By Bob Landers
On Thursday the 30th and Friday the 31st of August, barely a few days into the school year, the TY students packed up and headed to Tramore Co. Waterford where we enjoyed a surfing session and an ecology walk.
The year was split into our new class groups and half of the groups went on Thursday with the other half going on Friday. The classes not travelling would remain in the college and participate in three different workshops; Zumba, Percussion and Careers.
Previously on Tuesday, Paul from Oceanic’s Surf school came and talked to us whilst we were in our TY induction day. Paul, being a current RNLI volunteer talked to us about water safety as well as a quick induction to wetsuits and surfing, this greatly helped speed up the process on the day.
The bus left as early as possible in the morning to afford the groups as much time in Tramore. Us, the students wore casuals, mainly in the form of tracksuits, with our long ecology walk in mind. We came down the motorway and arrived in Tramore, to the sandy beach and choppy waves at around 10 o’clock.
One group was whisked away for the ecology walk with the other being swiftly fitted for wetsuits and boots before being sent to the changing rooms.
For surfing we arrived out of the changing rooms and were greeted with a surfing lecture, which involved parts of the board, techniques and how to catch waves. We then got into pairs and carried our surfboards down the to the beach. Once there we were more or less after a quick warmup told to get in the water.
The water was pleasant enough for an overcast Irish day and nobody (in my group anyway!) had any problem with diving in and getting involved with the surfing. The wind that day was an offshore wind and we were constantly being pushed down the beach towards the sand dunes.
Nevertheless, it seemed most people enjoyed the surfing. With the majority standing up on the board several times, and those who couldn’t enjoying themselves and paddling around also.
Once we finished we hauled the boards back up the beach to the surf school and got in a cold 2 second shower before getting changed.
The walk consisted of a stroll down the promenade, past the car park at the end and into salt marshes. Our guide, Garry was a Kilkenny native raised in America. He told us he was mad for Tramore and was meant to leave it seven years ago. He brought us down into the marshes by the back strand and proceeded to show us all the plants growing there you could eat, he had clearly missed lunch.
We walked down the strand until we reached the dunes, Garry stopped us many a time to inform us of the plant types and how or why it grows there. He also told us about his undying love for fire, and how its great for burning unwanted plants.
We stopped for a break before climbing up into the sand dunes, we walked through a burnt-up area and saw the new shoots beginning to rise, Gary once again explained the types of plants and their habitats. After a climb and a wander about we walked down onto the beach and proceeded to head back to Oceanic’s.
At Oceanic’s we caught the bus back to Kilkenny and arrived about 4:15, Altogether it was a good day out and most people seemed to enjoy it.