October saw one of the most spectacular World Surf Kayaking Championships ever held in the competition’s history which spans over 20 years. Over 130 competitors from 15 countries across the globe took to the magnificent waves of the Atlantic Ocean at Portrush in Northern Ireland – and conditions, camaraderie and competitors did not disappoint.
This was the first time the competition – which ran from Friday 21st to Thursday 26th October – has ever been held in Northern Ireland with over 70 friends, family and supporters attending and joining in the spectacle. In the wake of Hurricane Ophelia, the surf at both the East and West Strand beaches in Portrush was offering splendid conditions at the start of the week for teams and individuals from as far away as America, Argentina and Australia to compete and showcase their impressive world-class, professional moves. As the week progressed, the winds died down, as did the waves, but they stayed long enough to deliver just what was needed for an awesome competition.
The event was organised by the Canoe Association of Northern Ireland and the organizing committee along with a team of 35 staff and volunteers, from all over the world, which saw twelve months of planning for five gruelling days of competition and seven days of events. Special recognition goes to these people who gave up their time so gladly and without whom, the event could not have taken place.
The event received support from Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and many other local and national sponsors without which the event would not have been possible. We would also like to thank the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) who played a central role in the event – providing world-class safety cover. On the first day of the competition during challenging conditions, they rescued 12 people in the first few hours. Competitor safety is paramount in our sport.
The Ulster squad performed exceptionally throughout the team event and punched well above its weight in some of the heats with a special mention to James O’Donnell. Everyone was willing each other on and showed in the results. Bit of disappointment in not making the A final by one point, but the squad are young and see what happens!!! Ulster’s 19 year-old, Meabh Lynch took to the podium to scoop the fourth position in the Junior HP Classes. She was also a semi-finalist in the Ladies International Class & High Performance and a quarter finalist in the Junior IC alongside Ulster’s Andrew Lamont and Emil Lazarescu.
This is a great result for the young Ulster competitors. “The Ulster team would like to thank its team sponsors ASDA, Portrush Yacht Club, Ulster paddlesurf club and CANI for a great completion. With special mentions and thank you to Marty McCann for all the coaching and support he has given the squad leading up to the worlds, as well as the work he has done at the junior level where most of the squad came from and to Denise Lazarescu for all the organisation, drive and energy behind the scene.” (Eoin Halliday Team Manager)
Ulster Team Results
The Ulster Team came 5th overall out of 9 teams.
Meabh Lynch took to the podium to scoop the fourth position in the Junior HP Classes
Sofia Lazarescu made quarter finals of Ladies HP.
Andrew Lamont, Megan Gamble and Emil Lazarescu made the quarter finals of Junior HP.
Mathew Lamont made the quarter finals of Open HP.
Andy McClelland made the quarter finals of theOpen IC.
James O’Donnell & Alwyn Lamont made semis of Grand Master IC.
Full results are on the event website http://surfchampionships.cani.org.uk along with more photos and videos of the event.