th.

That's how it ended today as the high tide caused the waves to back off and no more competition was held for the day. Tomorrow's forecast is for similar conditions so the UK Pro fleet should be back in action. Tonight sees a party at Spillanes Pub so no doubt a few sacrifices will be made to the wind gods!

Stay tuned for more reports from the Green Isle......
Thanks to all the volunteers that made the event run smoothly and to all the sponsors for making it all possible.

Jamie Knox Watersports
Da Kine
Spillanes Pub
Seven Hogs Pub
Paul Hopcroft - Splash photography

Conditions fire for Day 2 of the UKWA/IWA Four Nations Championships Round 1

The powerful and furious wave of Gary William Point was the location for today's action for the pros. A clean logo - mast high swell was peeling with precision down the famous GWP. Force 4 - 5 winds groomed the surface turning it in to a race track for wave sailors. Head Judge Duncan Combs set heat duration at 20 mins, which was just long enough for the sailors to pick of 3 or 4 good waves. Kit choice was key as most sailors were either launching from the main beach about a mile away or throwing their kit off the cliffs.

Andy King proved victorious, throwing some big aerials and tight carving cut backs in the most critical sections. Steve Thorpe too was airing clean over sections and got a well deserved 2nd with John Hibbard carving his way to 3rd place. There were plenty of nasty wipeouts for the assembled crowd to watch too. Oisin Van Gelderen was the first to get taken down by the vicious lip and trashed his kit on the razor sharp reef. He then borrowed Steve Thorpe's gear and almost totaled that as well! Adam Cropper and Nick Moffat had visits to the rock garden and both totaled their gear. It's estimated that almost £2000 worth of equipment got totaled on the rocks today.

A big thanks goes to Ian Jones who was dicing with disaster on the rescue ski as he blasted in and out of the impact zone to rescue sailors and kit. Without Ian's work the sailors could've been looking at a lot higher kit bill.

This was the first time that Gary William point has ever been the location for a wavesailing contest and going by the smiles on most of the sailors faces it won't be the last.

Head Judge Duncan Coombes comments:

"It's a sick wave and reminds me of Punta Preta in Cape Verde - fast, hollow and it takes no prisoners. Getting it wrong at GWP leads to almost certain disaster for kit and if you get it really wrong you could be crawling over the rocks yourself. We saw some great sailing from everybody during the day. Andy King got the highest scoring wave with 9 points with two clean aerials in the most critical sections. It was a perfect location to challenge the Pro fleet. We considered sending out the amateurs, but decided against it not so much because of their ability, but that any trashed kit would be costing them big bucks to replace"

The forecast continues to bring promise of more wind and swell so stay tuned for more action from the West Coast of Ireland where it's going off!!

Photo Courtesy of Paul Hopcroft - Splash Photography

Thanks to:
Jamie Knox Watersports
Da Kine
Spillanes Pub
Seven Hogs Pub
Paul Hopcroft - Splash photography
Jeremy Owen

Day 1 report

Beach scene at the event.Competitors were greeted with force 6 South Easterly winds on day one of the competition. A flat water freestyle fun sessions was held at Scraggarne bay in the morning with Leki Gayda coming out on top in the juniors, Chris Cunningham styling it in the Amateurs and Oisin Van Gelderen Spocking his way to 1st in the pro fleet.

The rising tide saw the event carnival move round to Sandy Bay where the almost bolt onshore wind was kicking up some wind swell. Not enough for official competition, but enough to run a round of Wave Expression heats. With Sam Darkin from Worthing at only his second event topping the Youth final. Louise Emery showed the amateurs a clean pair of heels by jumping off every wave in sight to take the top spot ahead of Nigel Treacy. The Pro fleet Wave Expression Final was won by Andy King with good back loops off the job and some freestyle thrown into the mix.

Scott HarisonThere is a promising forecast for tomorrow with the arrival of some swell so it looks like the Four Nations 2008 will kick of for real in some classic Irish wave sailing conditions.

The event is the first to be a joint venture between the IWA and the UKWA. A healthy entry list has seen competitors traveling from all over Ireland and the UK to compete. The longest journey was probably made by John Hibbard though who had 48 hours of constant travel from Maui to get to the event in time (just). Needless to say he was some what jet lagged and only appeared for a quick blast on borrowed sails (his sails being stuck somewhere between San Francisco and Heathrow!). Tomorrow should see the Hibbard vs. King battle kick off big style as both competitors reignite their competitiveness after the winter break.

Stay tuned to Boards.co.uk / www.ukwindsurfing.com / boardseeker.com for more updates.

Preview Day 1...

There is plenty of wind here but not much swell on the first day of the UKWA Wave Round 1 event in Brandon Bay, Ireland.
As usual, the day before saw head high peelers at Inch Strand with a cross offshore wind allowing the sailors who came early for some pre-event practice an awesome day of wave riding.

We have had some late entries this morning; Steve Thorpe arrived fresh off the ferry with Russ Tetlow and Rich Potter and then we have current UKWA Wave champion John Hibbard who arrived about midday following a nightmare journey back from Maui (it's a tough life)! John is hoping to get off to a good start this season on the mission to regain his title, but then Andy King is back once more to challenge that top spot. Having spent the winter at home in Cornwall, Andy has something to prove going against guys who have been abroad training in warmer climes for the last few months. Stuck on Maui doing photoshoots are John Skye, Chris Audsely, Phil Horrocks, Ben Proffitt, James Cox and Jamie Hancock so it really could be an Andy .v. John special. But then don't count out Steve ‘WaveJam' Thorpe or Oisin Van Gelderen in the Pro fleet. #

In the Amateurs, Nigel Treacy from Llandudno is the favourite although the Wilcox brothers are taking competition seriously this year and hope to teach Nigel a lesson in winning wave heats! Scott McDowell, who consistently winds the Amateurs on Tiree, has been put in the Pro fleet so it's up against the big boys for the Scottish Master! Alexsy Gayda is the strong favourite in the Youth fleets especially with his new 45 litre Goya Wave custom (more on that later). Then the Ladies fleet is not looking too bad with two Irish ladies and three English girls expected on Saturday - let the games begin!

However, with diddly squat swell on the first day of the event, Jamie Knox has decided to call a fun freestyle event to get everyone into competition mode at Scragane Bay in the very strong south-east winds. Currently the men are sailing on 3.7m and the youths and women on 3m and less!
Although the IWA event doesn't start till Saturday, quite a few Irish sailors have entered the UK event and the standard in freestyle alone is very impressive. It will be really interesting to see who comes out on top between the Irish and the UK sailors.