The Causeway Coast Surf Club will host the Circle One Irish National Surfing Championships at East Strand, Portrush, Co Antrim on the 7/8 March supported by Coleraine Borough Council, Ocean Warriors Surf Shop and Monster Energy Drinks. Eight national titles will be awarded at the event in the following categories- Open Surf, Women’s Surf, Longboard, Bodyboard, Women’s Bodyboard, Senior (over 27), Master (over 35), SUP.
The event is the first of two selection events for the Denny Irish Surf Team to compete at the World Surfing Games in Costa Rica in August and the European Surfing Championships in Jersey in September. The Denny Irish Junior Surf Team will be training at the event prior to their departure for the World Junior Surfing Championships taking place in Ecuador at the end of March.
Current Irish Champion, Cain Kilcullen will be making his way from Enniscrone, Co Sligo to defend his coveted title. In the Women’s event attention will be on Easkey Britton, Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal, who will be competing for her fifth consecutive national title. Local knowledge will no doubt work to Easley’s advantage, as a final year student at Coleraine University, Easkey has been living and surfing in Portrush for the past three so will be well acquainted with surfing conditions at East Strand. Easkey’s main challenge is expected to come from Nicole Morgan, Bundoran, Co Donegal, the 2008 the UK Women’s Pro Tour Champion.
Local surfer, John Mc Curry will be defending his Irish Longboard title while in the Bodyboard divisions, Paul Mc Carter, Bundoran will have to see off tough challenges in the form of his brother, Darragh (2007 National Champion), Sligo’s Shane Meehan (ranked 7th in the World in 2008) and local favourite, Martin Kelly, Coleraine. Ashleigh Smith, Strandhill is expected once again to dominate the Women’s bodyboard event.
John Britton, Rossnowlagh will be defending the Senior title (over 27) and Stevie Burns, Portrush will be defending the Masters (over 35) title. Stand Up Paddle was included as a division in the Irish Championships for the first time in 2008, with Emmet O’Doherty, Bundoran taking the inaugural SUP title. No doubt Emmet will be intent on retaining the title again this year
In conjunction with Championships, Dubsurf, a Volkswagen showcase event will be taking place from 12-4pm on Sunday the 8th March at East Strand, Portrush while UCC medical student, Clodagh Murphy will be conducting research on the prevalence of exostosis or surfers ear among participants at the event. The event will also see visiting Contest Director, Peter Cook, of the recent World Junior Surfing championships in France in 2008. Peter will work closely with top surfers from the Irish National Squad on the two days preceding the event at East Strand where he will examine the overall site and facilities with the view to hosting the European Junior Surfing Championships in 2010.