Ireland - Day 1


The first 2 rounds of the UK Wave Tour take place in Wales then Ireland and is now endearingly referred to as the 'Back-to-back' event. When Nigel Treacy, Bucky and Jamie Knox first engineered the idea some sailors remarked "it will never work" and ran for cover. But the UK Wave Tour has a history of being challenging and setting benchmarks and the hardcore sailors rose to the challenge for the first time last year and it was so successful we decided to do it again.

BUT this year really separated the men from  the boys with a 9.30pm finish at Rhosneigr followed by a 2.30am ferry from Holyhead and an overnight roadtrip from Dublin to Dingle arriving at the famous Jamie Knox centre for a 9am registration.

I have never seen so many bloodshot yet excited eyes at registration. By 10.30am the competitors were rigging up at Dumps ready for a start. However, the wind did not play until just after 3pm allowing competitors to grab power naps anywhere they could. 

Just after 3pm the wind picked up to a fresh breeze with moderate rolling waves and so we went straight into competition sequence with Masters up first followed by Ladies and then Amateurs. 

MASTERS Result (after 1 round)

Boards magazine's very own Chief Editor, Dave White showed the crowd that he still knew a thing or two about sailing waves and put in a convincing win leaving the rest of the masters hungry for revenge. Regular masters competitor, Mark Lloyd put in a solid performance for 2nd. Danny Geereedhary has also stepped up his game in the waves taking 3rd place. With 5-man heats over the week this board will be an interesting one to watch.

LADIES Result (after 1 round)

A small but feisty fleet consisting of newly qualified doctor Katie McAnena and newly graduated sailor Sarah Bibby (they grow up so fast!) took to the water in a no holds barred battle. Yes they both look sweet and angelic on the beach but once the hit the water there is no love lost and fight for each wave like possessed women fight for the last chocolate malteser. Katie practically unwrapped her newly shaped custom Moo board on the beach as the sequence flags went up whilst Sarah had a moment of panic with a stubborn boom. But neither were phased and put in fantastic performances but it was Sarah that emerged victorious on day 1 of what will be a long week.

Heat 1: With the wind and waves still playing, PWA World Head Judge, Duncan Coombes announced the start of the  amateurs. Fresh from his win in Wales, Aleksy Gayda fought new man on the block, Jeff Scott and 'older' kid on the block Craig Hamilton in the first heat. Craig and Aleksy both sailing hard and going through to the next round.
Heat 2: Like Craig, 2010 Masters competitor, Russ Jenkins has been forced into the Ams fleet after an age- rule change by the BWA. He took on newby Jon Kershaw and local favourite Niall Melon. Russ and Niall both landing clean forwards to secure their places and go through to next round
Heat 3. The willowy mad man from South Wales, Lewis Merrony, went against the competition-seasoned Emile Kott and Rhosneigr local boy and 2010 youth Champ, Liam Ellis. Lewis and Emile put in sold performances to also secure their places.
Heat 4. The crowds were delighted to see Cameraman Alfie Hart emerge from his lens to take on the experienced Stefan Hilder and less experienced Jim Brookes-Dowsett. What Jim lacks in comp experience he more than makes up for in boundless enthusiasm and headed out to "get the job done". Unfotunately for Jim, Alfie showed he was as good in front of the lens as he was behind it with some wave skills some pros would be proud of. Hart and Hilder go through.

Head Judge Duncan called an end to the days competition as the waves started to die leaving the Amateurs to wait until tomorrow to continue their battle.

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