Sligo surfers head to Japan for Olympic qualifiers
Two Sligo Surfing Club members will this week travel to Japan to compete in this weekend’s World Surfing Games in Tahara.
Kerry Larkin (inset) and Gearoid McDaid will take part in the championships which serves as a qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Kerry, a lecturer at the Institute of Technology in Sligo has been lecturing in Bachelor of Sport with Business at IT Sligo for the past twelve years and is also currently managing the campus surf club.
He is however best known for his surfing achievements, having competed in two European Championships and won both senior and masters national championships.
Kerry also recently achieved both a first and a second place in the Sligo Open surfing championships in the Masters Division and Open Division respectively.
This week’s competition is part of the selection procedure for 2020, which will be the first time surfing is recognised as an Olympic sport.
Kerry be- the age and gan surfing at of 14 was in- stantly hooked to the sport, quickly becoming an instructor at the Jamie Knox surf school in Brandon Bay in County Kerry.
In 1996, after finishing school in Tralee, the then student chose to study in Sligo.
Predominantly because of its surfing reputation and the appeal of having the opportunity to both getting a degree and surf regularly in Sligo.
So dedicated is Kerry to his sport, after lectures he would cycle everyday from Sligo to Strandhill with his surfboard under his arm.
Kerry is hugely passionate about surfing and says he would highly recommend anybody to take up the sport as a recreational hobby above all else:
“Sligo has the best coast in Europe for surfing”, he says.
“If you live in Sligo and don’t surf, it’s like living in the Alps and not skiing!
“Surfers come here from all over the world.
“The south-westerly off shore winds and granite reef make high quality and consistent waves.
“Combine this with relatively warm waters and long days, surfers can’t get enough.”
However, Kerry finds himself a little bemused at the lack of interest in surfing from Irish students.
“We have two German students coming to IT Sligo this year because of the added bonus of the surf we have here.
“I bring thirty students a month out surfing and mostly it’s all overseas students bar one or two Irish.”
Kerry joins fellow Sligo Surfing Club member and Calry man Gearoid in the three men and three women team who will represent Ireland in Japan.
Each surfer will be given twenty minutes in the water and are marked on power, speed and flow.
They will also be judged on their wave selection and technical ability on the board.
Kerry is delighted to have the chance to represent Ireland in Japan.
He says he hopes the Irish team’s achievements will help promote Sligo as a destination for surfing for everyone, including locals.
“The geology of Sligo’s coast makes it perfect for surfing”, he explains. “I’ve surfed all over the world. “People don’t realise this place is right up there as the best surfing destination on the planet.
“I would really encourage any student coming to IT Sligo this year to take up surfing”
The World Surfing Championship takes place in Tahara, Japan from this Saturday, September 15th with competition taking place up until the 22nd.
Kerry Larkin, Lecturer at IT Sligo who is travelling to Japan this week to take part in the World Surfing Games in Tahara.