Pearse Geaney: smile, you've won

Tracht Beach in Kinvara, Co Galway was the final location of the 2010 Irish Slalom Series. A massively successful year in terms of numbers and participants the final event was going to be a success, wind or no wind. Unfortunately for the numbers who travelled we got the only wind-less weekend for months. However, as usual that never stopped the event organisers in Galway putting on a good show.

Run over the October Bank Holiday weekend, traditionally acquainted with wind, chop and small sails, we were extremely unlucky not to have any racing. But as usual with these events it didn’t stop the ISS fleet from taking to the water.

Fun racing was organised and over thirty sails took to the water with the competitive edge normally associated with our races still in place. With a diminishing light breeze a lot of pumping was in order to get around the upwind mark. A strengthening women’s fleet saw Anna Ryan, Eilis NiDhuill and Laura McCauley fight it out around the markers while newcomers like Michael Dardis to the series got an insight into the complexity of racing. Great to see new people at the events and also welcoming back world travellers like Eoghan Cudamore.

All looking good for next years racing! Saturday ended with no official races but at least the event organisers had us all well fed with warm soup and ‘rather posh’ sandwiches supplied by local Publican Michael Keogh.

The Irish Slalom Series has continued to attract new people to our events but importantly kept others coming back. We are especially grateful to local sailor and new Irish Slalom racer Alex Brett. Alex, living in Kinvara, was constantly on hand to offer assistance over the weekend and was heard more than once ‘if you need anything just let me know’. And we did ask – for a boat! Thanks to Alex for supplying a boat to cover safety.

However, as the event organisers will tell you, nothing ever goes that smoothly. A slight mishap with the boat meant it could only go in reverse! The Kinvara locals were telling stories that night of two Donegal men and a Cork man going in reverse across the Bay. John Boyce’s Sat nav was slightly off but the men found their way to the pier in Kinvara.

Racing was cancelled on the Sunday but some of the ISS competitors took to the water and took advantage of the flat calm waters of Tracht beach. Kevin Cunningham was seen free-styling on his SUP while Aidan Grandfield was attempting 360’s on Slalom gear and still no wind. Great to see people on the water though!

Like everything the wind arrived on the Bank Holiday Monday. Some of the crew took the chance to hit the waves of the west coast in Fanore and got some fantastic conditions on 4.7’s while some of the Slalom crowd hit the water on sails ranging from 5.5 to 9.4 and were truly blasted off the water.

That was it for a fantastic weekend. Kinvara as a location was perfect, welcoming and with huge potential for next year should the wind kick in. The organisation as usual was perfect and the competitors treated like pros for a couple of days.

The overall winners for the ISS Slalom Series Gold Fleet 2010 are:

1st Place Overall Winner Pearse Geaney
2nd Place Overall Maurice Owens
3rd Place Hannes Louet-Feisser

1st Grandmaster went to Chris Loughridge

Youth prize went to Matt McNutt who received the Surfdock sponsored quiver of race gear. This prize was originally initiated by the late Alan Harris of Surfdock. Matt was an extremely worthy recipient of such a great prize and I’m sure he’ll push on for further honours next year.

Overall Winner in Ladies Category: Alison Beirne

A special prize was given under the ‘Most improved sailor in the Gold Fleet: Glen Worden

The overall winners for the ISS Slalom Series Silver Fleet 2010 are

1st Place Overall Winner Gary Pope
2nd Place Overall Kevin McGuinness
3rd Place James Kelly

Overall Winner in Ladies Category: Laura McCauley


SOURCE: Irish Slalom Series