Waterford man's bid to be first person to kitesurf between France and Ireland

A diabetes sufferer from Waterford says he's "quietly confident" he can become the first person to successfully kitesurf between France and Ireland, in the process raising €50,000 for a charity dear to his heart.

Waterford man's bid to be first person to kitesurf between France and Ireland

A diabetes sufferer from Waterford says he's "quietly confident" he can become the first person to successfully kitesurf between France and Ireland, in the process raising €50,000 for a charity dear to his heart.

Eoghan Quinn, 31, will make the attempt this weekend, probably on Sunday when winds are expected to be favourable.

He will depart from Brest, France for the 275-mile journey to Ballycotton, Co Cork and in the process raise much-needed funds for Diabetes Ireland.

Apart from trying to keep upright on the crossing, he will have to administer his own insulin. He was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was just four years old - but that hasn't held him back.

"It's going to be an interesting journey. I've been training for this for the past six months. I'm doing this to show that diabetes is not a weakness," Eoghan said.

"I have put a lot of preparation into this and I have a lot of sponsors from around Ireland and indeed around the world," he said.

Eoghan, who lived in Australia for a number of years, cycled 250km a day for four days in 2014 to raise a large amount of money for Aboriginal health care.

"In the past I've done a fair few challenges, including another one in 2008 when I road a bicycle from Ireland to Gaza to raise money for neo-natal health care for the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians," he said.

It was while living in Australia that he "fell in love with kitesurfing" and competed in a number of competitions.

A support vessel from Ballycotton, together with a medical team, has traveled to France to follow him on the crossing.

"I'm nervous about it, but at the same time it's exciting. I'm quietly confident I can do it and become the first person to successfully kitesurf from France to Ireland."

On top of this daunting challenge, Eoghan has to manage his blood glucose and insulin levels on the board for the duration of the attempt, which just adds greater complexity of the challenge.

Diabates Ireland chief executive, Ciarán O'Leary, said he has been working for the charity for more than 20 years and has seen people "doing amazing things" to raise funds for it.

However, he said Eoghan's attempt at a feat never been achieved before has to be up there with the best of them: "When I heard what he was planning to do I said 'Oh my God he can inspire anyone with Type 1 Diabetes to live life to the full'. He's a very impressive guy and this trip will be a balancing act in many ways," Mr O'Leary said.

Anybody wishing to sponsor Eoghan can log on here.

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