While the All-Ireland in Dublin this weekend will be the focus for the majority of Donegal’s sporting enthusiasts, it is the All-Ireland taking place in Donegal that will be the centre of attention for another group of athletes. Bundoran’s Main Beach will be the hosting venue for the 2014 All Ireland STAND UP PADDLE BOARD National Racing Championships on the 20th & 21st of September. Events on the Saturday will see Ireland’s fastest paddlers battle it out on a 5 kilometre technical course in and out through raging surf for the glory of an All-Ireland Title. Sunday will see competitors embark on a gruelling 25 kilometre Distance Race from Streedagh Beach in Sligo back to Bundoran.
There are over 50 athletes in the elite division races which are due to start at 2pm and will be an amazing spectacle for onlookers. Competitors include diaspora travelling from within Europe and as far away as Singapore for the event. Johnny O’Hara an Irish-American from Boston who represented Ireland at the 2012 World Championships will be making his way to Bundoran for the event. Johnny is a very successful racer in the USA with several big race titles to his name. Young gun Peter Kosinski (17) from Maynooth will be chasing his 3rd consecutive National Title, whilst Irish Women’s Windsurfing Champion Katie McAnena from Galway will attempt to make a winning transition between sports in her first ever national SUP race event.
Event organiser Emmet O’Doherty said ‘The weather and conditions are expected to be perfect for the event and a great weekend of activities are planned.” A wide variety of fun events are due to take place for novice and intermediate SUP’ers from 11:30 am on the Main Beach with both men’s and women’s divisions in 10ft and 12ft crossover categories, and a new fun team event will take place for the first time in the form of Monster SUP racing which will see six paddlers on the one board go around an obstacle course whilst being hit by waves.
Shane Smyth speaking on behalf of the event sponsors, Discover Bundoran said “we are thrilled that yet another first time event has come to Bundoran and delighted to be main sponsors. SUP paddle boarding has seen a huge increase in interest in the past number of years and it’s only fitting that as the county teams seek out their All Ireland in Croke Park that these athletes come to Donegal and Bundoran to seek out their own All Ireland title. We look forward to welcoming these athletes back to Bundoran for many years to come to a venue with ideal conditions for this sport.’