Read more: An Irish Surf Odyssey
Over 20 of Ireland and Europe's top surfers took part in Ireland's first 'big wave' surf contest " at Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo.
Peter Conroy and Welshman Gyln Ovens came in first in the Irish division, while Eric Ribiere and Benjamin Sanchis from France took the top place in the open category.
Ovens, 32, said he's more used to practicing on six-foot waves at home, but he was in his element in the Sligo waves which were estimated to be between 20 and 30 feet.
He said, "People were going, ‘You’re from Wales! How do you know how to surf waves like that when you are from Wales?’…There was nothing I could say. Actions speak louder than words. It’s just something I love doing. And if you really want to do something you can. You just have to have a bit of self-belief.”
He continued, “Afterwards the adrenalin was so great that I could not sleep for days. I just kept thinking about it over and over again thinking, ‘I can’t believe it’. Memories keep coming back that you didn’t have time to process at the time.
“On the wave you almost don’t have time to be afraid. If you were afraid you would not be able to concentrate and you would come unstuck.
“There is just silence when you do it. You cannot even hear the wave. You just concentrate on choosing a wave and riding to the end.”
The event was organized by the Irish Surf Rescue Club in an effort to dispel the myth that tow-in surfing is an irresponsible activity. Tow-in surfing is when surfers are towed out by jet skis to where they have access to larger offshore waves.
The club's president, Paul O'Kane, told “The Irish Times,” "Our surf riders and personal watercraft operators are all very safety conscious, highly trained, and contests like this can help to further develop skill sets.”
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore