Three weeks on the Emerald Isle and as always we were not disappointed. The stunning backdrops and ever changing skies make it hard not to enjoy a trip to Donegal in north west Ireland, add in the wind and waves every day on which we were teaching and of course all our students had a fantastic time learning and improving their skills. Everyone has gone home happy yet exhausted.
Our annual course was full booked this year, so a quick change to our ferry meant we added an extra week and so this year we taught two flat water courses followed by a 6 day wave course. The flat water courses are the perfect chance for intermediate riders to boost their skills to help them get ready for trying out wave sailing in the next year or two, and to allow advanced sailors to tune up their all round sailing ready for the action in the waves. Improving a whole range of skills from better stance and control, faster (dryer) turns, faster starts, jumping and carving tricks and so on, the flat water in Downings was a perfect playground for the coaching weekends with progression seen all round. A lot of firsts were achieved, first beach starts, first footstraps, first jumps, duck gybes and more.
A few days off for Phil and I and sadly we had no wind and very little waves to play with, but a good chance to rest before the main course began, 4 days flat water followed by 6 days waves. With 32 students over this period, we were very excited especially to have a lot of new people joining us from England for their first Ireland trip, as well as many regulars from both Northern & Republic of Ireland. Each day brought something different, really giving everyone a great learning experience. Waves increased in size gradually and we had people sailing in waves bigger than they had ever before, catching and riding their first waves. Some were trying their first jumps, loops and improving riding skills and everyone gained a new levels of understanding the waves and how to really get their boards turning faster, harder and more extreme.
Next year we are planning to return for most of September again, with more wave courses spread over this time as well as the all important flat water training days. Bookings are already in from many of our group this year as they absolutely loved it and, except for looking forward to a rest and some home comforts, many people were very sad to be heading home, Phil and I included…thank you Ireland we will see you next year! Already we cannot wait to return.