The 10th edition of Irelands largest water sports gathering (Battle for the bay) was for sure the best event I have been to so far in my career as a watersports athlete. I know this is a bold statement but the three day festival blew me away this year. 60,000 people went through the event site over the whole weekend, the sun came out for the whole weekend, my good friend Zane Schweitzer had flown in from Hawaii and we had 4 days of incredible SUP action over the whole weekend.
I picked Zane up from Dublin airport on Thursday morning after he traveled nearly 24 hrs from Hawaii while having a bad run of food poisoning. He managed to rest up and have his normal affections energy read for the afternoon. First stop was RTE 2fm for a 10 mins radio interview about the event, life traveling around the world and big wave surfing. (Link below) After the radio interview it was straight to the final night of the Irish SUP race night were Zane presented the end of season prizes as well as meet n greet with the local SUP community.
Link to Radio starts at 24:15
After sleeping for 15 hrs we were fully charged for the weekend ahead. I have done the event for the past 5 years so I knew it is a marathon of competing, networking and partying. Zane had one of his trademark InZane SUP clinics on Dollymount in the afternoon. A small but enthusiastic group of people took to the water ready to learn race technique, paddle strokes and board control. Everybody came off the water with a new perspective on SUP. It was really nice to see seasoned paddlers develop there skills further.
The real party started bright and early Saturday morning with a briefing from Paul Byrne of Irish SUP on all the SUP events for the weekend. The Lord and Lady of the bay (SUP racing winners) is worked out on a combined result from a technical race which would be held on the Saturday, Liffey race on Sunday morning and the survivor race format held on Sunday afternoon. The Technical race was a 4.5 km course with 18 bouy turns, small runners and a beach start to get the blood flowing for the weekend. Zane and Myself had a good battle around the course with Zane taking the win.
After the crazy firework display party in the Bram Stoker on Saturday night. Plenty of tired and sleepy SUPers headed to the Liffey on Sunday Morning for the 11km river race. A 2 lap course from the Jeannie Johnson to the east link bridge and back up to the Ha’penny bridge. Once again Zane and Myself were out in front but this time we had company in the form of David Mangan who was grinding at our tails. De javu, Zane and myself sprinted the last 500 m to the finish with Zane claiming his 2nd win of the weekend. Back on Dollymount Beach the crowds were swelling to over 25,000 people. The last and final event of the weekend the Survivor race was by far the best action of the weekend with lot’s of close racing down the entire field. I got the win over Zane in the event but it was a close finish. Zane had managed to add to his long list of titles with Lord of the Bay 2016.
A last minute photo shoot around Irelands eye. Finished with a beautiful feast in the King Sitric with fresh sea food and a couple of pints of the black stuff.