JOE's Guide to surfing in Ireland
From where to get your gear to the best spots on the island, JOE has a look at where to start out if you want to try your hand at surfing
Most surfers will tell you something about Ireland that you might not know, which is that we've got some of the best coast and the most incredible waves in the world, even if we don't exactly have the climate of Hawaii.
So if you're thinking that you might like to get involved, here are a few tips from JOE on where to go, what to do, and most importantly, where to start your adventure.
Spots for the best waves
One of the most famous surf destinations in the world is right here in Ireland; Aileen's in Lahinch. The town is known as one of the best and busiest surfing spots in the country, and offers great opportunities both for complete beginners and the most experienced surfers, and even the amazing picture above was taken at Aileen's.
Barleycove in Cork also has a pretty great reputation amongst the surfing community if you're based in the south, while Tramore, which is already a hugely popular holiday destination, also gets some great waves year-round.
Bundoran, is already a familiar name both as a surfing spot and a place to get a quick staycation in, while Mullaghmore and Enniscrone in Sligo are also some of the most prized spots to catch a few waves in the country.
Basically, no matter where you're based, there's a top class location for you to try, and if you fancy making a weekend break of it, you're spoiled for choice.
There are surf clubs all over the country, and joining the one nearest you is probably the best place to start if you're not too sure where to begin. They'll have a whole heap of information for you about where you can get equipment, and some of them might even let you borrow boards while you find your feet and figure out what's the best fit for you. You can check out the Irish Surfing Association to see which is your nearest club. There's also a huge social element to the surfing community, and if you're not hooked on the adrenaline of it all straight away, then you'll be pulled in by the fact that you'll have a whole new group of friends too.
There are plenty of online places to get your equipment in Ireland based around the country, who are more than happy to help and deal with any of your questions, but if you want a bricks and mortar shop, you could try Ireland's oldest store, which is (no surprise here) based in Clare; Lahinch Surf Shop.
It's also important to remember that you're going to be out all day in the water and the sun (we hope!) so don't forget to bring all the essentials to keep yourself protected, like sun screen. Just because you can't see the sun on a cloudy day it doesn't mean you can't get burned! It's also important to look after your flexibility, as surfers need to do plenty of explosive movements to come up off their boards, and carry around their heavy gear, so make sure to lift properly and do the proper stretching.