Recently in Surfing Category

Aileen's is the perfect wave

surf_Aileens.jpgLORNA SIGGINS, Marine Correspondent The Irish Times

IT IS a magnet for surfers, a nightmare for rescue agencies, and now it has attracted the attention of NUI Galway (NUIG) researchers.

A team of geoscientists at NUIG have found that north Clare's infamous surf break, Aileen's, is the nearest thing to the "perfect wave".

What's more, the NUIG team has applied computer modelling and physical analysis to determine how Aileen's regularly reaches wave heights of over nine metres (29.5 feet). National seabed survey data shows the full extent of the jagged shallow rocky reef that helps to create it.

Aileen's, which breaks below the 200-metre-high Cliffs of Moher in north Clare some four kilometres southwest of Doolin, has become a key location on the world surfing map, and was captured in the award-winning Waveriders film documentary by Joel Conroy in 2008.

Cliff diver jumps into Serpent's Lair (Poll na Peist)

A world champion diver has successfully completed a death-defying stunt at one of Ireland's most remote spots - The Serpent's Lair or Poll na Peist on Inis Mor on the Aran Islands.

Colombian Orlando Duque travelled to Inis Mór on the Aran Islands last weekend to jump 26m (78ft) into the Serpent's Lair or Poll na Peist - a blowhole carved out by Atlantic swells.

The 34-year-old made the dive as he prepares for competition in France next month.

"The Serpent's Lair is one of those places that you only hear stories about," Duque said.

"Finding the place and being able to dive there was one of the highlights of my career. Hopefully in the future we can bring a cliff diving competition to Ireland."

The Serpent's lair is a near-perfect rectangular hole, chiselled out of rock at the bottom of cliffs on Inis Mor. In ancient mythology it was home to a Sea Serpent and the sound of screeching stormy winds is said to be the monster making its presence felt.

Nine-time world champion Duque has dived from as high as 34m, with the cliff-top jump filmed for the "9Dives" feature.

"There's a gigantic difference between 26 and 34 meters. The pool looks as small as a pinhead, and the water is as hard as concrete. The slightest error and ... No, it's better not even to think about it," Duque said.

Cliff diving involves athletes leaping into water from heights of 23m to 28m for men and 18m to 23m for women.

Divers have about three seconds to co-ordinate their forms and movements before they hit the surface of the water at around 100km/h with a flat landing, known as a pancake, compared with landing on concrete from 13m.

Duque travelled to Ireland as part of his training for the Red Bull Cliff Diving Series on May 8 in La Rochelle, France.

Surfer (56) killed off Inis Oírr

A Dublin man who died in a surfing accident off the Aran island of Inis Oírr at the weekend has been named as David Deering (56), a father of two, from Mount Merrion.

Mr Deering was an experienced surfer and it is believed he hit his head in a fall from the surfboard off the southwest of Inis Oírr last Saturday evening. He was pulled ashore and his son administered first aid.

The crew of the Irish Coast Guard Sikorsky helicopter from Shannon also assisted, but Mr Deering could not be revived. His body was flown to Limerick Regional Hospital.

Mr Deering was a keen sports enthusiast, who coached many pupils at Willow Park and Blackrock College schools. He was also director of a company which ran summer courses for children in soccer and rugby.

Winter Waves, brave souls

By Sarah Lyall

BUNDORAN, Ireland -- It was a typical late-winter day on the Irish coast, no worse than usual. Bands of black clouds sailed ominously across the sky. Rain bucketed down in freezing torrents. Icy winds pummeled and churned the ocean.

The New York Times

Cold, rough water has brought surfing renown to Bundoran.

Joanne Fulton sat in her wet suit with a group of friends in a van in the parking lot above the beach, ashen and shivering.

This is après-surf, Irish style, and the whole enterprise has a unique and subtle appeal. "It is very, very cold," Ms. Fulton observed. "But once you get in, the wet suit keeps you warm. Although my hands actually have no feeling. Or my face and feet."

There's more

Kelly Slater's One Track Mind

In One Track Mind, a film by Chris Malloy, surfing greats sit down to talk about what has shaped their success--from their competition to their boards. You can watch Chris Malloy speaking with Kelly Slater and other surfers, and read a review of the movie, on EXPN. Outside covered the Malloy brothers in a 2007 cover story.