THE DAD of a top windsurfer who took his own life has appealed to others who are feeling down to get help. Professional windsurfer Mikey Clancy, 22, was discovered dead on Sunday 6 January - his devastated father Michael recalls his exceptional life.
"We are very happy that we had a fantastic 22 years of life with him and sadly some people's lives are shorter than others.
"A book can be a short story or it can be a grand novel. What he had packed into his life was amazing."
In a heartbreaking interview Michael appealed to other young people not to make the same fatal choice.
"It's a horrendous cultural thing that Ireland is developing, it really is. It seems to be getting worse rather than better."
He continued: "It is almost like a click option on your phone. It’' almost like press button A if you want to do one thing and press button B if you want to commit suicide.
"It's almost like a disposable thing."
Exceptionally talented Mikey, from Raheny in North Dublin, rose to prominence when he was a teenager and was largely touted as the "next big thing" amongst windsurfing enthusiasts.
He made the step into the professional sport in 2009 and quickly shot up the ranks, doing battle with world champions. He ultimately finished 25th in the world in that year but was forced to quit the sport for some time after he suffered a crushing injury.
Michael explained that his son had to undergo painful surgery but he defied doctors to make it back onto the world tour again in 2012.
Michael, a former TV cameraman with RTE, said: "He had a serious injury but he returned to the world scene again. He had an ankle fusion where you have one bone fused onto another.
"You lose your flexibility as a result of it. Doctors told him he would never windsurf again but he actually made it back onto the world tour and he finished 13th in a big world event in Denmark this year.
"He was really a warrior.
"He got to the very top of world windsurfing twice, once before the injury and once after the injury."
Mikey was also a dedicated worker who had recently qualified with a diploma in marketing and advertising from DIT - where he was on an Elite Sport Scholarship Programme. Most recently he was working with Catapult media event organisers. However it was in the seas and waves of the world that Mikey made his greatest impression.
Recently Mikey and his father embarked on a mammoth road trip to events in Germany and Klitmoller, Denmark where he competed against the best. In the Danish event he defied the odds to finish 13th.
Mikey had been earmarking 2013 as the year he was going to break into the world top 10 in windsurfing and in the last number of days he had been talking excitedly on social media forums about the future.
However tragedy struck on Sunday.
Michael said: "Whilst we are extremely heartbroken and shocked at the news we want to celebrate that he had a good innings in a lot of aspects."
He continued: "He has had a great Odyssey and journey and he certainly forged a way forward in a difficult market."
Michael spoke of his horror at the growth of suicide in Ireland and called for the matter to be treated differently: "I saw a doctor on TVs Prime Time and he said we have got to be open and honest about this whole thing. This whole thing of it being glorified, this is the wrong option, this is the wrong thing to do."
"This is not the right way to go forward in life."
Michael added: "The more common it is the more easier it becomes.
"It's easier to hear about things through social media so it becomes more mainstream and that's where, from my point of view, it's rocketing out of proportion.
"The amount of people who are attempting it is just incredible."
Mikey leaves behind his brother Sean and parents Michael and Bernie.
His ashes will be spread over the various beaches in Ireland during the year.
This article on Mikey first appeared in the Irish Mirror