This weekend sees the 50 year celebration of the Irish Intercounties Surfing Championship at Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal and while I didn’t arrive on the scene until year four I have great memories of the event and of its founder, the late Brian Britton.
I had known Brian and his brothers since we were kids playing in the sand dunes in Rossnowlagh but we drifted apart during school and university years. We got together again in 1972 when Brian led a small army of European surfers up from County Clare where he had organised Ireland’s first hosting of the European Surfing Championships. We had a shared passion for surfing that took us around the world representing Irish surfing as competitors, managers and organisers. Brian’s boundless energy, efficiency and his attention to detail took him on to become President of the Irish Surfing Association, President of the European Surfing Federation and Vice-President of the world’s governing body, the International Surfing Association.
I shall attend his memorial dinner next Saturday at the Intercounties and will no doubt, with many others, recall the great times we had on the world’s beaches from Lisbon to Lahinch, from Sydney to Strandhill and from Rio back to Rossnowlagh and the Irish Intercounties. His passing is not only a great loss to his family and friends but to the world of surfing.
Image 1 – Lorraine Quinn, (nee Walls), with Quarterdeck playing in the Surfers Bar at the Intercounties early in the 1980’s.
Image 2 – Brian in full flow welcoming the world’s surfers to an Irish Party in Rio de Janerio, 1996.