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The Nixon Surf Challenge went to Ireland for surfer who no longer flies

It might have been unheard of that a surf contest would move countries because one of the surfers didn’t travel on airplanes anymore. But that's just what happened for this year's Nixon Surf Challenge.

The Nixon Surf Challenge is no ordinary surf contest — it's not even really a surf contest. For over a decade it has been an unconventional approach to contest surfing, seeking out remote locations and embodying the spirit of fun over competition.

One of the set-ups in Ireland. Photo: Courtesy of Nixon
One of the set-ups in Ireland. Photo: Courtesy of Nixon

The last few years, Nixon has morphed the event into an excursion with mostly their European team for five days of surfing waves they've always wanted to.

But Irish surfer Fergal Smith had stopped attending the Surf Challenge. He gave up flying because of the toll it takes on the environment. A farmer and a big wave charger, Smith is also the current Green Party candidate for County Clare in Ireland. And lucky for Smith, Nixon decided to bring the contest to him this year.

Chippa Wilson taking to the air. Photo: Courtesy of Nixon
Chippa Wilson taking to the air. Photo: Courtesy of Nixon

Ireland offers a wide array of majestic waves with tucked away set-ups amongst big cliffs and green fields. The crew of surfers included Smith, Chippa Wilson, Kepa Acero, Marc Lacomare and many more of Europe's best.

Essentially a big surf trip with a bunch of friends sailing around and searching for fun waves, the “winner” is always determined by the surfers themselves.

Freesurfing savant Chippa Wilson took the honor this year, but it’s clear that everyone involved won in their own right.

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