Gravis Co Sligo Open

Strandhill played host to a busy weekend of surfing with the Gravis Co Sligo Open and Irish Team Training taking place.

The Denny Irish Junior and Senior Surf Teams due to compete at the World Surfing Games and the European Surfing Championships later this year arrived in Strandhill on Friday for a training camp led by top Australia coach, Peter Cook.

The camp was combined with the Gravis Co Sligo Open, postponed in August due to lack of surf but this time around with good surf and a great crowd the Co Sligo Surf Club once again hosted a top rate event.

The event saw surfers competing at a higher standard than every before with some unexpected results. The upsets began on Saturday in the U18 Boys when two under 12 surfers, Gearoid Mc Daid (Sligo) and Aaron O’Hare (Strandhill) turned heads by progressing to the quarter finals.

Eleven year old Gearoid continued to impress along with fourteen year old Iarom Madden (Bundoran) charging all the way to the final while big names such as Irish Junior Champion, Owen Murphy (Bundoran) and James Garvey (Castlederg) were eliminated.

In the final Gearoid and Iarom faced off against Ronan Oertzen (Sligo) and Damien Conway (Lahinch). Gearoid opened the scoring with a long ride and some big manoeuvres that had the local crowd cheering on the shore.

The judges struggled to agree on a winner with each surfer riding several high scoring waves during the final. When tabulated Iarom emerged in 1st place, Damien 2nd, Ronan 3rd and young Gearoid in 4th.

The U18 Bodyboard was an all Sligo final with Rory O’Dowd 1st, David Mulcahy 2nd,  Conor Flanaghan 3rd and Shane Daly 4th. Tahlia Britton (Rossnowlagh) dominated the U18 Girls final with a number of high scoring waves. She was followed in 2nd place by Ione Byrne (Aughris) who put in a solid performance. Amy May Garvey (Castlederg) finished 3rd and Niamh Kelly (Strandhill) 4th.

There were two Irish titles up for grabs at the event, the Irish Senior  (28+) and Masters (35+) titles. Stevie Burns (Portrush) defended his Irish Masters Title with a fine display of surfing while John Britton (Rossnowlagh) took his first Irish Senior title.

Another standout at the event was Nicole Morgan (Bundoran). Nicole has dominated this year’s Women’s UK Pro Tour and has been making her mark on the Women’s European Pro Tour. She took the women’s title with ease, surfing with power, grace and style. Ione Byrne finished 2nd, Tahlia Britton 3rd and Amy May Garvey 4th. 

Again the Bodyboard division saw some upsets with two under sixteen surfers, Rory O’Dowd (Strandhill) and Ordhran Mc Govern (Strandhill) making the final. However it was local hero, Shane Meehan who was crowned champion, with Ordhran 2nd, Darragh Mc Carter (Bundoran) 3rd and Rory 4th.

Current Irish SUP Champion, Emmet O’Doherty (Bundoran) showed his versatility by crossing over to the longboard event where he dominated with an animated display of progressive longboarding. Steive Burns (Portrush) finished 2nd, John Mc Curry (Portrush) 3rd and fifteen year old Craig Butler from Tramore took 4th. 

The Open final was contested by Aaron Reid (Sligo), Ronan Oertzen (Sligo), Stephen Kilfeather (Strandhill) and Fergal Smith (Westport). This final was sensational with all four surfers on fire. Spectators were treated to the finest display of powerful and radical surfing by Ireland’s best.

Fergal Smith’s polished performance led him to victory but he was push all the way by the other three. Stephen  Kilfeather took 2nd followed by Aaron Reid in 3rd and Ronan Oertzen in 4th.

U18 Bodyboard

1. Rory O’Dowd, Strandhill

2. David Mulcahy, Sligo

3. Conor Flanaghan, Sligo

4. Shane Daly, Sligo

U18 Girls Surf

1. Tahlia Britton

2. Ione Byrne

3. Amy May Grvey

4. Niamh Kelly

U18 Boys Surf

1. Iarom Madden, Bundoran

2. Damien Conway, Lahinch

3. Ronan Oertzen, Sligo

4. Gearoid Mc Daid, Sligo


1. Shane Meehan, Strandhill

2. Oran Mc Govern, Strandhill

3. Darragh Mc Carter, Bundoran

4. Rory O’Dowd, Strandhill


1. Emmet O’Doherty

2. Stevie Burns, Portrush

3. John Mc Curry, Portrush

4. Craig Bulter, Tramore 

Women’s Surf

1. Nicole Morgan, Bundoran

2. Ione Byrne, Aughris

3. Tahlia Britton, Rossnowlagh

4. Amy May Garvey, Castlederg

Open Surf

1. Fergal Smith, Westport

2. Stephen Kilfeather, Strandhill

3. Aaron Reid, Sligo

4. Ronan Oertzen, Sligo

Irish Senior Championships

1. John Britton, Rossnowlagh

2. Kieran Scullion, Sligo

3. Emmet O’Doherty, Bundoran

4. Neil Britton, Rossnowlagh

Irish Masters Championship

1. Stevie Burns, Portrush

2. Finn Mullen, Sligo

3. Jim Meehan, Bundoran

4. Henery Moore, Tramore

ASP Mundaka 08

Contest officials made the 45 minute drive to assess conditions at the back-up site of Sopelana this morning but ultimately decided to call ASP World Tour competition off for the day.

