Local trio claim Irish surfing titles

Local trio claim Irish surfing titles
Three Donegal surfers claimed national title crowns at the Irish Surfing Championship held in Bundoran last weekend.

Three Donegal surfers claimed national title crowns at the Irish Surfing Championship held in Bundoran last weekend.

They were among a range of winners in all categories that were largely dominated by competitors from the north west.

Bundoran’s Shauna Ward claimed the women’s title in top class conditions on her home waves, while fellow Bundoran local Emmet O’Doherty claimed his first national tile in the longboard event and backed up this with a second place finish in the Stand Up paddle (SUP) category.

Shauna dominated the Women’s final, with some high scoring waves leaving Rebecca Pigot 2nd, Ayesha Garvey 3rd and Grace Doyle 4th.

Rossnowlagh’s John Britton took top spot in the senior division beating Mayo’s Robin Keating, Kerry Larkin and Derek Parle.

Competitors were treated to some of the best surf experienced for a contest at the Irish Championships held at the famed reef break known as “The Peak”.

With over fifty heats and finals in eight divisions, competition ran all day Saturday and Sunday.

Emmet O’Doherty came out on top in a hotly contested longboard category, defeated the West Coast Longboard Champion, Ollie O’Flaherty, and former champion Andrew Kilfeather in 3rd with Ballyshannon’s Eoin O’Malley Daly finishing 4th.

Speaking after the event Emmet said it was a sweet victory for him, as he had finished in the runner up spot a number of times.

“I’ve had four second places in the past so it was great to claim my first national longboard title. The conditions were magnificent. In 24 years of competition I can’t remember a better day with such excellent conditions.”

He explained that the format of this years event returned to a single event, with a flexible window of dates to allow organisers to host the event in the best possible conditions.

The first event had been planned to take place in April but was postponed due to the poor surf forecast. There was also another date on standby later this month but was not required as the event played out in world class conditions.

“It was all about seeing the best surfers in the best waves,” Emmet explained.

In the Open final, Strandhill’s Stephen Kilfeather was back on top pushed the reigning Champion, fellow Sligo man Gearoid Mc Daid into 2nd. Gearoid was on the podium the weekend before at the European championships in the Azores where he impressively reached the U18 Final where he finished 4th in a hotly contested event. Aaron Reid finished third and veteran David Blount took 4th.

Shane Meehan reclaimed the Bodyboard title with Martin Kelly 2nd, Seamus Mc Goldrick 3rd and Andrew Kilfeather 4th.

Ashleigh Smith took the Women’s bodyboard title.

The SUP event saw Finn Mullen retain his title edging Emmet O’Doherty into 2nd, Neil Byrne 3rd and East Coast’s Paul Byrne in 4th. Katie Mc Anena was the top female in the SUP Surf, charging all the way to the semi finals to finish 5th overall.

Jason Southcombe grabbed the Masters title with Derek Parle 2nd, Kerry Larkin 3rd and Rossnowlagh’s Neil Britton in 4th.

The Kneeboard division was won by Luke Porter, 2nd was Ray Mc Daid, 3nd was Jan Van Aswegen and in 4th Peter Garret.

Competitors travelled to the seaside resort from all over Ireland including Clare, Kerry, Mayo, Waterford, Wexford and Dublin.