The Wild Atlantic Way is the longest defined coastal driving route in the world… and Oona is currently stand up paddle boarding all of it, shifting the perspective, exploring the land by sea.
On May 1, 2019, Oona launched from Kinsale Harbour in Co. Cork, the start of the Wild Atlantic Way, and began paddling North. Unlike those brave souls who have gone before her on currachs and kayaks, Oona will be hugging the coastline, following the peninsulas and bays.
During the first summer she covered 555km, paddling from Kinsale to Spanish Point in Co. Clare, just shy of the half way mark. The journey will continue! Come the calm seas of spring 2020, Oona will be back on the water, showing off what the northern part of the Wild Atlantic Way has to offer.
This 2,500 km (1,553 miles) driving route will, in actual fact, end up being around 2,100 km (1,305 miles) by sea. She plans to paddle an average of 30 km (19 miles) per day and hopes t
o complete the journey in three months, knowing full well that this might not be achievable.
Although the official end to the Wild Atlantic Way is Muff, in Co. Donegal, Oona will be finishing her journey in Derry in Northern Ireland.
The Wild Atlantic Way is not called wild for just any old reason. The pounding waves, howling winds, and jagged rocks are all part of what makes this coastline so spectacular. These pose real challenges to SUPs. Sometimes though, the wind dies, the waves quiet and you can look up at the cliffs in perfect calm.
Along this route, Oona will encounter the very best of paddle conditions to the very worst. Sections of the coastline are extremely sheltered, while other portions are exposed to the wide open Atlantic. This has all been taken into consideration while planning the journey.
Ed Lacey will be there, supporting the voyage and making sure she is safe. Oona will be wearing a tracking device, allowing Ed to keep her in his sights. You can also track her progress in real time at the top of this page!
Safety is a key element in all such adventure paddling, and Wild SUP Tours is taking it seriously. Phones and VHF radios are at hand at all times, as is the constant use of a PFD and leash. Oona is in close contact with the coast guard and is looking forward to calling in when she reaches Valentia Island.
Packed onto the SUP in dry-bags is camping equipment, safety equipment, camera, notebook, and enough water and food to last a few days. Oona is camping most of the way, sleeping in the great outdoors. She is also accepting the generosity of local hosts when they graciously offer a bed for the night.
The coast of Ireland is filled with lively small villages, towns, and cities, each with their own personality and charm. These places host abundant events and festivals all summer long. Oona hopes that she can attend as many of these festivals as possible. The Irish culture is very much alive and thriving and is as important to the Wild Atlantic Way as the landscapes that define it.