The Gathering of the Clans 2023 took place at Pease Bay for the first time ever on the weekend of the 7th and 8th of October 2023 with the North Shore Surf Club (NSSC) victorious once again defending the title of Inter-Club champions for the 6th consecutive year running. Conditions were testing on Saturday, big and stormy, for the Open Men’s first round – but things cleaned up on Sunday and Pease provided pumping clean head high sets.
There were 8 teams from all over Scotland (two from the host club) each comprised of two Open Men, two Open women, one Master, one Longboarder, one Junior Boy and one Junior Girl who would battle it out for the Gathering of the Clans sword and quiach. The overall team results were as follows:
This year was hotly contested between our event hosts Belhaven Surf Club (BHSC) and the North Shore Surf Club (NSSC) with Belhaven taking the win in the Masters division and runner up spots in both the Longboard and Open Women’s divisions.
Sam Christopherson (BHSC) was able to pip Dylan MacDonald (NSSC) in the final of the Masters division with a combo of turns to the beach, despite Dylan holding onto the highest single wave score of the category (6.5pts for a series of slashing backhand carves) and only required 1.3pts to move to 1st place.
It would be Malcolm Findlay of the Broch Surf Club (BSC) who would go on to win the Longboard division with Sam Christopherson (BHSC) in runner up spot and daughter Clover (BHSC) in runner up spot behind Phoebe Strachan (NSSC) in the Open Women’s division in a well fought final after Clover had got the better of Phoebe in the semi-finals.
Ruaridh Farquharson of the Wave Project Scotland (WPS) team and Donald Peace (LSC) also made the finals of the Longboard division behind Malcolm and Sam respectively after some good rides and performances combining both traditional nose riding and conventional turns throughout the event.
It would come down to the open divisions to decide this year’s champions so all finalists were feeling the pressure. Phoebe Strachan (NSSC) had posted the highest heat total of the day in the quarters (13.47pts) so it was no surprise for the current Scottish Champion to go on to scoop the 1000pts for the North Shore Surf Club (NSSC).
It was advantage NSSC with Scotland’s top two (Craig McLachlan and Mark Boyd) both in the Open Men’s final and vying to maximise points for their club against Edinburgh and Borders Surf Club (EBSC) rivals Finn Clark (EBSC) and Sebastian Jiminez (EBSC) – all of whom had posted most of the note-able heat totals and wave scores throughout the event.
Mark Boyd (NSSC) got off to a great start from the hooter which put everyone else under pressure from the outset and got the better of the first exchange with a 5.67pts ride. Boydie (NSSC) was able to maintain the lead for the remainder of the heat ahead of second place Seba (EBSC) after the next exchange. Craig McLachlan (NSSC) moved into second in the late stages of the heat to ensure the full 1860pts for the North Shore Surf Club (NSSC) with Boydie (NSSC) taking top spot as the back and forth between these two at each event continues!
Third placed Broch Surf Club (BSC) also had success with Callie Cruickshank (BSC) winning the Junior Girls division convincingly and also with Malcolm Findlay (BSC) taking top spot in the Longboard division. The Junior Girls really impressed the crowds with their abilities in what were some quite big and powerful, pumping conditions – Athena Sintoris (EBSC), Rosie Moore (BHSC 2) and Sylvie Christopherson (BHSC) also made the final behind Callie.
There were no surprises in the Junior Boy’s division with current British junior champion Craig McLachlan (NSSC) taking the win (11.07pts heat total) and the 1000pts for the NSSC despite Finn Clark (EBSC) holding onto a lead for some time at the beginning of the heat and a solid performance (9.83pts heat total). The two other Junior Boys finalists, Ansel Parkin (BHSC) and Fraser Brown (LSC) also had solid performances in round 1 with Ansel posting an 8.10pts heat total and Fraser getting the better of eventual runner up Finn Clark (EBSC).
A fundraiser for the Scotland Junior team heading to the World Juniors in Brazil this coming November was held in Dunbar on the evening of the 7th of October. The book launch of ‘Surfing Scotland: sixty years of surfing in the cold water kingdom’ by Malcolm Findlay and Andy Bennetts also took place and attendees were able to get a signed copy of the book by Malcolm and Andy. Ian Wishart and Bill Batten (first ever Scottish Champion) were also in attendance.
Huge thank-you to the judges, volunteers and organisers and special thank-you to Dan and Ian of Belhaven Surf Club for being fantastic hosts and all of their hard work behind the scenes.