Three years later and I am back for more kitesurfing in Brandon Bay. It is again time for the annual British Kitesurfing Wavemasters competition. Last time we were blessed with sunshine and fun little waves but not the type of conditions the Dingle Peninsula is famed for. It is called the Wild Atlantic Way for a reason. This time we turned up in the wake of Storm Lorenzo and things were different.
As usual it was a late night ferry on Saturday and a long drive before reaching the stunning scenery of County Kerry midday Sunday. The wind had died down so I went in for a quick SUP. Not the best conditions and no doubt there was better on offer round the bay if I had travelled, but I had spent long enough in the van. I got some waves and was feeling comfortable on my board. Dinner at Spillanes, a catch up with everyone and an early night.
Monday morning and after a quick briefing the competition was due to kick off. The wind and swell were starting to build. An incredible lineup of the UK’s finest waveriders took to the water for the Pro Mens comp and it was great to watch. I took some shots before heading into the water myself to make the most of the great conditions – its not every day you get to ride cross off conditions like this.
The next day it was my turn to compete, the swell had again ramped up and the wind was howling. The conditions were pretty fierce but it was good to get out. I am pretty sure I rode the biggest waves I have ever ridden this day. The walls of whitewater made getting out a challenge and soon the competition was black flagged for the day.
We spent the afternoon exploring Connor’s Pass and scrambling around before heading down to Dingle.
A change of location for Wednesday to complete the ams, masters and ladies competition and hold the strapless freestyle comp. The wind started a bit low first thing but rapidly built. I started the day on a 9m and within a couple of hours was holding onto my 5m. Competition did not go my way but I headed out for one of the best sessions I have had this year. This location is truly stunning.
After spending most of the day in a wet wetsuit I saw a few riders heading out to the reef break so I grabbed the camera and hiked along the cliffs to get some shots. Neal Gent, Mike Dawson, Mark Shinn, Tim Harley and Graham Halliday were the riders.
Thursday was a slow start. The wind was relentless again and after being wind and sand blasted for a few days it was good to do something different. We went over to Tralee for a wander and lunch. That night it was prize giving so everyone was in Spillanes again savouring the Guinness.
By Friday the wind had died down. After a morning catching up on some work I decided to give Wing Foiling a go. I had an Ozone WASP with me and never having had a go figured the flat water area would be ideal for learning. I got the hang of using the wing and manoeuvring it however didn’t have enough wind or technique to get up foiling. Next time! It was the last night so it was dinner at the pub and a load more pints of the black stuff.
On Saturday morning there were some perfect little waves, the sun was shining and I was gutted to be leaving. Time for another SUP – this time with a couple of dolphins for company. This place really is special! After that it was just the drive back East to Rosslare, a sunset walk on the beach then onto the ferry.