A Crookhaven-based paddleboarding school has shut up shop three weeks early after one of their paddle boards – worth almost €1,000 – was damaged by vandals last week.
The Summer SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) school is run by Mayo native Muirtí Ó Cearnaigh for the past five years, but last week he said that unfortunately they have had to cut their season short due to the damage.
‘With Covid-19 this year we were already running at a loss anyway, so it was a safer thing to do and close down early in case it happened again,’ Muirtí said. ‘They tipped over our trailer here in Crookhaven containing several paddleboards and damaged one of them.’
Muirtí said this incident ‘isn’t the norm’ for West Cork but noted that the increase in staycationers has led to an increase in incidents like this.
‘The paddleboards we use for our school are very specific ones and a little bit more expensive, but it ensures our customers are able to do the activities successfully on their first attempt.’
Muirtí said they would normally close on the second week of September when it quietens down.
‘This year we were trying to earn enough money to pay off our insurance and all our debts that are associated with the business, and if we lost another board we’d be running at a loss so it wouldn’t be worth our while.’
They have cancelled all their upcoming bookings and he said that people have been very understanding.
‘With the set-up we have down here we don’t want to be putting in a container to protect our gear or any permanent structure that would be an eyesore in the area. We want to keep it quite simple with our trailer.’
Not only contending with vandalism, Muirtí and his team have been regularly cleaning up rubbish left behind by people all summer long.
‘We would normally sell our paddleboards at the end of the season and unfortunately we won’t be able to sell this one due to the damage.’
While admitting it was a ‘summer like no other’, he said they look forward to welcoming new and existing customers next summer again.