2009 Irish Wave Tour

For anyone who has sailed here during one of the finals in the past few years will have noticed that it gets windy this time of the year around Belmullet and this year was no exception.

In total we sailed three rounds of Gold fleet competitions and six rounds of Silver fleet comp, changed beach half way through Saturday, survived consistent 35 knot winds with 49 knot gusts and basked in the sunny weather on Sunday while buzzing on Red Bull and background music!

Saturday
Saturday’s comp kicked off on Caisléan beach with a southwesterly, 4.5 metre wind and 2 foot waves, The first few rounds started off with nice big back loops and stalled forwards from Oisin Van Geldron, Finn Mullen and Dan Gardner and Rob Creane going for full on spin loops on the way in. The waves were still small and the wind was going more onshore as the morning went on so jumps were counting the most to get through the rounds. 

These conditions didn’t last too long and by the time the Silver fleet hit the water for their first heat (40 minutes into the comp) the wind was already at a 30 knot average, the average sail size was 3.7 and the wind had gone completely onshore. Sailing out through the waves was still pretty exciting; if you hit the ramp you were going skyward. The silver fleet sailors, Bartek Furmaniuk, Alison Beirne, Paul Reid and James Lang all sailed like champions with some pretty amazing jumps all through their heat.

By the time their heat was over and we were back into the Gold fleets 5th heat, the wind had gotten even windier 3.2m sails the average size with Oisin breaking out his secret weapon a 2.9m! After a few more heats the wind was dead onshore, the waves had built to 4 or 5 feet and sailing became extreme. After lunch and few cans of Red Bull there was a sailors meeting with the judges and the decision was made to move location. The wind had swung around enough to make it sailable in Falmore, where the waves were smaller, but punchier but more importantly the wind was crosshore.

Once in Falmore we quickly got start on finishing the rounds, the new conditions allowed for better wave riding, everyone was going for high speed down the line waves and aerials as the end of the wave sped towards them. Stand out moves of the second have of the day was Mark Killeen getting 4 high speed turns on the wave. Amazing forwards from Mark, Dan G, Finn and Oisin with Table tops from Finn, Dan and Chris. Dan G after many attempts gets a one handed Goiter on the wave, Oisin intentionally or not I’m not sure but almost getting a double Pushloop and last but not least in the Gold fleet final at the exact same time and only 20 feet away from each other Finn pulled off a huge tweaked pushloop almost perfectly synchronized Oisin floats around an equally high perfect Backloop.
 
The results of the gold fleet final and semi final after Saturday was:
Finn Mullen,
Oisin Van Geldron,
Dan Gardner
Jeff Cochrane
Alex Duggan
Mark Killeen
Chris Cassidy
Katie McAnena
Nathan Connelly

Sunday:
Sunday morning was a much more easy going day in Falmore. Conditions started off with hard to find waves about waist high getting more consistant as the days went on, the wind was 4.5 to 5.3m, Cross to Cross off by the end of the day, the sun was shining and the music was pumping...if you were standing next to the judges van at least.

With the less hectic conditions than the day before and a forecast for the wind to die by lunchtime we ran a knock out round for the gold fleet and as many silver fleet rounds as we could fit in. With only two sailors getting through from each heat we quickly flew through Round 2 of the gold fleet and Rounds 4 and 5 of the silver fleet before lunch. With conditions only allowing for wave’s to be scored only the competition between sailors got closer. Especially in the Silver fleet, while Bartek Furmaniuk dominated, he still had to sail hard as the young Galwegian James Lang and not so young Dubliner Paul Reid fought to knock him from the first place with Paul succeeding once or twice. Although it has to be said the legend of the day has to be the gung-ho Ali Beirne who got taken out by a solid wave on the inside breaking a mast in her first heat. Shook it off, got a new mast and broke it too as she was cleaned out on the rocks in her second heat...not someone who gives up easily she connected the two broken halves together (I don’t know if the warranty would cover that!!) and sailed a blinder in her third heat of the day.

The gold fleet’s second round of the weekend was finished by lunchtime and the waves only scoring seem to shake up the scores a bit with the results of the final and semi final completely different to the day before:

Oisin Van Geldron
Mark Killeen
Jeff Cochrane
Alex Duggan
Finn Mullen
Chris Cassidy
Dan Gardner
Katie McAnena

With the wind still blowing, the sun still shining and Red Bull keeping the event crew going we went into round 3 of the gold fleet and round 6 of the silver. The wind had gotten a bit lighter and more cross off and competitors were going for broke on the waves. Oisin’s speed down the line was amazing, throwing loads of spray in his turns, Katie was going deep on some of the biggest sets of the day. With Alex and Chris showing that one handed waveriding scored well in the last round everyone was going one handed to try and beat them. Dan went for endless amounts of one handed goiters and on one wave Finn got 4 one-handed top turns including a very stylish hair flick aerial over Dan Gardners head.

At the end of round 3 the results were:
Finn Mullen
Oisin Van Geldron
Alex Duggan
Jeff Cochrane
Dan Gardner
Chris/Nathan
Katie McAnena

When the results were totalled and discards added for the IWA Wavesailing 2009 season. It was as follows:

Finn in First place
Oisin in Second place
Alex in Third

Well done to everyone who competed this weekend, I’m not sure if the photos do the conditions justice but for part of the weekend just sailing was an effort never mind doing it stylishly. Thanks again to my support crew and the Judges as well as John Joes Pub who supplied the wine and helped with the prizes, Red Bull and Oisin for bringing the tent which can now be force 9 rated, red bull magazines and all the Red Bull you could need. Hopefully we’ll see you all again next year.


SOURCE: Irish Sailing