Waterford native Eoghan Quinn will today attempt to become the first person to kitesurf from France to Ireland, as he sends a message of hope to fellow diabetes sufferers.
The 31-year-old will embark on the 227 mile (244 km) journey to show that, when managed correctly, diabetes does not have to be an inhibiting disease.
The epic venture will see Eoghan kitesurfing for over 16 hours straight from Aber Wrac'h Port in France to Ballycotton in Cork. While he will take rests to manage his diabetes and to eat, he will remain strapped to his kite for the entirety of the journey and will otherwise take no breaks.
Eoghan, who is now living in Scotland, said that he challenges himself to show kids diagnosed with diabetes that the disease can be managed to the point of a completely normal life.
Having been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes aged four, he has learned in his 27 years with the condition how to manage it to a fully normal level.
"There is a stigma that diabetes is a sign of weakness and that has always been my inspiration for doing the challenges in the past," he said.
Best of luck to champion kitesurfer Eoghan Quinn on his world record attempt, kitesurfing from France to Cork! 450km, 16 hours – good luck Eoghan! #WavetoEoghan https://t.co/LxS9p2Zoi0 pic.twitter.com/ADkQfxuW0L— Tourism Ireland (@GoToIrelandCA) June 28, 2019
This is my brother Eoghan who is literally about to attempt to kitesurf from France to Ireland. I am nervous and proud in equal measure. There is a simple motive behind all his adventures. Since the age of four his has been a #Type1Diabetic ... THREAD pic.twitter.com/8iGpfPRy8v— Gearóid Ó Cuinn (@Gocuinn) June 30, 2019
"When you put your mind to it anything is achievable. It really does resonate with me the idea that I’m a Type 1 diabetic and there is no reason at all for anyone to say ‘my son or daughter is a diabetic they can’t do something.’
"I want to be used as a reference, to say ‘look there’s your barrier, you’ve got to jump higher than that.’ That’s the motivation for me. It sets a new foundation and a new reference point for kids recently diagnosed with diabetes that, with the adaption of technology now on the market, you can achieve anything."
Today’s voyage is the latest in a series of hugely physically-demanding challenges that Eoghan has undertook for diabetes and other noble causes.
He previously cycled 6,000 km on a 42-day trek from Galway to Gaza, with his brother Gearoid, raising funds and awareness for diabetes and neonatal care.
He also cycled from Melbourne to Sydney in support of Aboriginal healthcare and diabetes.
According to Eoghan however, this is by far his biggest and most dangerous challenge to date.
"It’s just about putting your back up against the wall and coming out punching," he said.
"Gaza was really exciting because we went through different countries every day and we met heads of state but, I mentioned having the back up against the wall. By all means, this is the biggest I’ve ever done. The sea is an unforgiving beast.
"We don’t want to be foolish and we don’t want to be putting lives in danger, but this is certainly the biggest yet. If anything is to happen we’re abandoning the kite, we’re cutting it off, so I’m not concerned."
Eoghan, who has been kitesurfing for eight years, has been planning this challenge for months with a team of eight, including his wife, who he says has been at the heart of his preparation.
While he is fully prepared for any eventuality, if the weather turns he simply will not be able to complete the voyage. Previously, French kitesurfer Bruno Sorka attempted the same trip, but the winds were too light as he approached Cork and he was forced to abandon his quest.
Eoghan, who works in renewable energy and deals specifically with wind, hopes that he is more fortunate with conditions today.
"It’s mother nature. It’s the luck of the draw," he laughed.
"The only thing we can’t control is nature. The wind is quite light compared to what we would have liked because of the heat in mainland Europe. It’s kind of killing it off.
"The initial four hours is going to be hard work but there’s no going back now. We wanted to work in this period at the end of June or beginning of July. That’s when the weather is generally on-point for a North-East or South-West wind which is what I need.
"Today it’s going to be light but it’s still the right conditions and as I head half-way, it starts picking up and I’ll be riding that wind and wave right into Ballycotton. It’s going to be incredible conditions coming right into Cork tonight."