Two years ago to the day the windsurfing world lost a young and talented windsurfer – Mikey Clancy. More than that Mikey was a friend to so many in the sport and a true friend to the whole team at Boardseeker. Mikey Clancy will be sadly and greatly missed by us all, so in memory of Mikey here is a little story about a memorable day we had with him. Followed by a throwback to a video produced by our very own Alfie Hart.
It was the day before the 2009 BWA Tiree event and the wind had been howling all night, the forecast was big, very very big. No one really knew what to expect but there was a lot of talk about where to head to for a ‘sheltered session’, purely because many beaches would physically be blown out. The waves were predicted to be too gnarly and the wind too strong.
As we are sitting around the table making a plan of action, the phone vibrates next to us, no one touches it, we continue talking for another ten minutes, it vibrates again – “Mikey’s launching at Balephuil” someone shouts, “he sent a message ten minutes ago saying that he’s rigging up, are we going to join“. At the same moment we all think the same thing – What The F***! In this forecast it’s supposed to be side to side-on shore and that is square to the oncoming swell, this spot had been ruled out without anyone even mentioning it.
15 minutes later we are driving up the wet muddy field towards the back of Timo Mullen’s van, he’s just shut his doors and is running like a madmen down to the beach with what could potentially be a kids rig. We say he was running, in fact he had his shoulders low and looked like he was charging down a rugby teams scrum. It takes us a couple of attempts to drive up the steep grass bank to park on top so we can watch down over the beach to see what’s going on. As we wheel spin our way up, creeping closer to the top the same sight greets the three of us sat in the front of the packed Ford Transit, Mikey Clancy some 40ft+ in the air and still going up. It was like when you watch a plane from far away, it appears to be moving in slow motion, as Mikey reached the top of this insane jump, the highest we’ve ever witnessed, he tilts his head and spots his landing for a backloop, the kit follows his vision and then he simply aborts, free falling for a considerable amount of time we even have a moment to let out a few choice words before he hits the water. Meanwhile his kit is spinning in the air downwind and it appears to be travelling faster with the wind then actually falling from the sky, we notice Mikey’s head pop up from the surface and him looking around to see his kit still falling and then slam into the water not far from the beach. Eventually the wind is so strong it flips his gear up on to the beach and in position as if ready to go back out again.
So what does Mikey do, well he swims a very long way in (we’ve all done it) then walks an even longer distance down this massive beach, picks up his gear, launches and heads straight back out for more. Making his way upwind he shows us a masterclass of high wind sailing, like he would have spent years training in somewhere like Pozo. Perfect backloops one after the other, one footed, one handed, pushloops, forwards, everything seemed to be there. However, with that crash in our heads we decided to opt for slightly more manageable conditions with more riding than jumping and didn’t catch up with Mikey until that evening.
“I was using my smallest sail, my 3.3 and actually the landing in the water was so hard after that crash I hurt my ankle quite bad, but I just wanted to keep windsurfing so I sailed on through, I’m hobbling a bit on it now but I’m sure it is fine for tomorrow” Mikey told us. However, he had hurt his ankle pretty bad and it was to be the start of a long and tiring rehabilitation year for him. The fact is, that session said everything about him, he was so addicted to the sport, so passionate that he even continued to windsurf despite immense pain. Why, because conditions were good for him, 50 knots+ with mast high waves, we sure hope you are smashing plenty of that where you are now.
Rest In Peace Mikey.