Surf’s up in Youghal for Munster
Up to 2,000 people are expected to arrive in Youghal next weekend when the town hosts its first Munster Surf Championships.
The championships will feature participants from surfing hotspots such as West Cork, Waterford, Clare and the Youghal club itself.
Youghal Surf Lifesaving chairman, Mark Ward, said 360 children aged eight to to 14 (nippers) and 150 aged 14-18 (juniors) will compete across the event.
“It’s safe to say the car park will be fairly full!”, he said.
The surfing challenges will include ‘swim with fins’ (12-14 ages) and a taplin relay.
Deemed the most prestigious and competitive event in surf lifesaving, the taplin relay usually involves two swimmers, two board paddlers and two ski paddlers.
They race around buoys and back to shore, maximising the prevailing conditions.
Other challenges will include various beach races, in- cluding 50-metre sprints, 15m flags and sprint relays.
Beach flag focuses on reflexes and sand sprinting power, with contestants beginning by lying face-down on the beach.
Competitors must turn and run 15 metres to grab a baton from the sand.
With fewer batons than competitors, they are progressively eliminated until only one baton remains.
Competitions commence at 9am daily and will conclude in the afternoon.
The top 10 in each event will qualify for the national championships in Wexford later this month.
The championships arrive in Youghal, four years after the local club was founded.
Operating under the auspices of Cork Water Safety and, in turn, that of Irish Water Safety, matters went swimmingly from the beginning.
The club now has over 150 members, the vast majority teenagers or under.
However, it also has senior (18-30) and masters’ (over 30’s) participants.
In their colourful wet suits, the eager adherents are a regular sight at Claycastle beach, enlivening the landscape as they dash for the surf and hone their skills.
“The club is based on teaching water safety during the winter but we train in the sea all year round”, says Mark, adding “fitness is paramount”.
David Noonan and David Buckley of Youghal Surf Lifesaving training for the championships.
Ruby Whelan,training for the Munster championships.