Now open in Clogheen Business Park in Clonakilty, bigsurfshop.com is a specialist watersports equipment shop, run by multiple Irish windsurfing champion Pearse Geaney.
A resident of the Bandon / Clonakilty area since 2002, Pearse started bigsurf online in 2009. He tells how it all started after returning from Maui, Hawaii, where he enjoyed sharing the infamous Ho’okipa beach park break with some of the world’s best-known windsurfers and surfers.
“Maui for me was the ‘holy grail’ of windsurf trips…it still is for many windsurfers the world over, no matter how many times you go.” Ever since learning to windsurf on a family camping holiday in Ballylicky back in 1991, Maui was always the ‘go to’ destination for watersports enthusiasts explains Pearse
Having started racing with the Irish Windsurf Team when he was 15, and competing internationally as a semi pro rider in later years, Pearse needed high performance components to be in with any chance of winning. “Anybody can windsurf at 25-30 knots in a straight line, but to have your board speed just two knots faster than the rider alongside you, takes a lot of time spent tuning your equipment. At that level of competition, it’s like motor racing — if you don’t have the equipment or your setup is wrong, you’re not going to lead to the first gybe mark.”
A lot of riders at the time were buying from European retailers as they had the experience to know what to stock and the customer base to support them. “Irish surf shops could only ever dip their toes in this of equipment, says Pearse “which is totally understandable — stocking 30 different sizes of racing fins, at €250 each, for five customers in the whole of Ireland, is high risk! I took on those risks — I made mistakes, but I learnt from it.”
According to Pearse this is where bigsurf excels. “We have the products, the experience and the know-how to get riders to whatever level they want to get to in their watersports, be they a windsurfer, surfer, kiteboarder, stand-up paddler, bodyboarder or kayaker. We don’t just sell products, we test, develop and then feed back to the design loft or shaping rooms to make the products better.
“I’m super lucky to be able to call Clonakilty home, but to be able to run bigsurfshop.com in the surfing hub of West Cork is nothing but a dream come through. Drop in and say hello sometime — or else we’ll see you on the water soon!”