TBay Legends Surfers Ball Outstanding Celebration
Hundreds of surfers from Ireland and abroad decsended on Tramore at the weekendfor the Legends Surfers Ball, an event hosted by T-Bay Surf Club to mark the 50th anniversary of the first Irish National Surfing Championships hosted in Tramore in 1967. Four legends, Roger Steadman, Roci Allan, Margaret O'Brien Moran and Brian Britton were celebrated at the Ball. Their induction into the Irish Surfing Hall of Fame was marked by a presentation on their surfing lives and their individuaul contributions to Irish Surfing. Each Legend received a locally hand crafted pieces of glass incorporating sand collected by young surfers from beaches in every surfing county in Ireland, presented by European Surfing Federation President, Huw John.
Brian Britton’s commitment and absolute dedication to Irish surfing cannot be disputed or indeed be praised highly enough. From the early days, Brian was both fundamental and essential to the success of surfing in Ireland. Over the years he worked tirelessly to develop the sport and way of life he loves so much. An Irish team member many times over, Irish Team manager, Irish Surfing Association president, European Surfing Federation president, International Surfing Vice president, and its special Ambassador. Brian was instrumental in organising and bringing to Ireland many international surfing events which were all enormously successful. We also cannot forget his commitment to all the clubs and ordinary surfers of Ireland. From his local club in Rossnowlagh to the further reaches of Ireland and beyond, his legacy endures. Without Brian Britton much would have remained undone down through the years and achieving anything without him would have been more difficult. No one has put more on the line for Irish Surfing than him. Brian Britton is truly an Irish Surfing Legend.
Margaret O’Brien Moran started surfing in 1978 after years watching from the beach. What inspired her to get in the water in such a male dominated sport? Whatever it was it was suddenly apparent that Margaret was quite simply a natural surfer. Margaret went on to win three national titles and was part of a Waterford team to win an Intercounty title. She represented Ireland numerous times down through the years as a competitor, where she narrowly missed out on a place in the final in Eurosurf ‘85. She was also Irish team manager and an international judge. In the early ‘80’s Margaret was pivotal in the regeneration of TBay Surf Club, a time in which hundreds flocked to the sport. She inspired generations of women surfers and was a crusader for equality in the sport. Margaret’s home was the de facto clubhouse for many years in TBay and travelling surfers were always welcome there. Margaret truly is an Irish Surfing Legend
Roci Allan from Fermanagh took up surfing in 1971 and Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal became his home soon afterwards. He and a close group of friends spent every available moment in the water, exploring the coasts of Ireland, Europe and north Africa. He admits himself that much of his way of life was shaped by his surfing friendships and experiences.
Roci represented Ireland on many teams that travelled around Europe and the World. He was also Irish team manager for many years and was elected Chairman of the ISA at an early stage, a title he held for many years. At his local club he designed and constructed Europe's first dedicated surfing clubhouse. He was contest director for the European Surfing Championships in 1985, held in Donegal, which even today is remembered as the best ever in terms of organisation and sheer excitement. Such was Roci’s success he was invited to run European events on behalf of France and other nations. He was elected unanimously to lead the European Surfing Federation where he worked tirelessly to promote the sport around Europe in many different ways. Roci Allan also travelled the length and breadth of Ireland, helping at grass roots level for years. His name is held in the highest esteem in both European and Irish surfing circles. With incredible organisational abilities and a big heart and smile to go with it, Roci accomplished so much for Irish surfing. He richly deserves the title of Irish Surfing Legend.
Roger Steadman lives in Kenya, and we are delighted he has made the journey, with his wife Halima, to be here with us tonight. Originally from the south of England, Roger started surfing in Guernsey way back in 1962. This makes him without doubt one of the pioneers of surfing in Europe. A true waterman Roger did not hesitate to locate to Ireland when offered a transfer by his employer in 1965. Why? Because according to him “the indented coastline looked like it might have good surf”! So he and his young family moved. He found surf but no surfers! Eventually he met up with Kevin Cavey and a few others and started the journey to bring surfing to beaches all around the country. With Kevin he brought in the very first fibreglass boards to supply the growing market. Roger had a passion for surfing and it was evident everywhere he went. Roger was to the fore in this ‘birth’ of Irish surfing. During his time in Ireland he was secretary of the Surf Club of Ireland (which later became the Irish Surfing Association). He was instrumental in organising contests and members alike. When the time came for him to leave Ireland, surfing was up and running strong. He finished third at the very first Irish Nationals, a contest he himself had helped to organise in Tramore in 1967. Roger surfed his way onto the Irish team as an honorary Irishman for the inaugural Europeans held in Jersey 1970. He also played a vital part at Eurosurf in 1972, held in Lahinch. The night before he left Ireland, dozens of surfers gathered in a Wicklow hotel to thank him for all he had done for them and for the birth of Irish surfing. Roger Steadman is a remarkable man, inspirational to the core and is still in the water surfing as he has done for 55 years. Legend.