The Denny Irish National Surfing Championships was hosted in Easkey, Co Sligo this weekend. Seven national titles were up for grabs along and places on the Denny Irish Surf Team were at stake. Almost 150 competitors were registered to compete and many more spectators attended.

Good waves and weather saw the event get underway early on Saturday morning with continuous heats until late into the evening. Ballyshannon band, Moonchild entertained the crowd for the evening at the Fishermans Weir in Easkey.

Sunday morning kicked off with quarter and semi finals in deteriorating surf. The seven finals, Women’s Bodyboard, Masters, Seniors, Men’s Bodyboard, Longboard, Women and Open kicked off at midday by which time conditions had become difficult. However there were still some occasional bigger waves.

The first final saw Sligo’s Ashleigh Smith retain her Women’s Bodyboard title. Stevie Burns dominated the Master’s final to take the title with some high scoring waves. Local surfer, Johnny Walsh put in a strong performance to finish 2nd with Hugh O’Brien Moran, Tramore 3rd and Brian Tobin, Dungloe 4th. John McCarthy, Lahinch reclaimed his title in the Senior event edging Colin O’Hare into 2nd position, Darren Twomey, Tramore 3rd and Neil Britton, Rossnowlagh 4th.

The closely contested Bodyboard final saw Darragh McCarter, Bundoran take his first national title. Bryan McAuley, Ballybogey took 2nd with Darragh’s brother Paul 3rd and Martin Kelly, Coleraine 4th. Stevie Burns clinched a second title in the longboard event leaving favourite, John McCurry in 2nd place. Mark Kirby, Tramore and Howard Robinson, Portrush were 3rd and 4th respectively.

Nicole Morgan, Bundoran opened the Women’s final with a high scoring ride which was quickly matched by waves from Easkey Britton, Rossnowlagh and Shauna Ward, Bundoran. Easkey consolidated her score with several more solid waves putting her in front to take the Women’s title for the third consecutive year.

Shauna and Nicole battled it out for second place with Shauna eventually taking 2nd narrowly edging Nicole into 3rd place. Sixteen year old Tahlia Britton, Rossnowlagh surfed well to make the final and take 4th place showing huge potential.

The Open final was contested by Fergal Smith (2006 Irish Champion) Westport, Mike Morgan (2005 Irish Champion) Bundoran, Tramore’s Hugh Galloway and Keith O’Brien. Mike kicked of the scoring with a good ride early in the heat followed by Fergal Smith and Keith O’Brien with the two highest scoring waves of the final.

Mike then rode another solid scoring wave but by this stage conditions had become very difficult leaving Fergal and Keith search for their second waves and Hugh Galloway still looking for his opening ride. Hugh did snag a good wave but it was not sufficient leaving him in 4th place.

Although Keith and Fergal did have a few more rides the quality of the waves did not offer the scoring potential needed to catch Mike Morgan. Keith had to accept 3rd place with Fergal finishing 2nd, narrowly behind Mike Morgan who claimed the title.

The event was followed by the presentation of awards by Michael Kelly, ISA Chairman who thanks all those who supported the event, particularly the title sponsor Denny and others, Seabase, Wind & Wave, Hastings, Insurance Brokers, Gravis, Analog, Eakey Community Council and Irish Sports Council.

Women’s Bodyboard

1 Ashleigh Smith, Sligo

2 Hilary Clarke, Bohola, Co. Mayo

3 Ione Byrne, Aughris, Co Sligo

4 Tahlia Britton, Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal

Master (over 35)

1 Stevie Burns, Portrush, Co Antrim

2 Johnny Walsh, Easkey, Co Sligo

3 Hugh O’Brien Moran, Tramore, Co Waterford

4 Brian Tobin, Dungloe, Co Donegal

Senior (over 27)

1 John Mc Carthy, Lahinch, Co Clare

2 Colin O’Hare, Strandhill, Co Sligo

3 Darren Twomey, Tramore, Co Waterford

4 Neil Britton, Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal

Men’s Bodyboard

1 Darragh Mc Carter, Bundoran, Co Donegal

2 Bryan Mc Auley, Ballybogey, Co Antrim

3 Paul Mc Carter, Bundoran Co Donegal

4 Martin Kelly, Coleraine, Co Derry

Longboard

1 Stevie Burns, Portrush, Co Antrim

2 John Mc Curry, Ballymena, Co Antrim

3 Mark Kirby, Tramore, Co Waterford

4 Howard Robinson, Portrush, Co Antrm

Women

1 Easkey Britton, Rossnwlagh, Co Donegal

2 Shauna Ward, Bundoran, Co Donegal

3 Nicole Morgan, Bundoran, Co Donegal

4 Tahlia Britton, Rossnowlagh, Co Donegal

Men

1 Mike Morgan, Bundoran, Co Donegal

2 Fergal Smith, Westport, Co Mayo

3 Keith O’Brien, Tramore, Co Waterford

4 Hugh Galloway, Tramore, Co Waterford

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