The 15th-17th April saw the 2022 Scottish Surfing Championships. This year, a straight west swell took us a few miles around the headland to Brims Ness, a wild and rugged slice of coast, home to one of the heaviest slabs around.
Watching the competitors in the first few heats, you’d find it hard to believe it was only half a year since they last threw on the rashies. In the space of one winter season, the level of surfing has visibly improved across the board. No matter the age or gender, everybody in the water is charging, trying to edge out their competition.
Friday morning arrived before the swell, the competition going on hold early. Blue skies, offshore winds & excited surfers crowded the reef, the anticipation building. All eyes were out west praying the waves were on the way.
First light the following morning revealed ‘The Bowl’ had awoken. The right-hand slab was hammering some sketchy, rippable waves onto almost dry reef. This wave is a spectacle, and even before the surfers paddled out for reference, it’s clear that the rides will be all or nothing. After the steepest of drops, the wave opens up only for a couple of seconds, then squeeze in a turn before your fins hit the reef, boom, done. In theory.
Open men’s got off to an electric start, the pushing tide bringing plenty of waves, and wipeouts to boot. Everyone trying find the limits of point scoring possibility. Once again, the SSF were on the ball. With new contest Director Jason Simpson ensuring a smooth running of back to back heats. From 8am until the tide inevitably killed the party, we saw Men, Women, Masters and Longboard all making progress with the good conditions. Lining us up for a finals day to be remembered.
“It was a fabulous weekend helped by some glorious weather. I was really impressed by the young surfers and especially the women. They charged on the death-defying slabs at Brims. A giant leap in the progression of Scottish Women’s surfing.”
~ Ester Spears // Head Judge
An Easter gift on Sunday morning, the Atlantic had delivered us a couple extra feet of swell. Paired with a complete lack of wind, the Bowl had become a lot more critical. This time the girls got the spotlight, being the first to test out the glassy conditions. Some heavy sets later and Iona McLachlan leads Clover Christopherson, Phoebe Strachan and Catriona MacDonald into the finals later that morning. The men’s semis followed, with Chris Noble scoring the highest heat total the entire weekend with a 15.83. Cementing his place in the final alongside George Watt, Boydie and last year’s winner, Craig McLachlan.
Finals kicked off with a bang, Phoebe Strachan scoring the joint highest wave score of the entire weekend. An 8.83 on the biggest wave I saw come through all weekend. Phoebe took a decisive win to retain her title from last year’s Champs.
“I was impressed to see the North Shore Surf Clubs (NSSC) Mark Boyd win the double taking first place in both the Master and Men’s Open but the highlight for me was the women surfers, surfing the same wave as the men in heavy conditions at the Bowl, with the NSSCs Phoebe Strachan winning the Women’s Open scoring the highest wave score of the competition. It’s great to see the Women raising the bar and taking women’s surfing in Scotland to the next level.”
~ Jason Simpson // Contest Director
Women’s Open Final:
Phoebe Strachan (NSSC)
Iona McLachlan (NSSC)
Clover Christopherson (BHSC)
Catriona MacDonald (MFSR)
“I am stoked to get my 3rd title and come away with the joint highest score of the comp. The standard of woman’s surfing is getting better each year and the girls raised the bar by taking on the bowl. We were so lucky to have pumping surf for Saturday and Sunday. The event was a great success from start to finish and so good to be live streamed.”
~ Phoebe Strachan // Women’s Open Winner
In the men’s open Semi’s, a buzzer beating tube-ride secured Mark Boyd’s berth in the final with only 5 seconds on the clock. Boyd went on to take his 3rd National Open Men’s title ahead of fellow North Shore Surf Club member and runner-up Craig McLachlan.
Men’s Open Final:
Mark Boyd (NSSC)
Craig McLachlan (NSSC)
George Watt (BSC)
Chris Noble (NSSC)
Masters was a hotly contested final. Mark Cameron, last year’s winner, put on a stellar performance with two high scoring waves in the final. However, Mark Boyd seemingly unbeatable this weekend, took the win by some margin, in his first ever entry to the master’s category. Joining the list of those who have won both masters & the Men’s open in one sitting.
Masters Final Results:
Mark Boyd (NSSC)
Mark Cameron (BSC)
George Noble (BSC)
Mark Yeadon (LSC)
After taking his tenth championship title last year, Malcolm Findlay retired from competition, leaving the longboard field wide open. Sam Christopherson’s style and grace on his log saw him take the top step, just ahead of Chris Clarke.
Longboard Finals Results:
Sam Christopherson (BHSC)
Chris Clarke (NSSC)
Zach Marritt (NSSC)
Owen McQueenie (EBSC)
A big thank you to all event staff & volunteers for making this happen, and to the surfers for consistently pushing the envelope of what’s possible.
Without the following people the event would not have been possible