Community support has helped make the Scottish National Surfing Championships in Thurso a ‘premier event’

Ben Larg who qualified for the men’s final. Photo: Oscar James

Scottish Surfing Federation competition director Chris Clarke praised the efforts to host this month’s championships in Thurso East.

“Having participated in these events in Thurso for almost 15 years, I have been overwhelmed by the support of the community and the local efforts to host the competition,” he said.

“It has become a top notch event and really sets a high standard that everyone involved should be extremely proud of. Well done everyone.”

The federation made the decision to host the 2021 championships in November due to Covid-19 restrictions earlier in the year. After two years of waiting, during such a pivotal time for the Scottish surf competition, all the top talent from across the country were eager to contend for the titles.

And it turned out to be a momentous event for local surfers, with 16-year-old Craig McLachlan becoming the youngest men’s open champion while second place went to Finn MacDonald of North Coast Watersports.

Phoebe Strachan (25) won the women’s event. North Shore Surf Club (NSSC) member Iona McLachlan was second, while Chris Clarke was second in the longboard competition.

Local champion Phoebe Strachan.  Photo: Derek Mcdonald-Lee
Local champion Phoebe Strachan. Photo: Derek Mcdonald-Lee

Always enthusiastic about the exploits of the local surfers, Jason Simpson, President of the NSSC, based in Thurso, said: “We have really had a great run of results. Overall I’m extremely happy – it’s a great success.

He explained: “The surf club started about seven years ago. The reason we started was because there weren’t enough young surfers.

“Finally, now we have Craig McLachlan. He’s a product of the surf club and he’s the youngest surfer to ever win the championships. A 16-year-old winner in the men’s open is an incredible achievement.”

Pointing out that Craig’s sister, Iona, has been through the surf club as well and commenting on the successes of other local surfers, Simpson said: “It’s really a credit to see all these kids come up and win. sadness. “

Thanking all the sponsors and those who helped set everything up, he said this competition was well organized and it was a great success.

At the moment, the local club has 50 people on the waiting list and it’s ad-free.

Action shot from 16-year-old men's open champion Craig McLachlan.  Photo: Duncan McLachlan
Action shot from 16-year-old men’s open champion Craig McLachlan. Photo: Duncan McLachlan

Chief Justice Ester Spears said: “I am quite happy to report that the Scottish Championships have the best facilities and infrastructure of any home nation this year.

“Not only does Scotland always provide the best surfing, but the infrastructure for this event is second to none with a heated judges’ cabin, live computer-generated scores, a priority system, a comfortable competitor’s area and a superb catering, which makes it one of the most professional and enjoyable events of the year. “

Longboard title winner Malcolm Findlay said: “On the day of the final this year it had been 46 years to the day that I first went surfing at Thurso East. During that time I had lucky to have won five open titles, six in the masters division, and this is my tenth victory in longboarding.

“I’ve met amazing people, made great friends and had a great time, but nothing lasts forever, and it’s a privilege to be able to go out on a high note, so that’s my last Scottish as a competitor. “

Despite being placed in the longboard quarter-finals, Ingrid Morrison – the only woman to have taken part in this mixed competition and the only competitor this year to enter the maximum three categories – will now represent Scotland in the women’s longboard event.

Ingrid said: “The memories I have from this event are magical and I am already delighted to represent Scotland in future surf events.”

Masters title winner Mark Cameron said: “Every year the bar is raised. I am proud to say that I won the Scottish Masters Championship. The highlight for me was the performance of Craig and Ben – Scottish surfing is in good hands. “

The weekend’s most impressive waves appeared to have been booked for the men’s open final, with Craig scoring the best wave, and he went on to win the title.

He said: “Everything was lined up on Saturday for me and I just managed to find the right waves to get me through my heats. The waves were sick in the final – the best waves I have ever ridden in a heatset. . “

Related article: Craig McLachlan on the crest of a wave after becoming the youngest surfer to win the Scottish Open title

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