ollie o'flaherty
2019 WSL Big Wave Awards Currently in it's 19th year, 2019's WSL Big Wave Awards recognised the surfers who have demonstrated the most committed and advanced level of big wave surfing -- in or outside of the jersey. Any wave ridden between March 21, 2018 and March 20, 2019, at any big wave spot, was eligible for consideration and judged based off of photo or video evidence.
Ollie O'Flaherty is one of Ireland's most talented big wave surfers and all round nice guy. The 30 year old hails from one of Irelands most loveliest of wave spots Lahinch in County Clare and is no stranger to the world of big wave surfing.
Is Mullaghmore The Ultimate?
Starting his big wave journey in other Irish heavy wave locations Aileens and Riley's just shy of a decade ago this was Ollie's entry into the 2019 WSL Big Wave Awards. Seen effortlessly channeling Mullaghmore in Sligo the area has since become one of Ireland's best known big wave locations and the mountain to climb for bog wave surfers. At 60ft plus, it's as big as it gets. Not the first time to get world stage recognition Ollie was on the 2012 Billabong XXL entries on a 60ft beast towed in at Mully's. There is also footage of a 2015 XXL entry for wipe out of the year if you want to see the dark side of that wave's power.
The Winners
This years winners at the WSL Big Wave Awards were announced at Redondo Beach in California, where no doubt the craic was mighty but it was big local names that took home the gold. Nazarre in Portugal and Mavericks, California featured in the majority of the podium riders chosen wave spots alongside Waimea Bay and Pe'ahi in Hawaii. Mullaghmore head in Sligo continues to be one of the most popular big wave locations for surfers in the Atlantic alongside the Cliff's Of Moher also in Ireland. Be good to see some of this years winners come over and charge it.
To be recognised alongside the worlds best in a rising tide of Irish surfing talent for such a small island nation is a signature of the dedication surfers like Ollie put in to surfing these giant waves our coastline can throw up. The current crew of hard chargers in Ireland is pushing hard and making dents in world rankings and putting Irish Surfing on the map quite rightly so. This time round the awards went to all round waterman Kai Lenny and Grant Baker with the women's dominated by Andrea Moller and Justine Dupont.
Ollie O'Flaherty runs Ollie's Surf Academy when he's not charging 40ft growlers in partnership with the Lahinch Surf Experience.
May 13, 2019 — Andrew Marsden