DAY 1 SUNDAY 9th
The late night ferry from Fishguard left us in Rosslare at half six in the morning. A steady four hour drive and we made it to a sunny Brandon Bay. After getting our bearings and seeing great SUP conditions it made sense to just get straight out on the water. Two hours later I was feeling the effects of only having a croissant for breakfast and a couple of hours sleep.
After refueling and resting a little we went back out for more – it made sense to make the most of the conditions. The bay is a beautiful spot on any day with that backdrop of misty hills. With the sun setting and glassy water it was hard to beat. Another couple of hours in the water and it was time to sample the Guinness and grab some food!
DAY 2 MONDAY 10th
A good nights sleep was needed. The water looked ok for another day on the SUP but instead we decided to go check out the local area. First we drove up Connor’s Pass – taking in the sights. We dropped down into picturesque Dingle – touristy but still maintaining its colourful charm. For lunch – Chowder at a place called Chowder.
Next we hit the Wild Atlantic Way on a tour of the Dingle Peninsula – the most western point in Europe. You cant help but pull over and take photos round here – especially on a sunny day like that.
That night was the riders meeting for the British Wavemasters competition. This is the real reason I was in Ireland. Somehow I was entered into the event – my first kite competition in 10 years.
DAY 3 – TUESDAY 11th
An early start for day three – riders meeting at 8am. The wind was blowing but the direction was far from ideal. The swell had also died down considerably. We waited around for a bit before making a plan to head to Gowlane – freeride for a bit then run 45 minute long jams. A tough day on the water with cross off conditions and minimal swell. Everyone made the most of the conditions though. I shot photos of the Pros and Masters before heading out myself.
Marc Rowley was on the beach and grabbed a few of my during my heat.
After a day on the beach – we retreated to the Green Room for a couple of pints before moving on to Spillanes for dinner and more pints.
DAY 4 – WEDNESDAY 12th
After a late night it was a slow morning. Time to catch up on some work and review photos. The wind was light and the surf flat. The sun was shining though so after lunch we headed out for a foil session. Cross shore – sandy beach to launch and fairly flat what. Not bad. After a relatively short session however the wind died down to nothing – I worked my kite hard and just made it back to shore. Others were not so lucky. Eventually all people and gear made it back to shore. The lack of sleep caught up with me – it was time for an early night.
DAY 5 – THURSDAY 13th
Even less wind than Wednesday and still no surf. Another morning working before hitting the road to explore. Inch strand is a huge sandy beach only a half hour drive away. We hoped the surf might be a little bigger there making it worth a SUP session but it really wasnt.
As we cruised back I crapped a quick sunset shot en route before heading back to Brandon bay to see what was up. Iain was out enjoying the odd little set that came in.
DAY 6 – FRIDAY 14th
Another day with no surf so the call was made and a strapless freestyle comp was run. The ones to watch were Danny Morrice, Ryan Coote, Lee Harvey and Tim Harley. With no kickers to use as ramps it was hard for the guys to do their tricks but they still did some impressive stuff.
As I was snapping away the wind died and the rain came in with moments of amazing light. This is much more the kind of weather I was expecting from Ireland!
Having not got wet (rain excluded) in a couple days we checked out Brandon hoping some waves had come in as forecast but no joy. The beach looked moody and before long heavy rain kicked in.
That night was a meal at prize giving. Always fun to get everyone together, celebrate, get to know people and enjoy some Guinness. I got on the podium too!
DAY 7 – SATURDAY 15th
Finally the swell had kicked in. The sun was shining. We decided to prioritise a morning SUP session over clearing out the house and checking out. A decision we would never regret. Perfect shoulder high waves, good friends, sunshine and even dolphins! It doesn’t get much better than that! After a couple of hours in the water it was time to rush back, pack up, and get out of the house.
We had time to kill before an evening ferry so opted for a hike to see the waves break at Garywilliam Point. Amazing scenery all the way and plenty of photo taking opportunities.
All that was left was the drive home! There is no doubt I will be back in Ireland soon – hopefully Spring 2017. The place is exactly what I wanted – a rugged and raw coastline, with potential for amazing conditions. There is no way anyone who loves the outdoors could get bored here no matter the conditions.
For more of my shots and Rou’s prose check out the IKSURFMAG write up – British Kitesurfing Championships Wavemasters 2016 – Brandon Bay, Ireland