The venue was set and the race crew rushed over from Scotland Kiteival event on the Monday morning Stena Line Ferry. Arriving in Dublin and crossing Ireland in the morning with the stunning scenery was a joy on the new Irish motorways.
We arrived in Brandon Bay with the sight of 30 riders on the water warming up in cross-off 3ft perfection – however as soon as the race crew decided to hit the water on their day off the wind dropped!
The morning arrived with registration took place at Spillane’s the center of all activities for the week. A record number of riders registered in this the 5th year of the BKSA Wavemasters. There were 24 Men, 9 seniors, and 4 Ladies 5 of which were from the IKSA the Irish National Kitesurfing Association.
Competition kicked off at 12.30 pm with a strong Southerly blowing – the beach of choice was Stony Gap a great little sport that had great grass rigging areas in the dunes and a great viewing platform.
The riders were well powered on 9 , 8 and even 7 m were in use – however, the waves were small – 2ft at best. The ladies and seniors were first out in a mix of heats and performed well under the tough conditions – it was very hard to read the swell lines. The rain came in about 4 pm and the wind disappeared.
The forecast was SW so we all headed to Gowlane at 10 am – the event was set up and the wind blew through enough to run the final of the ladies – standouts on port tack was World Champ and former two times BKSA wavemaster winner Kirsty Jones and European Freestyle champ Celine Coullard – Kirsty Jones taking the win on round 1. The wind did not play ball for the Seniors who were left standing around on the beach in wetsuits waiting for the wind to fill in which of course it did not – competition was called off at 4.30 pm.
This was always forecast to be the best day and it certainly delivered wind from the North giving starboard riding. We all met at Dumps and although the swell was small it steadily increased during the day to peek at approx 5ft towards the finals. The day kicked off with the semis of the Seniors - Marc Rowley and Trevor Hale had made it to the Final while 3 battled it out for one last place – Richard Gowers secured this. There was a short break and the final got underway in marginal 9 m weather Hale, Rowley and Gowers battled it out in the 3ft surf for 10 minutes. It was close between Hale and Gowers – Trevor Hale had a great power however it was Richard Gowers better wave selection and more vertical attack that took the win.
The Mens comp then got underway – Early upsets in the first rounds were Paul Stebbings taking 1st place against Richard Sills and also Dom Yule taking out top Irish Seed Ryan Cootes – they were to have a second chance however as we were running a reportage which enabled riders to have a second chance to get through.
Round 2 saw the wind pick up and most of the top riders got through as predicted, Ryan Coote, Richard Sills still in the comp.
Styles were vastly different from unstrapped unhooked to strapped and hooked in – strapped looking like the best option as the waves were extremely choppy and unpredictable.
Round 3 saw some upsets and early departures for Neal Gent, George Noble, James Waters, and Dave Ibbertson.
Semi number one saw Richard Sills against Dom Yule – Yule had ridden considerably well during the whole comp riding strapped however it was Sills who with increased waves managed to get more vertical and snappy to secure his place in the final.
Semi number two had 3 riders two strapless and one strapped. Will Bennett was on fire looking like he had straps to take 1st while Rob Sayer took some great waves to take 2nd and Lee Harvey in 3rd leaving the comp to take 5th overall.
The Final with now 5 judges on hand was next up with 3 times BKSA Wavemasters champ Will Bennett up against Richard Sills – his toughest opponent to date. Richard had some great waves and smacked vertical however Will’s linked turns and smacked lips and his uncanny wave selection of finding the best waves secured another win for the 4th year in a row.
In the losers final it was the two outsiders who had ridden fantastically during the event Dom Yule and Rob Sayer both with straps who took to the water for the final heat of the day – Dom was unable to match Rob’s wave selection and while putting in some great rides Rob powered his way to a well-deserved 3rd
That night Spillane’s was packed with happy competitors content that the event had been completed and afterward it was back to Gareth (Mogsy) Morgan for Karaoke. There was only one major injury of the week and that fell to Tara (Mrs. Pasty) at this Karoke evening – a trip to the hospital the next day saw Tara with plaster around her ankle!
The swell had picked up even more and the wind swung a touch more offshore after a few beaches were checked out we decided to set up once again at Stony Gap.
Two more rounds of Ladies took place with starboard conditions favoring Debbie Kennedy and Kirsty Jones who both rode some long walls and get some great riding in. Celine Coullard put in a great try on her backhand however it was not enough to save her 2nd place, Debbie thus took two more 2nds to get her 2nd overall and Kirsty 1st.
The Mens and Seniors went for a free session as it was too light to run an official competition. The waves had increased up to 3m and 16-second intervals with large kites (11-14m) the only things enough to get you upwind. The waves were fantastic and most riders caught a few waves of their lives.
The night was spent with a great BBQ prepared by Freestyle Race Director Mark Ward and the Flag girls! Ossie did a great job for the 40 people who turned up on the Industrial BBQ that Ryan Coote bought along.
There was no wind on the Saturday – riders scored many surf reefs such as Mossies and Gary Williams in classic clean conditions.
Prize giving was done at Spillane’s at 9.30pm
Competitors received Glass trophies and a prize fund split of £1000
King of Watersports
Best Waves – awarded to Lee “Pasty” Harvey