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.
The past week I have been busy finishing up Summer SUP School and starting the second half of my season which is going to be huge. I have sacrificed a lot of time during the Summer to work. Now I want to focus on competition 100 percent.
National Watersports Festival (NWF) was my first stop on my long second half to the season. In it’s 9th year NWF is a showcase for all the new gear from the waterspouts industry and also provides plenty of competition.
Starboard had the new gear on display. Development for 2016 is next level. I am confident to say the new All Star will see many of the world top podiums. I was given mine at the weekend and it is next level. The turning capabilities, acceleration and tracking combines for a board which is truly all round.
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The 2015 Battle for the Bay has yet again provided the perfect platform to showcase all that Ireland has to offer. Amazing weather 😉 , vibrant watersports community and last but not least the “Irish Craic”. I have been involved in this beach culture festival for 4 years now and the event keeps growing both in terms of watersports events and as a showcase for leading Irish innovation.
This year was special for a number of reasons.
-The first ever Liffey SUP race happened with 40 people racing up and down the river through the heart of the city
-I was a ambassador for the SUP divison
-Lastly a crew of drone pilots from I fly Technology captured the whole event from the air!!!
I used the 2015 Starboard Astro Racer for the Liffey SUP race. Starboard have been working hard to show that their inflatables are as fast and durable as all the other brands. I was surprised with the performance of the board compared to the Red Paddle Co. Elite which many other competitors were using in the race. Both boards are fantastic but both use diffrent technologies to stiffen the boards.
-The famous rocker Stiffening system (RSS) from Red paddle Co.
-The new dual stringer technology from Starboard
Racing the board to a 1st place finish in the race showed me that Starboard have put their time to good use. Small changed with the construction of the rails, fin box and the addition of the dual stringer technology made the board feel solid and responsive.
European and Spanish Freestyle Kite Champion Alvero Onieva was staying with me for the weekend. The spaniard from Tarifa had some bad luck in the Kite Boarder Cross event but his passion for the sport was infectious. He works along side Wainman Hawaii and runs his own company Clash to push the innovation of kiteboarding to the next level. At the end of the event he gave away his board to a local young gun showing his humble attitude to the young community of Kitesurfers.
Photo: Wojtek Kosinski
Battle of the Paddle the biggest race of the season.
Salt Creek, California
2015 Starboard Allstar
Prepared Yes or No?
Maybe, I have been focusing on the B.O.P for the past two months but this race has a lot of luck involved.
Make the final of the men’s elite race. There is two heats in the morning and the top 50 percent from both races go into a final heat in the afternoon. Plus get some surf done in Californian sunshine.
Battle of the paddle has always been on my bucket list of races and every top sup racer shows up to this race from every side of the world.
Stay tuned to my blog for daily updates and photos.
-What is the B.O.P?(To all the non paddling folk)
The Battle of the paddle is probably the biggest race of the year. A unofficial World Championships were the best Sup racers battle it out for a faint hope to become B.O.P champion. The list of past champions is pretty epic. Chuck Paterson, Jamie Mitchell, Danny Ching, Connor Baxter and Kai Lenny. It involves racing in and out of the surf with a run in between every lap. To be any way competitive you need to know how to surf a race board(it’s like driving a f-one car down a mountain pass plus you have a few hair pin bends to take care of). These ‘hair pin bends’ are buoy turns in the surf zone. I forgot to mention there is 30+ people going around the buoy at the same time.’Carnage Guaranteed’
I am going to start a new chapter in my blogging carer. I got lazy during the summer when I was floating around Europe but now I am in my last year of school and it’s a refreshing start to a new adventure. So I have decided to give the blog a face lift, simplify the content and aim to produce more regular content.
I forgot to mention I am heading to California for ‘THE BATTLE OF THE PADDLE’ early next week. 😉
Back in August and July I competed in event after event and I could write a short novel about the adventures, races and surf missions I had but I would prefer to recap it in Photos.
Summer is here and I have been busy doing events, traveling and surfing. I am going to keep this short but there is a lot to blog about.
I was in Dublin for the Third annual Dublin Bay Sup Classic as part of the Pure Magic Battle for the Bay. The forecast was mixed but I enjoyed competing at home for a change. The event was world class with lots of international attention and a good beach vibe for the entire weekend. I got 1st in both events which I was pretty stoked with.
After Dublin it was straight on a plane to Bilbao, Spain in the beautiful Basque Country.The Bilbao event is amazing with friendly people, good organisation and a good vibe from the side of the River. I had a disappointing event in terms of performance and couldn’t find that sixth gear that I can normally depend on when racing. Plus it was 30 + during the day witch made it feel like a oven.
After Bilbao it was road trip time from Bilbao to Oleron,France. There was a bunch of guys making the same trip and it made for a epic week of surfing in pretty small waves. Everyone was enjoying the European Summer and the beach breaks of the south of France.
The island of Oleron was the location for the next stop of the European tour. Forecast was for a epic downwinder which actually materialised and made for a fun race. Again a disappointing result for myself made a few stupid mistakes. The sprint races were super fun and decided to go all out on them and ended up with a 10th place finish in the sprints. Overall a 13 th place finish.
Credit to Big Smoke for second picture
The racing season is full speed ahead with races every weekend and lots of traveling for myself. I have been in the U.K racing on the British Sup Clubs race series and preparing for the European racing tour.
I got a 2nd place at the Central Sup race in Birmingham, England. I made a stupid mistake leaving out one of the marks costing me 1st place. It made for a exciting finish for the crowd but lots of work for me to do. Myself and Sonni had a photo finish. I learnt my lesson that day and moved on to the next race. Thanks to all the guys at central sup for a amazing event.
Next race was the Battle of the Thames in London city. The weather was mild with no wind. I made a early lead and held a gap on the chasing group. It was a grind by myself with no one to draft. I came out on top after putting the work in early. My first for the year and hoping to keep the good results going. Big thanks to Blue Chip for more great organising.