Scottish National Surfing Championships return to Thurso as local surfers defend their titles

Craig Mclachlan competes in the Scottish National Surfing Championships in Thurso. Photo: James Gunn

Scotland’s premier surfing tournament, the Scottish National Surfing Championships, returns to Thurso this week.

The Scottish Surfing Federation’s three-day event runs from Friday to Sunday, April 15-17, and takes place at its usual home of Caithness, where surfers from across the country will compete off the coast north.

Up for grabs are the Scottish National Open Men’s Champion, Scottish National Open Women’s Champion, Scottish National Longboard Champion and Scottish National Masters Champion titles.

The 2022 Scottish National Surfing Championships will also pay tribute to Iain Masson, who died in February following a long battle with leukaemia. The 56-year-old from St Combs in Aberdeenshire is a seven-time Scottish National Open men’s champion and is recognized as a pioneer of the sport in Scotland.

The sporting competition has been taking place on the north coast of Scotland since 1973 and the 2022 tournament is expected to be one of the most closely contested in recent years.

Craig Mclachlan – a student from Thurso High School who became the youngest to win senior honors at last year’s tournament – returns to defend the men’s title and fellow North Shore Surf Club local Phoebe Strachan is aiming to win two women’s titles in a row.

Jason Simpson, Director of the Scottish Surfing Federation, said: “Scottish surfing fans will be delighted to return to Thurso to see the new champions crowned.

“This will be one of the most contested championships we’ve had in years and we’re all excited to see if Craig Mclachlan has what it takes to retain the title he first won in 2021. Phoebe Strachan will also be looking to defend her title and cement her place as the country’s top surfer and there will also be a fantastic array of up-and-coming Scottish talent on display.

Local Women's Champion Phoebe Strachan.  Photo: Derek Mcdonald-Lee
Local Women’s Champion Phoebe Strachan. Photo: Derek Mcdonald-Lee

Reigning Scottish Champion Phoebe Strachan said: “Thurso is one of the best surfing destinations in Northern Europe and I know I speak for all involved when I say we are delighted to put on a show. and to showcase Scotland as a country with incredible surfing skills.

“It’s amazing how quickly the sport has grown in Scotland and we were all energized to see surfing take place at the Summer Olympics for the first time last year.”

The Scottish National Surfing Championships are supported by the Highland Council, the Greencoat Stroupster Community Fund administered by Foundation Scotland, Dounreay and the Pentland Hotel. The Scottish National Surfing Championships are also supported by EventScotland’s national events programme.

Paul Bush, Events Director at VisitScotland, said: “Scotland is the perfect setting for events and the response from the local community, competitors and visitors from further afield to the Scottish National Surfing Championships shows just how much our country has to offer. We are proud to support this national sporting event and invite everyone to join us for a weekend of excitement.

All three days can be watched for free, online via

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