Local paddle boarders to take to the Foyle

Stand up paddle boarders are to take on the 'Wave Sweepers' challenge this Saturday
Stand up paddle boarders are to take on the 'Wave Sweepers' challenge this Saturday

A group of stand-up paddleboard lovers will take to the waters of the Foyle Estuary this weekend to attempt the ‘wave sweeper’ challenge.

The challenge is to leave Foyle Marina on the turning tide and reach Greencastle Harbour in Co. Donegal before the tide turns again, and by sunset.

The intrepid expedition is the brainchild of local adventure company Far and Wild and supported by Donegal Tourism brand, Malin Waters.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding, or SUPing, is a type of watersport growing in worldwide popularity, and the company regularly lead SUP tours of Derry on River Foyle.

Lawrence McBride from Far and Wild said: “We are excited to be out on the Foyle Estuary again. It is a remarkable place to paddle right on our doorstep. The majority of people living locally don’t get the opportunity to experience the majesty of the Lough from the water. Through the event, we want to raise awareness of the amazing resource the Foyle is, and allow people from all over to appreciate it fully.”

People who have signed up for the challenge typically have done a bit of Stand Up Paddle Boarding before, and some are raising money for charity.

Helena Phelan began paddleboarding two and a half years ago and will be taking part in the challenge this weekend. “I had always been into sport, particularly cycling. After I was knocked off my bike a few years ago I decided to look for something else to do. I rented a paddleboard one weekend when I was in Portsalon and I was immediately hooked.

“It is just so peaceful and serene. It is beautiful being out on the water with your board and something you can’t really describe until you are on it.”

This weekend will mark the first time Helena has ever been on the River Foyle on her paddleboard and she is excited to take on the challenge.

“It will take around six hours to go from the marina to Greencastle. I have never done anything like this before and don’t know anyone else who is doing it, but I can’t wait.”