€55,000 in Prizes for Inaugural Irish Coast Paddling Championships

Tuesday, 18 September 2018 17:45 | Written by 
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€55,000 in Prizes for Inaugural Irish Coast Paddling Championships

…and most of the world’s best surfski paddlers, both men and women, are in Ireland to take part.  Here’s what you need to know about the world’s richest surfski race.

Where is it?

The race takes place on the east coast of Ireland, just south of Dublin, on the coast between Greystones South Beach and Dun Laoghaire Harbour, a distance of some 22km.

The direction the race takes will depend on the wind direction on the day; the course will be announced on Friday morning, 21 September.


(The route - with Hayley Nixon's reconnaisance track from yesterday!)


It’s cold!  The water is currently 14.4C and the air temperature not much more.  The current forecast on Weather Underground (and most other forecast sites) says that there’s going to be light wind and rain on Saturday for the race...

Hayley Nixon (current women’s world champion) paddled the course yesterday.  She made a preview video:

So it sounds as though (if the wind blows) the race will comprise:

  • A hectic sprint out to the hotspot can offshore (€2,000, €750 and €500 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places)
  • Approximately 16km of moderate sized downwind to Dalkey Island
  • Some rough water in the channel between the mainland and Dalkey Island with some tidal currents to contend with
  • Four km of flat paddling to the finish at Dun Laoghaire Harbour

Who’s Here?

Well, with a total of €55,000 up for grabs, pretty much the cream of the elite surfski paddlers is here:

  • Current Surfski World Champion (and fresh from her crushing victory in Portugal at the Nelo Summer Challenge) Hayley Nixon (South Africa)
  • Angie Le Roux (France), second at the Nelo Summer Challenge
  • Sprint Olympian Bridgitte Hartley (South Africa)
  • Jenna Ward (South Africa)
  • Teneale Hatton (New Zealand)
  • Chloë Bunnett (Spain)
  • Current Surfski World Champion Cory Hill (Australia)
  • Sean Rice (South Africa), first at the Nelo Summer Challenge
  • Hank McGregor (South Africa), just off the World Marathon Championships in Portugal where he successfully defended his K2 title.
  • Jasper Mocke (South Africa), just came third in the Portuguese World Marathon Champs
  • Kenny Rice (South Africa)
  • Gordan Harbrecht (Germany)
  • Ignacio Soler (Spain)
  • Austin Keiffer (USA)

Some elite paddlers, Dawid Mocke (SA), Esteban Medina (ESP) and Valentin Hernot (FRA) amoung them, are competing in the doubles class, which should be an interesting race in itself.

Weather Forecast

“The locals say the forecast is only worth looking at from two days out,” said Hayley Nixon.  (Where have I heard that before?!) 

As I write this, Storm Ali is approaching the UK and Ireland with 40-50kt gusts predicted for Wednesday morning (downwind, anyone?), but the forecast for Saturday says that the winds will be light, SW, swinging to the SE.  Let’s hope the locals are correct and that the forecast changes before Saturday…  (Careful what you wish for though – the forecast for Sunday is for 30-50kt westerlies!)


The Loot

The prize pot is enormous by surfski standards.  If the first paddler to get to the hotspot also wins the race, they’ll walk away with €10,000, not too shabby.



For more info, see the links below.

Click here for the list of confirmed entries (and results will appear here too)

Click here for the race website

Click here for the race Facebook page

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