The second round of the IWA/O\'Neill Wavesailing Championships took place in Achill Island on Ireland\'s West Coast last weekend.
Run by Ruth and Gareth Allen from Windwise, Ireland\'s wave and freestyle sailors headed west on the promise of a good forecast and the possibility of catching some of the first autumn gales. Also adding to the large numbers of sailors, the WOWI girls (Women of Windsurfing Ireland) were on a coaching weekend with Gareth on the lake while Ruth ran the entire wave event on Keel beach.
On Saturday the wind delivered with 5.0m weather in the morning, cross onshore starboard tack, eventually dropping to 5.6m weather in the competition area. The conditions suited the Dublin based sailors and saw the likes of Stephen Williams, Colin Kidger Ray-Kidge & Rob Crean posting their best ever results in 4th, while Mikey Clancy joined Finn Mullen and Oisin van Gelderen to advance to the final. Oisin fought hard and took the win with Finn in second, putting a bit of space between the two in the overall Championship rankings so far.
On Sunday morning, torrential rain damped spirits (and the many sore heads who were out partying till 5am.. the Achill night club is ledgendary), but the rain soon cleared to sunshine and lighter cross shore winds. Back into action, the next round kicked off and competiton got underway with just waveriding to count.
The wind did not play ball though, and finally the event had to stop at semi-final stage with only the resuts from the previous day counting. Many took to the water for a final surf (or SUP-surf) and all are looking forward now as the IWA tour moves on to Cork in two weeks time, Galway for freestyle two weeks later, and the mega-final in Belmullet a fortnight after that.
For more info on the IWA or windsurfing in Ireland go to: www.sailing.ie/windsurf