After a memorable jaunt last year to the Far-East and the South China Sea, the Nixon Surf Challenge – in association with Monster Energy, Reef, Jam and Lomography – returns this year from May 30 – June 5 with the altogether less tropical but equally mythical coastline of Ireland in its sights.
Over the course of the last couple of decades, Ireland has quietly yet self-assuredly become one of the world’s premiere surf destinations, attracting swell seekers from all four corners of the world looking to go toe-to-toe with waves up and down the Emerald Isle’s famed west coast. Legendary spots like the Cliffs of Moher, overlooking the fearsome Aileen’s, and Mullaghmore in County Sligo, have done nothing but propel Ireland to the top of the tow-in surfing hit list.
In many ways, the varied backdrop of Ireland lends itself perfectly to the mobile nature of the Nixon Surf Challenge, and the invited surfers will take advantage by exploring the country’s remarkable coastline by boat and road. And not surprisingly, several familiar faces have jumped at the opportunity to delve deep into Ireland’s surf and culture, including long-time Nixon team surfers Benjamin Sanchis (FRA), Eric Rebiere (FRA), and reigning champ Jonathan Gonzales (CNY).
One surfer feeling particularly at home this time round will be fellow teammate Fergal Smith, widely known as one of Ireland’s best-known surfing exports. Few people are as well connected to the land as this pro surfer who also happens to run a community farm when he’s not too busy campaigning for the environmental Green Party.
While long-haul visitors Charly Martin (GLP) and Chippa Wilson (AUS) may take a while longer to adjust to the frigid Atlantic temperatures, they’re well versed enough to know the only thing to expect with the Nixon Surf Challenge is the unexpected.
“I can’t wait to discover what Ireland has to offer. All I know is we’ve got the best part of a week to chase swell up and down the country, and I’m sure we’ll score some incredible surf with the most mind-blowing backdrops to boot – that combo is what makes Ireland famous,” said Chippa.
“We raised a few eyebrows last year when we decided on Hainan Island – we like to keep things fresh. And surfing doesn’t come much fresher that Ireland, which got the resounding thumbs up from all the guys when we were discussing which part of the world we could hit up this time round,” said Frank Corbery, Marketing Director at Nixon Europe. “A wild coastline, epic waves, and people and culture that have the power to win pretty much anyone over – who could say no?”
CONFIRMED SURFERS FOR NIXON SURF CHALLENGE 2016:
Chippa WILSON (AUS) – Benjamin SANCHIS (FRA) – Eric REBIERE (CNY) – Marlon LIPKE (POR/GER) – Marc LACOMARE (FRA) – Jonathan GONZALEZ (CNY) – Gony ZUBIZARRETA (SPA) – Fergal SMITH (IRE) – Roberto D’AMICO (ITA) – Charly MARTIN (GLP) – Kepa ACERO (SPA) – William ALIOTTI (FRA)