Local paddlers Mark Taylor and Dessie McGlinchey had a very successful weekend at the Paddlesurf Ireland Irish Open held at the home of Irish surfing – Easky Left, Co. Sligo.

This was a rerun date for the 2022 Championships that was cancelled in late October.

Conditions were perfect, with four-foot waves consistently rolling in and the occasional bigger set waves keeping competitors on their toes.

Mark, competing in the waveski open, picked the waves that he was able to get most critical turns and manoeuvres completed on. This was scoring well with the judges.

Mark has been using Easky as his go-to training site for the last few months in preparation for the contest and this was evident to all in the water and on shore.

When the long-awaited results came through, the Enniskillen man was top of the pile, claiming his first Irish Open Title.

Mark spoke after the event to The Impartial Reporter. He said: “I wasn’t 100 per cent happy with how I’d surfed in the final, but the feedback from my training partners was positive, and luckily the judges saw it that way as well.

“I have less than a year now to prepare for the world championships in South Africa in 2024, having previously competed at four world championship events over the last 15 years, from New Zealand to Portugal.

“Im looking forward to the training and excited about the chance to surf the famous Nahoon Reef in South Africa.”

Dessie McGlinchey had entered four classes in the kayak divisions, the Long and Short boat Open categories and the Long and short boat Masters (40+).

Lots of 15 or 20 minute heats throughout the day had the event into finals by 4pm.

After two very tough open finals, the scores were counted and the results announced.

On all four men’s finals, results had Dessie coming out in first place.

“I was struggling with cramp towards the end and knew I was well behind in the long boat final, so I changed tactic and decided I needed to get one of the bigger waves that were coming through,” said Dessie.

“With four minutes remaining, I managed to get one.

Having successfully made it through the outside sections, the wave went hollow, and I managed to get a barrel and surf out of it.

“The wave then allowed me to continue to score all the way to the shore. This was the wave that got me over the line.

“This year’s titles felt every bit as good as my first win back in 1999.

“I honestly thought that my chances of winning another open were in the past,” added the 48-year-old former three-times European Champion.

“Every year, I set myself a goal to try and win one more Open, and this year I can’t believe that I’ve managed to get four class wins!”

These wins now leave Dessie claiming his 22nd National Title (12 opens, 10 Masters).

The work has already begun to try and retain at least one of them come September when the 2023 championships take place when once again Easky will host paddlers from all over Europe, all after the title of Irish Open Champion 2023.


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