Scottish Junior National Surfing Championships 2023 – Event Report
After the Under 18’s categories of this year’s Junior National Championships were held at Thurso alongside the senior category over the recent Easter Weekend, all eyes turned Pease Bay on the 22nd April for the under 16 divisions. This event also doubled as Stop 1 of the SSF 2023 Junior Series – supported by C-Skins Wetsuits and was hosted by Belhaven Surf Club and Edinburgh and Border Surf Club.
The younger juniors did not disappoint!!
Conditions out there were looking gnarly to say the least, as the contestants gathered for the comp briefing at 0800. The decision had already been made to move to Little Pease for the opening heats, with the newly delivered SSF South East Scotland Judges Trailer (courtesy of National Lottery Funding) being dragged across the beach into position and the PA system needing rapid set up.
The Under 16 boys were first in the water with last years champion Ansel Parkin in heat 2. All surfers were finding it hard to post good scores in the sizable surf and short intervals. Twelve surfers battled it out with Tam Hood (BHSC), Fraser Brown (LSC), Sebastian Ballantyne (BSC) and Ansel Parkin (BHSC) all eventually making it through to the finals, these took place back at the main peak with some great 4-6 ft. waves being offered up by the cold North Sea. After some terrific competition through the Quarter’s and Semi’s, Ansel eventually pipped Fraser by 0.09 to retain the title that had been won in 2022 at Fraserburgh.
Next into the water were the Under 14 boys with last year’s Champ William Whyte out to defend his title, starting in Heat 1. After three rounds of competition Kai Cruikshank, Sebastian Ballantyne, William Whyte (all from BSC), and Ansel Parkin met in the final. Ansel again came out top, claiming his first Under 14 title.
The girls then got in the water as the Under 16 division kicked off with defending champ Lola Mitchel in Heat 1 up against newly crowned Under 18 Girls Champion, Olivia Mackay. Those two eventually met with Callie Cruickshank and Athena Sintoris in the final. Lola’s heat total of 10.67 was the best of this category (and the highest girls total across all divisions) on the day, with her highest scoring wave of 5.67, helping her to retain her title.
With the Under 12’s next in the water in the developing but still tricky conditions, good scores from Lewis Morgan (GCSC), Joel Christopherson (BHSC) and Kai Cruickshank (BSC) helped them all into the final where they met Alfie Pugh (BHSC) with Kai securing the title. Along the way Kai posted the wave of the day (8.00) with some fantastic surfing from the 10 year old demonstrating courage and determination to make the best of what the conditions had to offer. This young lad is one to watch for the future.
In the Girls Under 14 division a well fought final lead to Kai’s older sister Callie Cruickshank winning the title. By this stage of the day surfing conditions on the main peak were reducing but still holding out for a great contest.
Last but not least, the youngest age group took to the stage in the Under 10 division. It had been a long wait for these little ones but 20 minutes in the water produced some entertaining scores, with Oscar Morgan (GCSC) coming out on top.
After the event all concerned headed back to Dunbar for a lively Social hosted by the lovely Wishing Tree By The Sea, where all awards and trophies were given out.
Huge thanks must go to all event officials including our Contest Director and Head Judge who travelled the long distance from South Wales. Thanks also to all event sponsors for prizes, especially the lead supporters RipCurl and Finnistere, and Verdant Leisure (who run Pease Bay Caravan Park on whose land the competition was allowed to run).