Surfing in Donegal

Surfing coach instructing student on the beach
Surf Class in Action

Donegal is fast making a name for itself in international surfing, there are several surf schools, a testament to the sports rising popularity within the county. During the summer weeks many of these schools can see around  100-150 participants per week, sometimes more and upwards of 500 per week. In Bundoran there is a language school where foreign students come to learn English during the summer and while there, students like to learn and participate in the local sport in Bundoran. Schools also run also run a number of Kids Classes and activities during the summer. Josh McBay who has worked at Bundoran Surf Co. for a number of years argues that it is the amount of waves in Bundoran and their close proximity that attracts people to the surf: ‘In other regions in Ireland you have to travel distances before being able to catch varying waves. For this reason Bundoran is superior to anywhere else in the country’. Originally from New Zealand, Josh himself wanted to check out the surfing scene in Europe. Doing his research he realised that Bundoran was going to provide him with the best opportunity for surf along with the added advantage that English was spoken in the area. He has been coming back now on and off for five years.

Lee Wood who runs Narosa Life surf school in Dunfanaghy. He argues that it is the outdoors and getting active that attracts people to the school and ensures that they return: ‘when people come to the area they are overwhelmed by the scenery here – the beaches, the mountains and naturally they feel good after taking part in an activity and from this we build a good/client customer relationship which ensures we have repeat custom. Most are desperate to participate again when they have taken their first class’. Like Josh, Lee is not a native of Donegal, originally coming from Scotland, but settled here comfortably: ‘North Donegal is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been. It’s just fantastic for surfing as the swell is consistent and you are nearly always guarantees good surf. My family heritage is Irish as well which means I feel at home’.  

Trish Corr from Donegal’s Adventure Centre and Surf School notes that Bundoran is widely considered one of the best surfing spots in Europe and fantastic for all kinds of water sports. North Donegal sees a lively tourist trade which in turn provides good business opportunities for those living in the area. Training courses in surf, outdoor and lifeguard instruction which are heavily attended. Recently Donegal Adventure Centre has seen students from Europe and America attend these course, now gaining international recognition.

For further information on surfing in Donegal check out the links below: