‘Save Rusheen Bay’ Public Appeal to form non-profit watersports club base

Galway’s most unique watersports amenity is up for sale and risks being “lost forever unless people act fast” according to a group of watersports enthusiasts who want to help secure Rusheen Bay for generations to come as a not-for-profit sustainable community club.

A local group comprising of former owner, managers and instructors is forming a club entity (Company Limited by Guarantee) and is seeking to purchase Rusheen Bay Windsurfing School in order to run a not-for-profit club to teach watersports and land-based activities to children and adults in Galway City and County and finance itself through sustainable, commercially-run watersports camps during the summer months.

What is Unique About Rusheen Bay:

Galway, our beautiful city by the sea. Here the water surrounds us – from the river Corrib flowing through, to the bay that defines – and permeates the minds and hearts of us all. A short walk beyond the Salthill prom lies a sanctuary from the wild Altantic waters, known as Rusheen Bay.

Rusheen Bay has been used as a watersports amenity in Galway city for twenty seven years. It is here where over 25,000 children and adults have learned how to sail, paddle, and have fun in one of the worlds most idyllic venues for teaching and learning watersports.

Recognising the important role sport plays in Galway, Rusheen Bay is an outlet to both children and adults who aren’t necessarily into mainstream team or field sports, teaching them respect for water, independence, responsibility and individual resilience. At a time when we, as a society, are concerned about physical and mental health, keeping places like Rusheen Bay open is paramount.

“I fully support this worthy cause. Galway is a City by the sea – a Green Leaf city – and needs to protect maritime amenities like Rusheen Bay for generations to come. This would be a shame if it was lost to the community.” – Níall McNelis, Mayor of Galway City.

Founded in the summer of 1991, the location was an obvious choice for water sports enthusiasts due to the safety of the location, and its close proximity to densely populated suburbs, five minutes west of Galway city. Because the bay is almost completely enclosed, it’s one of the safest and easiest possible places to learn watersports. The flat water is perfect for progressing and some of Ireland’s best slalom sailors and freestylers choose Rusheen Bay as their home spot for training.

“If you were to design a perfect watersports location that is safe and enclosed, this would be it. Rusheen Bay provides an introduction to young people and adults to watersports in a safe, fun, and professional environment.” – Liam Wade, local member of the Save Rusheen Bay campaign.

This scenic bay is ideal for all levels of windsurfer from complete beginners to flat water blasters and top level freestyle windsurfers along with being optimal for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. The enclosed bay is an ideal learning environment as it boasts shallow calm waters and prevailing cross-onshore winds, just on the edge of Galway city.

The location has been the site of Rusheen Bay Windsurfing School since its inception, and was open from April through to September, providing lessons and rentals for adults, teenagers and children. Traditionally open from April on the weekends and weekday evenings plus weekends from May, Rusheen Bay Windsurfing offered courses and summer camps with the best available equipment in Ireland with some of the top windsurfers in Europe. Courses were offered for windsurfing, kayaking and stand up paddleboarding. The centre has won numerous awards including Irish Sailing Association (ISA) training center of the year in 2011 as well as hosting numerous national events, such as intraversities, and National Freestyle events.

Sadly, Rusheen Bay Windsurfing School has not been open since October 2017. The continued loss of Rusheen as a local amenity would have a serious impact on tourism, employment and the life of the local residents who live in the area or tourists that visit or pass through the area.

The Save Rusheen Bay appeal are are concerned that this amenity is attracting private development investors (who have no interest in watersports) – resulting in a loss of this resource to the local community, which would destroy the beauty of Galway Bay forever.

Call to Action:However, a new chapter for Rusheen Bay may be possible with your help. The ot-for-profit club people behind the ‘Save Rusheen Bay’ appeal have set up a crowd funding campaign with local Galway company, iFundraise.ie (https://www.ifundraise.ie/rusheen) and are asking for your generous support in donating to help secure Rusheen Bay for generations to come as a not-for-profit sustainable community club.

After a call-out to locals on Galway Bay FM on Saturday, the crowd funding went live and hundreds of euro donations are coming in with one donor, Wendy, saying “I really hope you are sucessful with this, these projects are so key to community health and engagement. This one has an opportunity to do national good and I hope I get a chance to send my kids and grandkids there.”

 

History of watersports activities at Rusheen Bay, Galway

● Windsurfing School run by Martin Rowe and Aoife Cooke in the Summer of 1991.

● Windsurfing School run by Cathal Kavanagh in 1995 – 2011.

● Creation of an internationally acclaimed Windsurfing Academy by Cathal Kavanagh that became the springboard for many Irish National and European champions.

● Annual host to Irish Windsurfing Association (IWA) events such as the Irish Windsurfing Championships, National Freestyle Championships, Intervarsities, and the IWA Youth Championships.

● Sold by Cathal Kavanagh to Danny Mulryan (Galway Bay Watersports Ltd) in 2011.

● Winner of the Irish Sailing Association ‘Training Centre of the Year’ in 2011.

● Rusheen continues to grow with a strong focus on the Windsurfing Academy and hosting national watersports events.

● Galway Bay Watersports Ltd’s brand of Rusheen Bay Windsurfing, website, accompanying land (1.54 acres), storage containers and stock on the market for an asking price of €200,000.

● A committee comprising of former owner/managers and instructors is forming a club (Company Limited by Guarantee/CLG entity) and is seeking to purchase these assets in order to run a not-for-profit club to teach watersports and land-based activities to its members all year-round, and finance itself through sustainable, commercially-run watersports activities during the summer months.