Two tidal spots serve up some regular and freestyle sessions a stones throw from Galway City. Check out the tide times at www.sailing.ie/tides/galway for freestyle sessions you can plan in advance! Here’s what you need to know about the Oranmore and Clifden playspots …
Not too far from Galway, Oranmore is probably the nicest hole in the country. When tide is coming in, it fills up a pool and the gradient between the sea and the pool creates the hole. The hole keeps changing throughout the session, going from a shallow hole at the start to a lovely deep and retentive feature at the end.
|4.2 – 4.4||Perfect for cartwheels, a bit shallow at the start but then deep enough to work on your macnasty and phoenix monkey. You will be able to plug for loops and space godzillas for about ten minutes at the end of the session.||2 hours before high tide|
|4.5– 4.9||Shallow start leading to a lovely hole, retentive and deep enough for mac nastys and any combo. It will be deep enough to plug for loops for a bit longer, about fifteen minutes. Note: it is harder to hit the bottom on a space godzilla than a loop.||2 hours before high tide|
|5 – 5.5||A bit wavy, usually flushy for about ten minutes in the middle of the session. You can do cartwheels at the start, and then work on your roundhouses and blunt nasty. Deep enough to plug at the end.||2.5 hours before high tide|
Where to park
You can park at the pier in front of Galway Bay Sailing Club, Renville, and then paddle accross the bay. You cannot miss it, the hole is between two concrete blocs on the other side of the bay, with Cregcarragh Castle in the background. You need about 10-15 minutes to paddle accross.
GPS Coordinates: 53.244224, -8.967353
What to do after your session
Go for a pint in Galway, you deserve it, but don’t forget to stop for a 99 at the petrol station in Oranmore.
Photo by Barry Loughnane
A bit further away from Galway, there is also a hole in Clifden. Working at higher tides, you don’t have to wait before you can start plugging for loops. Under a bridge, the feature is retentive and can be pretty sticky. At really high tides, there is also a wave that forms under the second arch. The hole will be in for more than an hour. Don’t miss out the summer freestyle series hold in Clifden if you around this summer, find the event on Facebook and come paddle with us (https://www.facebook.com/events/108033866522701/).
|4.3– 4.8||Nice and retentive, easy to plug for loops.||1.5 hours before high tide|
|4.9– 5.5||Can become quite sticky and beaty. Harder to plug for loops, but when you do you go huge. A wave can also form just in front of the second arch. Watch that rock between the two arches, in the eddy, when it’s covered, the wave should be in if the tide is right (above 5.2).||2 hours before high tide|
Where to park
GPS coordinates of the hole: 53.473537, -10.019110
When you’re coming from Clifden on the R341, once you crossed the bridge where the hole is, there is a small parking space on the left. Make sure you don’t block access to the gate. If that spot is taken, you can park in front of the school ( 53.478404, -10.020628 ) and then paddle to hole, it’s only about eight minutes away.
What to do around
Food in Clifden, you might be able to surf a few waves along the coast as well.