An IT Sligo lecturer is representing Ireland as part of the Irish Surf Team at the 2013 European Surfing Championships this week.
Kerry Larkin, a lecturer on the Institute's popular Bachelor of Business in Recreation and Leisure course, will be swopping his day job training students in surfing and other recreational pursuits for a week on the Azores, competing against the top surfers in Europe.
Kerry, a keen surfer since he was 14 growing up in Kerry's famous surf spot Brandon Bay, has been surfing competitively for eight years. He was part of the Sligo team that has taken first place in the Intercounties Surfing Championships – surfing's equivalent of the All Ireland Senior Football Championships – for the last three years.
He's a member of the Strandhill Surf Club and is also coach to the IT Sligo Surf Team and shared in the students' triumph when they brought home the top prize from the Irish Student National Surfing Championships in 2011.
This is the first time he has qualified to compete in the European Surfing Championships and he's looking forward to the challenge
He said: "It's a huge opportunity to be representing Ireland in this way. It's not everyone that gets a chance to do it and I'm looking forward to the challenge"
With more than 160 surfers from 14 different countries competing – many of them full-time, professional surfers – the standard will be high
"I surf four or five times a week and I make sure to get in a couple of yoga sessions as well to work on my flexibility," explained Kerry
A graduate of the course he now lectures on, he moved to Sligo 10 years ago because of its location near what he says are some of the best surfing destinations in the world;
"If you're a surfer, Sligo is an ideal place to work or study – we're spoiled with the choices of good breaks here with Strandhill, Easkey and Bundoran up the road", Kerry pointed out
Kerry has received sponsorship from the following businesses: The Strand Bar, Strandhill Surf School, Shells Cafe, Bundoran Surf Company and Jamie Knox Watersports (Kerry).