| 10.5°C Dublin

New wave of fans try surfing in the suburbs

A LANDLOCKED north Dublin suburb is being turned into a surfer's paradise.

Blanchardstown is attracting professional surfers from around the globe to its first surfing festival this week.

Blanchardstown Centre has been transformed into a Hawaiian-style beach for the event, which started yesterday.

Roisin Finley, editor of Outsider magazine, told the Herald that despite the bad weather, Ireland is a real surfer's paradise.

"If you talk to any of the big surfers in Ireland, they'll say 'I've surfed in Hawaii and Tahiti, and yeah it's warmer, but we have better waves,'" she said.

"We'll probably never be as popular as Hawaii or Tahiti because of our weather. But in Hawaii, when you're a beginner and you're getting in the way, they're not going to cut you any slack. I think there have even been a few punch-ups on the water.

"Here in Ireland, they'll nearly always look after you out there. That's what makes Ireland so special."

Roisin said the popularity of surfing in Ireland has "exploded" as Irish people return from places like Australia and New Zealand with a passion for the sport.

Professional surfers will compete on the wave machine in the first 53 Degrees North Open Surf Championship, but beginners and children are welcome.