There is plenty of wind here but not much swell on the first day of the UKWA Wave Round 1 event in Brandon Bay, Ireland.

As usual, the day before saw head high peelers at Inch Strand with a cross offshore wind allowing the sailors who came early for some pre-event practice an awesome day of wave riding.

We have had some late entries this morning; Steve Thorpe arrived fresh off the ferry with Russ Tetlow and Rich Potter and then we have current UKWA Wave champion John Hibbard who arrived about midday following a nightmare journey back from Maui (it’s a tough life)! John is hoping to get off to a good start this season on the mission to regain his title, but then Andy King is back once more to challenge that top spot. Having spent the winter at home in Cornwall, Andy has something to prove going against guys who have been abroad training in warmer climes for the last few months. Stuck on Maui doing photoshoots are John Skye, Chris Audsely, Phil Horrocks, Ben Proffitt, James Cox and Jamie Hancock so it really could be an Andy .v. John special. But then don’t count out Steve ‘WaveJam’ Thorpe or Oisin Van Gelderen in the Pro fleet. #

In the Amateurs, Nigel Treacy from Llandudno is the favourite although the Wilcox brothers are taking competition seriously this year and hope to teach Nigel a lesson in winning wave heats! Scott McDowell, who consistently winds the Amateurs on Tiree, has been put in the Pro fleet so it’s up against the big boys for the Scottish Master! Alexsy Gayda is the strong favourite in the Youth fleets especially with his new 45 litre Goya Wave custom (more on that later). Then the Ladies fleet is not looking too bad with two Irish ladies and three English girls expected on Saturday – let the games begin!

However, with diddly squat swell on the first day of the event, Jamie Knox has decided to call a fun freestyle event to get everyone into competition mode at Scragane Bay in the very strong south-east winds. Currently the men are sailing on 3.7m and the youths and women on 3m and less! Although the IWA event doesn’t start till Saturday, quite a few Irish sailors have entered the UK event and the standard in freestyle alone is very impressive. It will be really interesting to see who comes out on top between the Irish and the UK sailors.

More updates + action pics later.

PHOTOS: Scragane Bay, John Hibbard and a happy Jamie Knox!

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