Weekly Comment:
Irish Kitesurfing Festival Promises a Splash

Pictured at the launch of the 2016 Irish Kite Surfing Championships and Hooked Kite Fest on Duncannon Beach, Co Wexford is Organizer and Kite-surf Instructor, Niall Roche. (Photo: Patrick Browne)
Pictured at the launch of the 2016 Irish Kite Surfing Championships and Hooked Kite Fest on Duncannon Beach, Co Wexford is Organizer and Kite-surf Instructor, Niall Roche. (Photo: Patrick Browne)

By Olivia O'Mahony, Editorial Assistant
July 29th, 2016

The Irish National Kitesurfing Championships will be brought to Co. Wexford’s Duncannon Beach August 13th and 14th as part of the Hooked Kitefest. In conjunction with the Irish Kitesurfing Association, the festival offers viewers the opportunity to take in an athletic spectacle of male, female, and junior-centric events that include course-racing, freestyle, and hang-time competitions.

A surface water extreme sport, kitesurfing combines aspects of traditional surfing, snowboarding, windsurfing, paragliding, skateboarding, and gymnastics. Through using a large, controllable power-kite to capture wind force, the kitesurfer is propelled across the water on their board, riding the waves as they come. In 2012, World Sailing and the International Kitesurfing Association estimated the number of practising kitesurfers as 1.5m persons worldwide.

The Irish National Kitesurfing Championships will draw in both Irish and international competitors in the men’s, women’s, and unisex under-18s categories, promising a showcase of breathtaking skill and speed. The various competitions will be judged by the president and vice-president of the Irish Kitesurfing Association, Warren Vance and Niall Roche.

Roche, a professional kitesurfing instructor and co-owner of Hooked, was responsible for the founding of the festival in 2009 and and has overseen its organization every year since. It began, Roche told Irish America, when he and his wife Christina opened their kite-surfing lesson business: “Every year, we’d go on a kitesurfing trip to the coast. We’d be out on the water all day. Then, at night, we’d light a fire and play some music. Eventually, I realized I wanted to make it into something bigger and better, a real festival with official events and band performances.”

The festival has proven itself a huge economic boon for the village of Duncannon, bringing in not only kitesurfers, but spectators and festival-goers enthusiastic about the sand, sea, and craic. “It’s not a sport that’s only for teenagers,” Roche says, “so you’ve got a great family atmosphere every year.” Non-competitive activities this year will include water-zorbing, archery, face-painting, and children’s power-kite lessons.

“Kitesurfing is like riding a bike,” says Roche, who has been involved with the sport for 16 years. “It’s really special when you’re teaching someone, seeing them get up there for the first time, seeing the smile on their face.”

For kitesurfers with the good fortune to find themselves Wexford-bound in August, championship pre-registration is still open for competitors at iksa.ie. The Hooked Kitefest will continue the action on Achill Island, Co. Mayo, in September. ♦

 

Leave a Reply




Share



More Articles

Weekly Comment:
Rising Remembered at Washington Monument

On Thursday, May 18, a plaque that signifies the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising joined 193 other...

More

The 24th Annual Eithne and Paddy Fitzpatrick Memorial Golf Tournament will take place May 15 at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Scarborough, NY. (Photo: Eithne and Paddy Fitzpatrick Memorial Fund / Facebook)
Weekly Comment:
The 24th Annual Eithne & Paddy Fitzpatrick Memorial Golf Tournament

New York, NY: The 24th Annual Eithne & Paddy Fitzpatrick Memorial Golf Tournament will be held on May 15th, 2017 at...

More

The 14th Hole at the Westchester Country Club West Course, where the GPA fundraiser will be held. (Photo: Westchester Country Club)
Weekly Comment:
Support Irish athletes at the Gaelic Players Association’s Annual Golf Outing

On May 22 Gaelic Athletic Association fans will have a unique opportunity to play a round of golf with some of the...

More

Waterford Greenway opens .
Weekly Comment:
Ireland’s Longest Greenway Is Officially Open to the Public

Waterford Greenway, the longest off-road walking and cycling path in Ireland, opened to the public at the end of March....

More