Surf Gods Shine on the Irish SUP Surf Classic 2018

Easter weekend saw the 6th edition of the epic Irish SUP surf classic, which took place in Trá Bhuí, Co Sligo, Ireland, hosted by Paul Byrne from IrishSUP. This cold water classic has become an highlight of the SUP Surf calendar not only in Ireland but also in the UK. This year there were 43 entries from all over Ireland, and a few over from the UK. This years Irish SUP Surf Classic event was the 1st contest in Europe to hold a specific SUP foil category, as well as categories for longboard SUP and shortboard SUP.

There was a little nervous anticipation beforehand from the paddlers and organisers as weather charts were giving a zero swell prediction, however the surf gods shone on the competition and a little North Westerly swell arrived on the Friday before the contest. Organiser Paul Byrne told TotalSUP “Discussions about postponing did the rounds, but with only 2 days to go we made a call to hang in there no matter what and if there was no swell, well we would just have to talk an extra amount of trash and consume extra creamy pints of Guinness if it wasn’t on“.

Photo Credit: Patrick Murtagh Photography

Saturday morning threw up some lovely clean lines with waves in the chest to head high range. Light offshore winds made this very inviting for the 5 categories in the event. Whilst going through the rounds it was evident from the get go that the standard was higher than previous years especially in the ladies and first timers sections.

The forecast on Sunday was for smaller swell size as the day progressed, so it was an early start to take advantage of the conditions. The swell was fairly solid to help begin the semis. A nice tasty shore break tested all the surfers, but once out back there was a beautiful selection of clean glassy peaks to choose from.

Photo Credit: Patrick Murtagh Photography

The ladies final was the first of the finals. A final where local girls Mia Hamilton and Nicola McCutcheon did battle, young Mia displayed superb form by taking the win with fierce competitor Nicola pushing her all the way.

In the First Timers category Trevor O’Rourke and Nick Seymour battled wave for wave, and in the end Trevor was just having too much fun and this drove him to victory in a close fraught battle. The big board’s hit the water for the 10ft plus category, in the final Dave Owens, Lewis Eickholt, Ollie Laddiman, and Trevor O’Rourke did battle on their 10ft logs. With Welsh rider Ollie Laddiman performing a series of nose rides, drop knee turns and an infamous (and yet unconventional) cockroach manoeuvre which gave him his first final win of the weekend.

Photo Credit: Patrick Murtagh Photography

The old boys (and girl…) Steve Laddiman, Tony Doherty, Nicola McCutcheon, and Nick Seymour paddled out in the Masters final. The Welsh visitor Steve Laddiman did what was needed on a borrowed board to take the win despite having snapped his board earlier in the morning.

The short boards came out for the last final at Trá Bhuí. Here both Laddimans (Ollie and Steve) took on the Irish boys in Dave Owens and Lewis Eickholt. Paul Byrne describe the final “It would have been rude to not let the visitors continue their winning streak, and Ollie was unstoppable! His style and level of performance had all talking about how good this young Welsh surfer has become.”

Photo Credit: Patrick Murtagh Photography

It was decided that the swell was a little big for the Foil final and we relocated back to the Aughris beach for what was Europe’s first SUP Foil competition. Paul Byrne and Ollie Laddiman displayed their skills in what was now tiny surf, but despite this they both entertainer the spectators, with the judges deciding to award a joint first place to the two guys..!

Paul Byrne told TotalSUP “Entries were down on last years, possibly due to the endless winter we have been having and due to the poor forecast in the run up, but the heats were very competitive with some big upsets and others displaying great form. A massive THANK YOU to all competitors who attended. New friendships were made and old ones rekindled!!”

Photo Credit: Patrick Murtagh Photography

Paul Bryne concluded that “an event like this would not be possible without the sponsors who year after year are willing to help provide a great selection for prizes for the finalists. Thank you to the all our sponsors that made it work! and Looking forward to seeing you all again next year event (held on easter weekend)…yewww!!!!!!”


1. Mia Hamilton 
2. Nicola McCutcheon
3. Sarah Gannon
4. Lois Crighton

1. Trevor O Rourke
2. Nick Seymour

1. Steve Laddiman
2. Tony Doherty
3. Nicola McCutcheon
4. Nick Seymour

1. Ollie Laddiman
2. Dave Owens
3. Lewis Eickholt
4. Trevor O Rourke

1. Ollie Laddiman 
2. Steve Laddiman 
3. Dave Owens 
4. Lewis Eickholt

1. Paul Byrne 
2. Ollie Laddiman 





About the Author

Helen Trehoret

SUP, OC1, V6, Surfski ... and field hockey coaching, Helen is a busy British mother of two who lives in Bretagne, France with a passion for all things Ocean. Helen runs Barrachou SUP, a SUP tour company specialized in excursions around Bretagne and Scotland.

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