Local Surfers are on the crest of a wave

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Last year proved to be one of the best ever for competitive surfers from the Causeway Coast.

Four members of the surf club achieved five National Titles in the 2013 Irish Senior tour, Portush local Martin ‘TK’ Kelly, Finn Mullen from Lurgan, Peter Kosinski from Dublin and Stevie Burns taking two titles with firsts in the Longboard and Masters. John McCurry finished the year with a second place in the Longboard, whilst former six time Irish champion, Andrew Hill, still competing at national level after 25 years, was placed third in the Masters. Surf explorer and film-maker Andrew Mennie put in a solid performance during the year to finish with a third in the senior division and local lifeguard, Bosco McAuley, currently on a gap year in New Zealand, came in forth in the Bodyboard.

Club Chairperson, Gerard McAuley presenting the medals on Saturday 18th January at the surf club AGM said: “It’s been a great year for the club, five National Titles and 16 medal winners from the 2013 series is just tremendous. It says much for the quality of surfing here in Portrush and NI. We hope this continues in 2014.”

Many of the medal winners were in the Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) category, which has increased in popularity over the last couple of years, becoming a common sight on local beaches. Our very own local celeb Alan Simpson can be seen on a regular basis in Portrush on his SUP, winter and summer.

This winter has seen some of the best surf on the North Coast in months and it’s common for visitors to watch large numbers of surfers in the water on the many local beaches. The surf club itself wants to do more to help people of any age get into the sport and will be opening the surf club up this spring for new membership. Members can access the wide range of equipment and wetsuits the club has.

2014 will also see the launch of the North Coast Surf Life Saving Club working alongside the Causeway Coast Surf Club to help develop the skills needed to enjoy the ocean and experience the benefits that surfing and surf life saving can bring. Anyone interested should email the Causeway Coast Surf Club on chair@causewaycoastsurfclub.com or facebook.com/northcoastsurflifesavingclub.

Northern Ireland’s main surfing event this year is scheduled for the Easter weekend, with a range of surf contests, skateboarding, beach sports, surf film & photography festival, music marquee on the beach, as well as night time entertainment in Portrush, all in conjunction with Coleraine Borough Council.

One of the event’s organisers, Greg Wallace is keen to point out the success of last year’s festival. “2013 saw the first Causeway Coast Surf Festival, which attracted many competitive surfers, surf fans, and families to the local area,” said Greg. “This year we want to go a stage further and build on 2013’s success and really give locals and visitors a real taste of surfing and surf culture on the North Coast.” Further details on the festival will be announced soon.