Kayak

Donegal surf kayaker on the crest of a wave at world championships

Eamonn McFadden

Reporter:

Eamonn McFadden

Email:

eamonn.mcfadden@donegaldemocrat.com

Donegal surf kayaker on the crest of a wave at world championships

A happy Kieran McDyre enjoying the surf.

After a busy competition season, one of Ireland’s tops surf kayakers who hails from Glenties, finished in fifth place at the world championships.
Surf kayaker Kieran McDyre from Maas, Glenties, was recently in action at the World Surf Kayak Championships in Portrush.
After a busy schedule on the domestic competition scene in the lead up to the word event, the former European champion not only got to achieve his dream of being crowned Irish champion, he also powered his way into 9th position in the high performance “short boat”, and styled his way to a brilliant 5th place position in the “IC long boat” at the world championship event.
He is the son of Denis and Elizabeth McDyre and works as an outdoor instructor at the Bundoran Adventure Centre.
In the run up to the world event, where he joined his Irish teammates on October 21st when the world championships came to Portrush in Northern Ireland, there were some tough competitions locally to get through first.
He stated: “Three weeks prior to the worlds there were two of toughest competitions held in Ireland - the Northern Ireland Open and the Irish Open. First was the NI Open where the wave conditions were small but the competition was worth it and it went ahead. I got two silvers over the day of competition, which set me up well for the Irish Open in Easkey, Co. Sligo the following weekend.
"It’s my favourite event and the competition was tough all the way to the finals. I got to the semi in the high performance class, then qualified for the finals in the IC, in the finals. I had a great time on the water fighting against the lads.
"I was very happy to finally take my first win in the Irish Open after years competing in this event."
With a prestigious national title in the bag he returned home for a quick celebration. He then began his serious preparations for the world championships that were due to begin just ten days after his Irish national victory.
The time passed quickly and the teams from all over the world were met with some heavy Atlantic seas and mixed conditions for the big event.
“Before I knew it, I was standing on the East Strand in Portrush ready to get in the water at 7:50am for the first heat of the worlds. It was the hardest paddle out I have ever done. We paddled for 15 minutes and still hadn't caught a single wave; the wind was howling onshore at 40mph. The waves were massive and I couldn't hear a thing. The wild Atlantic threw all it had at us.”

On hold for a short time
The large swell meant the competition had to be put on hold for a short time.
“So the event was black flagged and put on hold. I came off the water exhausted and had no score on the board. But luckily we all had another go at it during the day when the winds settled.”
After getting going Kieran says there was a great variety of conditions to contend with from big waves to tiny rollers.
“Each day was different. The waves were massive on Sunday and tiny on Monday. It was forever changing, so I took one heat at a time and picked away, finishing 9th in the high performance short boat, and 5th in the IC long boat in the world championship 2017."
It was not exactly a case of beginner's luck as Kieran is a seasoned competitor for many years now and used his experience to mix it with the best on the planet.
He stated: “Over the last two years I've taken two titles, the Europeans in France and my first Irish title in October. To finish in the top five in the world is savage”.
As well as paddling his way into the top ten he says he greatly enjoyed watching his team members competing.
He congratulated fellow club paddler James O'Donnell from Annagry in getting to the top 10 in the grand masters division of the event.

Impressive fourth
Overall the Paddlesurf Ireland team came a highly impressive fourth in the team event.
“It was a privilege and an honour to surf with team Ireland who are a great group of people. I have met so many people from all corners of the globe - from Denmark to Australia - and catching up with some old friends was epic. I would like to say congrats to the new junior world champion Jamie Brian from Phoenix Kayaking Club in Co Cork.”
Kieran also expressed his gratitude to his sponsors for making it possible for him to compete at these events, including Rapid Kayaking in Donegal for their continued support, as well as the Paddlesurf Ireland team, Donegal Adventure Centre, Zephyr Lodge, Donegal English Language School, DSSP Kayaking Club, Gweebarra Canoe Club and Ocean Addict's.
He also had a special word of thanks for his family and close friends for all the support and guidance over the last two years.
Next up on the competition front for Kieran is an assault on the waveski world championships in 2018 in Spain. He will then turn his attention to the next Surfkayak world championship that are scheduled for Peru in 2019.