THE waiting period for the Billabong Tow In Session, Ireland presented by Monster Energy, Irish Surfing Association (ISA) and the Irish Tow Surf Rescue Club (ITSRC) has today reached the final day of the waiting period, resulting in the big-wave event not running this European winter despite a four month waiting period, from November 1st to March 1st.
The Billabong Tow in Session was first held in February 2011 with the inaugural event scoring massive 20-foot waves at the famous big-wave spot of Mullaghmore in County Sligo on Ireland's west coast. This year, despite a four month long waiting period, conditions failed to reach the minimum height required and it was decided the event would have to be put on ice until next year.
"We've had a few swells that have come close," said contest organiser Paul O'Kane from the ITSRC. "However we set the standard incredibly high with the first event and were determined to only hold the event if the conditions were as good as that, if not better. It's a little frustrating, but at the end of the day we are dealing with the ocean and it was always going to have the final say."
Ben Freeston, surf forecaster with Magicseaweed agreed. "The conditions needed for Mullaghmore to show it's real face are so specific you might only see them a handful of times in the best years. This year we have had four or five swells that were big enough to be interesting, but not quite competition standard."
Thoughts now turn to next year, with Billabong, the ITSRC and invited surfers looking forward to showcasing what Ireland can offer big-wave surfing. "Billabong is still 100% committed to the contest for next year and we are stoked to be an active supporter of the Irish surfing scene," said François Liets, Billabong Wetsuits Brand Manager for Europe. "On a personal level I can't wait to go back there to again meet good friends and surf the best waves of Europe. I'd like to thank Paul O'Kane and everybody involved from the Irish Surf Association for the great work put together during the last two years."