Saturday 23 September 2017

Surf champion makes waves over pier plan

Mick Fanning competes in the US. Photo: Getty Images
Mick Fanning competes in the US. Photo: Getty Images

Gordon Deegan

HE is the biggest name in a sport that has propelled Ireland into the global league of top surfing destinations.

Now the Australian world surfing champion Mick Fanning has attacked a local authority's scheme which critics say could threaten Ireland's surf tourism.

Mr Fanning has called on Clare County Council not to proceed with its planned pier at Doolin, Co Clare, over fears it will destroy 'world class' waves near the planned pier.

The intervention by the 29-year old Australian and reigning Association of Surfing Professionals' (ASP) World Champion in the row is part of a double boost to surfers opposing the pier plan.

It emerged yesterday that Failte Ireland has also written to the council urging it not to proceed with the pier as currently designed.

Already, surfing bodies across the country, including national representative body the Irish Surfing Association, have stated that the proposed pier plan threatens two world-class waves at Doolin, including 'Crab Island', which Footprint's 'Surfing Europe' has described as Ireland's answer to the legendary 'Pipeline' in Hawaii.

From his home in New South Wales, Australia, Fanning told the council he was formally objecting to the pier.

In his submission, the two-time world champion said: "The waves in Ireland are quickly getting the attention of the surfing population of the world, with Crab Island to the forefront. It is on the 'must surf' list of most surfers.

Tourism

Fanning -- whose parents come from the west of Ireland -- adds: "The amount of surf tourism going to Ireland in the next few years will grow dramatically. This will not happen if Ireland is seen as a place that destroys waves from ill-planned infrastructure.

"I understand that it is entirely possible to build a pier that will meet the ferries' needs without affecting the waves. I would urge you strongly to follow this path and I am formally objecting to the current design."

In its submission, Failte Ireland called on the council to re-examine the pier plan so that it ensures that the improvement of the pier could proceed without compromising the amenity value of the pier for surfers.

A spokesman for the council confirmed yesterday the planner's report into the submissions and the planning application could go before the councillors' October meeting "at the earliest".

In order for the application to proceed, it requires the support of a majority of the 32 councillors.

Irish Independent

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