Wednesday, 06 June 2012 07:59
Irish Slalom Series – Event 2 Castlegregory, Kerry
The ISS team has been extensively engaging with international linguists to gather a word / wording to describe last Saturday’s racing in Kerry. Academic brains from across the globe were sought for their advice but in the end it took a windsurfer from Downings to sum it up ‘an orgy of windsurfing’. A steady 20-25 knots of wind picked up around 11am and stayed for the day complemented by blue / green flat water conditions. To be clear, we can categorically state that there was no where better to be windsurfing than Castlegregory on Saturday.
Windsurfers are prone to exaggeration, it’s in our nature! References like ‘its pickin up out there’, ‘forecast said its set to improve’, ‘i made most of my gybes’ are commonly heard in beaches across the country.
We are not exaggerating when we say that the racing in Kerry on Saturday was one of the best sporting spectacles this country will see over the summer. Even Jamie Knox conceded he was blown away. Conditions were perfect for nearly 40 competitors across Gold and Silver Fleets. 10 races were held back to back by OD’s for the weekend Greg Day and Aiden Breslin.
Paul Reid a veteran of Irish Slalom Racing summed up Saturday’s racing by saying ‘I was going down the wrong road. I was actually considering joining Dublin Surf Club, and at one really low point, I was checking websites to see if Kite Surfing Lessons had come down in price. Now after that day’s racing things are looking up’.
Racing commenced early on Saturday morning with one of our largest silver fleets to date. We were glad to welcome some new faces such as Craig Connolly and Tim Mullen to the fold. They say the first time is always the hardest but the two lads took to it like a duck to water and we look forward to seeing them again at Downings.
Some new faces but old hands turned up for some racing on Saturday morning. Local celebrity and all round nice guy Rob Jones (Irish Wavesailing Champion) turned up on some brand new kit which was either stolen or borrowed from his brother. Rob provided a lesson in technique staying on a 6.2 metre sail and 84 litre slalom board all day.
With back to back racing commencing with the Silver fleet some stand out performances were had by Steven Lawless, who consistently finished in the top 3. With this effort we’ll forgive him for being in bed by 9pm! Paul Green always has a good event in Kerry and this was no different picking up 1st Place overall in the Silver Fleet. One of the first to get planing from either fleets was Joanne Murphy and winner of the overall Ladies fleet, pipping Eilis Nihill to the prize. The Silver fleet competition was immense with very little separating the fleet. Unfortunately we were not tracking speed but it was fair to say Gene O’Hare and Gary Browne were having a good tussle all day, particularly at the gybe marks. Robert Polak is continuing to improve and landed himself 7th overall just behind Brian Coll. The Silver Fleet had initially started out on a limited course but moved up to the Gold fleet course after a couple of races.
The wave-sailing phenomenon Rob Jones entered the Gold Fleet mix looking for dual champion status but fortunately was held off by veteran performer and all round musician Maurice Owens, who took 1st place in the event. Fintan Day and William ‘Wookie’ Revels were having a god tussle for 3rd place with Fintan taking it with less than 2 points. Barry ‘the bat’ Whitelaw was in serious form in the first few races with a ‘serious ability to get going quick’. Not a skill always called upon in life but one essential component in windsurfing.
Kevin McGuinness was seen proudly sporting the gold fleet bib after his Silver Fleet success in 2011 and the consequential promotion. He took the success from last year and continued with some fine racing and nearly won the Master Blast. A special award has to be given to Kevin Cunningham for wearing sun glasses throughout each race and not letting them fall off – not one gybe missed all day! Aiden Granfield had one of his highest finishes to a race day but takes the prize for best nose dive.
The success of this event is down to the contribution of Greg Day, Aiden Breslin and Jamie Knox Watersports. Both spent long days in the boats overseeing racing, recording results and supervising safety. A big thanks to both! We also have to give a special mention to Tim in the Seven Hogs for feeding us and the village of Castlegregory for hosting us. We also have to thank Jamie Knox Watersports for sponsoring prizes and a big shout out to Jeremy in the Shop. Finally, we were fortunate enough to have a professional capture the results of the weekend in Tim Smith. A big thank you to Tim who took shots from land, sea and boat. Check out www.timsmithvisuals.com for a proper perspective or www.irishslalom.ie
Everyone woke up on Sunday morning, looked out the window to hear birds singing, and not a puff of wind, followed by a thank god. A number of light weights went to bed early and will in future be named and shamed here – bats are supposed to be night creatures!
It’s safe to say the entire fleet drove out of Kerry Sunday evening after prize giving with a big grin. Downings is up next and i have a feeling there will be a big turn out.