Sandend Grom Comp 2018

Saturday 20th of October 2018 – Scotland’s best junior surfers descended on the Moray Firth on a warm and sunny day for the annual Sandend Grom Comp hosted by two local clubs; Moray Firth Surf Riders & Lossiemouth Surf Club. The event has been increasing in size since its inception in 2016 with this year seeing 36 competitors from across Scotland entering – a record for a junior surf competition in this country. It was the last leg of the Scottish Surfing Federation Junior Surf Series so there was extra incentive to perform.

The weather forecast could have not been more perfect with a small but long period north-west groundswell and light offshore winds. It allowed the more experienced surfers to perform without being too intimidating for the younger kids.

An incredible sunrise to start the day lifted the spirits of the still sleepy event organisers and sponsors – Donald from New Wave Surf school and Suds from Suds Surf School – as they set up the event site. We managed to squeeze in 32 heats of 15 minutes each before the sun hit the other side, thanks to the assistance and organisation of all the volunteers throughout the day.

Craig MacLachlan is always in the running with his vertical approach

In the under 18 boys 16 of Scotland’s finest surfers put on a great show on the 2-3foot faces. Ansil Parkin from Dunbar Surf Club, local Lossie surfers Ollie and Hayden Peace and Sandend sea-dweller Luca Baltrunas beat some good competition but failed to upset the top seeds in the semis. Given the line-up it was inevitable it would be a hard fought final and the usual paddle battles ensued. Patience to wait for the bigger sets was key for higher scores. Tiree’s Ben Larg came out top with 2 solid scores; narrowly beating Craig McLachlan of Thurso, who had the single highest score of the final but failed to find a good enough back up. Local ripper Ben Kobedza followed in 3rd,, with Tomas Badia from St Andrews surfing consistently well all day to gain 4th place.

Ben Larg on title winning form

The under 18 girls proved just as exciting with a field of 15 competitors. Natalie Kobedza, Maja and Lois Thomson and Rhona Duncan narrowly missed the final. Emma Swanson returned from injury to claim 1st place; closely followed by Robyn Larg, who excelled in the small fast waves all day; with 3rd and 4th spots being clinched by Emily and Rosie Rothney, applying their snowboard skills to the water.

Emma Swanson on track for the win

The standard for the under 14 mixed category was just as good as the previous ones and it was brilliant to see the younger kids such as 6 year old Maya Kobedza and Emlyn Findlater being encouraged by the older ones – Ben Larg was even seen pushing Maya into waves during a heat! It won’t be long before they start posing a challenge for the older kids. The girls all performed well and it is great to see so many girls in the semi finals. Ben Kobedza reached another final but failed to find the set waves and took 4th place. Congratulations to Robyn Larg for splitting the boys dominance in the final with her 3rd place finish. Top position was closely contended and Ben Larg again pipped Craig MacLachlan to the top spot.

Maya Kobedza ripping already at 6 years old

Normally the preserve of the old timers, the groms were really excited to compete for the longboard title. As the sun was setting we enjoyed watching some classic cross-stepping, nose riding and some moves the judges weren’t even sure existed. We were even graced with some dolphins farther out in the bay, just in case it wasn’t a perfect enough event already! Craig MacLachlan’s ‘racing car’, coffins and overall performance was awarded 1st place. This may help soften the defeats of prior divisions, with Ben Larg taking 2nd place this time. Emma Swanson’s stylish cross-stepping nearly saw her on the podium again but an interference call meant she slipped into 4th place and Hayden Peace, who had been surfing well all day, gained a well-earned 3rd.

Craig MacLachlan showing the judges some alternative moves

A bonfire had been burning all day on the beach thanks to the kind donations of wood from the Sandend residents and was a perfect location for the prizegiving. Many thanks to Xcel, Ocean & Earth, Alder, Coffee at the Kings and C-Skins for the prizes and to Lossiemouth Childcare Centre for their generous donation towards the t-shirts and hoodies. Thanks go to Adam El Naggar of North Sea Surf Shots and Richard Whyte of Great Whyte Surfboards for doing the water photography and to Allyn Harper for the land photography and fantastic video edit. We’re very grateful to all the hard-working volunteers: judges Lisa Monteith, Frazer Reid, Marti and Iona Larg; Michelle Sutherland for spreadsheets and general coordination; Catriona MacDonald and Neil Thomson for tabulating the scores; Erik Esson, Kerry Peace, Jolene Kiddell and Neil Swanson on timing, rashvests and flags; hunter/gatherers Lynn Findlater, Peter Kobedza and Eva Bonarek for sorting out the fire and bbq; and Andy from Coffee at the Kings for relocating to Sandend for the day and making sure everyone was fuelled with his amazing coffee, cakes and hot chocolate. Big thanks to the parents for supporting it but most of all thanks to the kids who showed how much surfing has improved at the junior level across Scotland. They manage to balance camaraderie with competitiveness to ensure all enjoyed a fun and exciting day.

Sandend super grom Ben Kobedza on fine form

Link to Wavelength surf mag write up on event

The SSF Junior series results are below.