According to Surfline, the official forecaster of the Billabong Pro Mundaka, the Basque region of Spain should pick up building swell throughout the afternoon and conditions will likely be contestable tomorrow.

When Round 1 does commence, local surfer Aritz Aranburu (EUK) will go up against Kai Otton (AUS) and Heitor Alves (BRA) in the first heat of the event. A call on competition status will be made at 8am at Sopelana tomorrow

Billabong Pro Mundaka Round 1 Heat Match-Ups:

Heat 1: Kai Otton (AUS), Heitor Alves (BRA), Aritz Aranburu (EUK)*
Heat 2: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Mick Campbell (AUS), Ricky Basnett (ZAF)
Heat 3: Adrian Buchan (AUS), Pancho Sullivan (HAW), Nic Muscroft (AUS)
Heat 4: C.J. Hobgood (USA), Roy Powers (HAW), Manoa Drollet (PYF)
Heat 5: Bobby Martinez (USA), Ben Dunn (AUS), Gabe Kling (USA)
Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Jordy Smith (ZAF), Tim Boal (FRA)
Heat 7: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Tim Reyes (USA), Mark Occhilupo (AUS)
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA), Taylor Knox (USA), Reubyn Ash (GBR)
Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS), Damien Hobgood (USA), Marco San Segundo (EUK)*
Heat 10: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Tom Whitaker (AUS), Hodei Collazo (EUK)*
Heat 11: Luke Stedman (AUS), Jay Thompson (AUS), Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 12: Chris Ward (USA), Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA), Jihad Khodr (BRA)
Heat 13: Dayyan Neve (AUS), Mikael Picon (FRA), Leonardo Neves (BRA)
Heat 14: Dane Reynolds (USA), Tiago Pires (PRT), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 15: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Daniel Wills (AUS), Ben Bourgeois (USA)
Heat 16: Kieren Perrow (AUS), Royden Bryson (ZAF), Luke Munro (AUS)

*(EUK) is the abbreviation for Euskadi – the Basque region of Spain.

ASP Mundaka 2008

The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour wrapped up an exciting week of competition last week at the Quiksilver Pro France, with eight-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (Cocoa Beach, FL), 36, missing his ninth world title by a loss in the Final to dark horse Adrian Buchan (Avoca Beach, AUS), 26. Slater is not far from the 2008 title however, needing only a ninth place finish at the upcoming Billabong Pro Mundaka to seal the deal.

Bobby Martinez (Santa Barbara, CA), 26, Dane Reynolds (Ventura, CA) 23, and Damien Hobgood (Satellite Beach, FL) were standout performers in France as well.

Slater’s runner up finish in France marked his sixth Final appearance out of eight events held to date and was the only time he entered a Final and did not come out with a win.

The second place result forces Slater to look towards Mundaka to claim this year’s title. The ASP World Tour legend will only need two heat victories to be crowned 2008 ASP World Champion and his first heat will include fellow veteran Taylor Knox (Carlsbad, CA), 37, and event wildcard Reubyn Ash (Bude, GBR), 20.

“In Mundaka for some reason I haven’t had trouble in those wildcard heats but in Brazil I have before,” Slater said. “Taj and Mick haven’t won this year but they’ve both won in Brazil and they’ve gotten seconds and thirds in Mundaka, so those are good contests for those guys. But worse case scenario for me, it will be narrowed down to one guy at the next event.”

Martinez landed a fifth place finish in France, moving him to seventh overall on the ratings. The Santa Barbara native continues to be a dominating force amongst his competitors after his third year on tour and is still motivated to better his seed regardless of Slater’s dominating season.

“For me it’s different,” Martinez said. “I am new to this tour – I am not going to give up, I’m not going to quit just because Kelly won the title. I don’t care; I still want to do my best. People where I come from never had the opportunity to do stuff and I have one so I’m going to take it and run with it as far as I can. As much as people are over it after watching Kelly win all the time, I look at it like there are kids where I come from who have nothing and this is something big for me. I ain’t goin to quit. Kelly won, but for me it’s different. It ain’t over ‘till it’s over for me. I’m here and I’m going to run with it as far as I can.”

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