Brandon Bay became a sea of color today as 67 contestants for this year’s PWA Irish Wave Grand Prix, which is presented by Bord Fáilte, descended upon the beach to check out conditions for today’s windsurfing competition.
Following mixed weather forecasts, the judges were out early surveying wind levels and direction. As it was, everyone was hoping to kick off as early as possible.
While waiting for the judges to come to a decision, most windsurfers grabbed the opportunity to take to the water. Though the conditions were obviously marginal it was difficult to resist the fantastic sunshine and the waves of Brandon Bay.
By 11.30 a.m. things were looking up. It was decided to get on with the days proceedings and launch right into the first heats. Unfortunately the good wind conditions that had developed were not to last, and competition was abandoned without a full heat being completed. With high hopes of continuing in the afternoon, everyone waited on the beach for conditions to improve.
While the food proved a popular distraction, most eyes remained on the surf. The USA's Kevin Pritchard (Gaastra, BIC) remained focused. "I haven't been in the water yet today. I guess I'm just waiting for the competition to start up - really I'm concentrating all my energy there."
Meanwhile the judges' attention was brought to a strengthening southwesterly wind. Binoculars were raised and heads scratched, but despite some sailors carving up the waves, it was not quite enough for competition. Despite the frustration one of the judges, Martyn Soolingen commented; "I love judging these competitions. You have to be so focused when it's going on you just don't get a break. Then you get times like this, when it's just a waiting game. It's all just part of the sport." Despite much finger-crossing and hoping the wait was over by 5:00 p.m. as it was decided to hold back on beginning the competition altogether until Saturday morning.
So - looking forward to the weekend, it's all to play for!
Tonight spectators are heading down to Castlegregory and Fitzgerald's for a late-night party with popular Irish band Bog the Donkey. Even some of the competitors may not be able to resist.