SSF Junior Series Results 2018

U18 Boys Surf

  Scottish National Surfing Championships Lowlands Gathering of the Clans Sandend Grom Comp
1st Ben Larg (TSC) 730 860 1000 2590
2nd Craig McLachlan (NSSC) 1000 610 860 2470
3rd Ben Kobedza (MFSR) 730 730 730 2190
4th Finn MacDonald (TSC) 860 1000   1860
5th Michael Wimbledon-Hall (DSC) 555 1000   1555
6th Tomas Badia (MFSR) 860 670 1530
7th Owen McQueenie (EBSC) 670 610   1280
8th Hayden Peace (LSC) 670 555 1225
8th Malcolm Todd (DSC) 555 670   1225
10th Luca Baltrunas (MFSR) 610 610 1220
10th Michael Mooney (DSC) 610 610   1220
12th Ollie Peace (LSC) 555 555 1110
13th Noah Carter (DSC) 610   610
13th Ansel Parkin (DSC)       610 610
15th Finn Askew (MFSR)       500 500
15th Angus Duncan (MFSR)       500 500
15th George Ireland (LSC)       500 500
15th Kai Johnson (MFSR)       500 500
15th Rhys Banfield (LSC)       450 450
20th Mostyn Findlater (MFSR)       450 450
20th Ebon Parkin (DSC)       450 450

U18 Girls Surf

  Scottish National Surfing Championships Lowlands Gathering of the Clans Sandend Grom Comp
1st Robyn Larg (TSC) 730 860 860 2450
2nd Emma Swanson (MFSR) 670 730 1000 2400
3rd Maja Thomson (MFSR) 860 670 610 2140
4th Clover Christopherson (DSC) 1000 1000   2000
5th Iona McLachlan (NSSC) 860 1000   1860
6th Lois Thomson (MFSR) 670 610 555 1835
7th Natalie Kobedza (MFSR) 730 555 1285
8th Emily Peace (LSC) 610 500 1110
9th Lily Larg (TSC) 488 500 988
10th Emily Rothney (MFSR)   730 730
11th Rosie Rothney (MFSR)       670 670
12th Rhona Duncan (MFSR)   610 610
13th Anwen Findlater (MFSR)   500 500
13th Isla Malcolm (LSC)   500 500
13th Phoebe Sykes (LSC)       450 450
13th Kitty Sykes (LSC)       450 450

U14 Mixed Surf

  Scottish National Surfing Championships Lowlands Gathering of the Clans Sandend Grom Comp
1st Ben Larg (TSC) 730 1000 1000 2730
2nd Craig McLachlan (NSSC) 1000 860 860 2720
3rd Ben Kobedza (MFSR) 1000 730 670 2400
4th Robyn Larg (TSC) 670 670 730 2070
5th Maja Thomson (MFSR) 555 610 610 1775
6th Luca Baltrunas (MFSR) 610 488 610 1708
7th Lois Thomson (MFSR) 610 555 450 1615
8th Ebon Parkin (DSC) 860 488 1348
9th Ansel Parkin (DSC) 730 450 1180
10th Ollie Peace (LSC) 555 555 1110
11th Natalie Kobedza (MFSR)     610 450 1060
12th Emily Peace (LSC) 555 390 945
13th Mikey Wimbledon-Hall (DSC) 860   860
14th Reuban Wimbledon-Hall (DSC) 670   670
15th Ruaridh McQueenie (EBSC) 610   610
16th Emily Rothney (MFSR)   555 555
16th Evan Sykes (LSC)       555 555
18th Lily Larg (TSC) 488   488
18th Josh Milne (TSC) 488   488
18th Rhys Banfield (MFSR)       488 488
18th Mostyn Findlater (MFSR)       488 488
22nd Emlyn Findlater (MFSR)       450 450
22nd Isla Malcolm (LSC)       450 450
22nd Rosie Rothney (MFSR)       450 450
22nd Finn Askew (MFSR)       390 450
26th Marcel Badia (MFSR)       390 390
26th Anwen Findlater (MFSR)       390 390
26th Maya Kobedza (MFSR)       390 390
26th Corey Rizza (LSC)       390 390
26th Amy Taylor (MFSR)       390 390

U18 Longboard (not counting this year as only two contests run)

  Scottish National Surfing Championships Lowlands Sandend Grom Comp
1st Emma Swanson (MFSR)   610 670 1280
2nd Ben Kobedza (MFSR)   610 610 1220
3rd Craig MacLachlan (NSSC)     1000 1000
3rd Michael Wimbledon-Hall (DSC)   1000   1000
5th Lois Thomson (MFSR)   500 450 950
5th Maja Thomson (MFSR)   450 500 950
7th Clover Christopherson (DSC)   860   860
7th Ben Larg (TSC)     860 860
9th Michael Mooney (DSC)   730   730
9th Hayden Peace (LSC)     730 730
11th Gregor Lawson (DSC)   670   670
12th Tomas Badia (MFSR)     610 610
13th Owen McQueenie (EBSC)   555   555
14th Harriet Bee (DSC)   500   500
14th Lia Harris (EBSC)   500   500
14th Kai Johnson (MFSR)     500 500
14th Corey Rizza (LSC)     500 500
14th Malcolm Todd (DSC)   500   500
19th Luca Baltrunas (MFSR)     450 450
19th Lily Larg (TSC)     450 450
19th Robyn Larg (TSC)     450 450

U18 Bodyboard (not counting as a series as only enough competitors at 2 events)

  Scottish National Surfing Championships Lowlands
1st Michael Wimbledon-Hall (DSC) 1000 1000 2000
2nd Malcolm Todd (DSC) 860 860 1720
3rd Jamie Gibson (DSC) 730 730 1460
4th Noah Carter (DSC) 670 670
4th Clover Christopherson (DSC) 670 670