Words Oscar James & Imogen James

This years Scottish Surfing National Championships were held on the 7th-8th April in Brimms Ness, Thurso. The exposed headland providing plenty of swell and a great competition arena. The skies cleared Thursday evening and stayed that way throughout the entire running. Scottish weather at its finest. Here’s what happened at the Scottish Surfing Federation (SSF) Event!

With solid west swell, and Competitors amassed once again, new categories and a fourth consecutive win for a reigning champ, the 50th anniversary of the Scottish Surfing Championships was no exception to talent. The North Shore Surf Club (NSSC) took a clean sweep, mopping up the competition at their local spots. On Friday morning the conditions were questionable, a wonky peak and almost too much swell. Organisers had doubts whilst they were setting up. As time went on, and the tide pulled out, the bowl cleaned itself up into an epic head high Caithness slab. But on competition day on Saturday this had calmed down, leaving smaller but cleaner waves to get stuck into. And so they did.

This year the SSF brought the U18’s categories back to the nationals, giving us even more heats and exciting viewing for all spectators. Junior girls saw a 5 way final heat at the bowl, a wave meaty enough to put off even the most seasoned surfers. The young women took to the water and battled it out, ultimately Olivia Mackay took home first for junior girls, after already coming third in the women’s open.

Junior Girls
1st Olivia Mackay
2nd Robyn Larg
3rd Lola Mitchell
4th Natalie Kobedza

Junior Boys saw some excellent conditions for their Finals heat, putting them all under pressure to perform. Finn Clark put in an incredible effort, with a couple of great scores and crafty use of priority, only to be (forgivably) knocked off the top of the leaderboard by Craig McLachlan after his double barrel and big combo score.

Junior Boys
1st Craig McLachlan
2nd Finn Clark
3rd Charlie Pugh
4th Ben Kobedza

The Longboard heats came next, as competitors enjoyed the conditions. This year the roles reversed for two competitors. Chris Clarke, representing the NSSC, managed to take the win, leaving Sam Christopherson in a respectable second place, swapping their results last year.

1st Chris Clarke
2nd Sam Christopherson
3rd Ruairidh Farquharson
4th Ross Brown

Mark Boyd took the masters title for the 2nd year running, with a high scoring combo to put himself well clear of the field and on top of the podium.

1st Mark Boyd
2nd Chris Clarke
3rd Mark Cameron
4th Donald Peace

Of course, the women’s and men’s open, the most contested categories, left no margin for error. We saw the competition heat up. In the mens, Andrew Robertson gave it everything, the highest scorer on Saturday with heat totals consistently in the high teens. However Craig McLachlan was undefeated throughout the competition, winning every heat he entered all weekend. Often with a combo on his competitors. He took the champs with two 8 point rides, once again defeating last years winner Mark Boyd, and igniting what could be an incredible rivalry next year. The women’s saw a lull in conditions, however last years champs Phoebe Strachan played the priority game, getting herself onto the best wave of the heat and scoring enough to win on one wave score, making her a four-time consecutive winner of the Scottish National Championships. Clover Christopherson came in a close second, hot on the heels of Phoebe. Looking for a fight for the title next year?

Men’s Open
1stCraig McLachlan
2nd Mark Boyd 
3rd Andrew Robertson
4th Mark Cameron

Women’s Open
1st Phoebe Strachan
2nd Clover Christopherson
3rd Olivia Mackay
4th Lola Mitchell 

Contest Director Huw John Head Judge Ester Spears Refresh System Operator Tim Aylett Master of Ceremonies Campbell Scott Thanks to all our sponsors and donors: Mystic, Event Scotland, The Highland Council, Dounreay, Foundation Scotland, Scrabster Community Fund, 3CI Sport, Greencoat, Christian Surfers UK, Finisterre, Luna, Lost shore, C-Monsta, The Pentland Hotel, North Shore Surf Club.