We were pleasantly surprised with the quality of surf on offer for our U12, U14 and U16 Girls competitors on day 1 of the 3rd stop in the SSF junior series in Dunbar.
We kicked off with round 1 of the Under 12s with standout surfing from Joel Christopherson (BHSC), Gabriel Noble (BSC) and Callie Cruickshank (BSC) posting the highest heat totals of the morning.The quarter finals of the U12s also took place today with Evan and Riley Whyte (BHSC), Gabriel Noble (BSC), Ansel Parkin (BHSC) and Kai and Callie Cruickshank (BSC) all progressing through to the semis. Standout from round 1 Joel Christopherson (BHSC) was unlucky to miss out on a semi final slot due to a priority interference on QF heat 2 winner Gabriel Noble (BSC).
The under 14s division was no dissappointment with Gabriel Noble (BSC) once again making an impression with the second highest single wave score of the division (7pt) which was beaten only by an excellent score of 8pt by fellow Broch Surf Club member Lola Mitchell (BSC) who also had the highest heat total in the U14s (12.17pts). The Broch dominance was apparent in heat 3 of the U14s round 1 with Kai Cruickshank (BSC) also posting a double figure heat total (11.77pts) to progress just behind Gabriel (BSC)(11.83pts) but Rudi Forrest (BHSC) also hit the double digits to represent Belhaven with a 11pts heat total in QF heat 4.
U16 Girls Series leader Nadia Murray (NSSC) and Olivia MacKay (NSSC) both down from Thurso never had to surf their QF heat 1 due to a no show and got a buy through to the semis in 1st and 2nd place respectively. The u16 girls seen an impressive performance by Olivia Sutherland (NSSC) making it count in the dying seconds to jump from 3rd place to 1st place in QF heat 2 pushing Sylvie Christopherson (BHSC) from 2nd to 3rd place and narrowly missing out on a semi final berth despite holding the highest wave score of the heat. U16 girls heat 3 was a nail biter for 2nd place to progress. Lola Mitchell (BSC) had a comfortable lead with a 9.2pts heat total but it was a close call between Annie Herd (BHSC) and reigning Scottish Junior Girls Champ Natalie Kobedza (MFSR) as priority switched towards the end of the heat. With only a low score required, Annie took off on her best wave of the heat but despite Natalie holding priority she failed to take off and capitalise on the opportunity allowing Annie to get the nod and progress through to the next round with a 3.60pts heat total over Natalie’s 3.40pts.
With the SSF junior series tour scheduled for last weekend everyone pulled together in the surf community to put on an epic event, the first SSF Event since 1998! Which was the Scottish champs with conditions too big and ended up at the putting green in North Berwick!
All the groms were frothing to get in on day 2 and so a full day commenced of heats with each of the clubs having surfers making it through to finals day. Similar conditions as the previous day continued but with sun splitting the sky at over 20c! Finals day was ON!
From what I saw it looked like all involved were improving as they made their way through the rounds on day 1 and inspired by the arrival of the Largs after a mission of a trip from Tiree which ment all the current Scottish junior champions were present.
Hotly contested semi finals in all categories with the exception of u18 girls (straight Final) ensued with Priority system coming into effect and an unexpected drop ins. And what a display of rail to rail surfing from some really young ones, with notable mention to Callie Cruickshank BSC who was unlucky not to progress in the U14s semi despite posting an excellent wave score for some great top to bottom surfing. But without that good backup score Callie was pipped in the dying seconds by fellow Brocher Gabriel Noble. The day ensued with eagerly anticipated surfing from the u16 and u18 current Scottish Champs Craig Mclachlan and Ben Larg later in the day which didn’t disappoint!
It’s been a long 18 or so months and was great to see each and every club from all over the Nation deservedly have surfers progress into the Finals
U12 Final was up first a combined boys and girls with an all boy Final, 2 Brochers Gabe Noble, Kai Cruickshank and 2 Belhaven surf clubbers Tam Hood and Ansel Parkin fighting it out for medals and scores on the series tour. Gabe getting the nod at the end showing his rail to rail surfing and bottom turn finesse along with fellow brocher Kai (only just turned 9!) Wow.. Tam and Ansel surfed well and put on a decent display of what the local kids have in the future.
1st Gabe Noble BSC
2nd Kai Cruikshank BSC
3rd Tam Hood BHSC
4th Ansel Parkin BHSC
Next up was the U14 Final again a combined event again not quite making it through was competition stand out Lola Mitchell ( watch this space) from the Broch from the semi final which made it an all boy and quite an all Broch final. With some aggressive surfing and smooth displays going left and right from brothers Riley and Ewan Whyte, Gabe Noble and Lone Local Rudy Forrest it was closely contested and Brochers continued to dominate with Riley taking 1st place.
1st Riley Whyte
2nd Gabe Noble
3rd Rudi Forrest
4th Evan Whyte
U16 boys was up next with eagerly anticapted NSSC club stalwart Craig McLachlan putting on a demonstation of small wave surfing keeping his hair dry most of the time! Speed generation, power and flow ticking all the boxes in the semi’s along with first time competitor and Pease bay Local Finn Clark EBSC posting one of the biggest scores in the Semi’s too showing some local knowledge along with Ebon Parkin and Charlie Pugh wave selection was becoming key as the tide marched in, with some opting for a foamie making it challenging for the judgies. NSSC Craig Mclachlan taking the crown in the end.
U16 Boys Final
1st Craig Mclachlan NSSC
2nd Ebon Parkin BHSC
3rd Charlie Pugh BHSC
4th Finn Clark EBSC
And so on to the U16 Girls which had some very close calls in the semis with priority and tactics showing the way making it through and Robin Larg missing her quarter final on the saturday was Brochers Callie Cruickshank and Lola Mitchell, North shore Olivia Sutherland and Edinburgh and Borders Annie Herd. The competition was on hold for a short 30 mins in the hope to allow the swell to increase as was forecast, strangely wasn’t appearing so decision was made collectively with all the team coach’s to increase finals to 25mins as opposed to the 20mins giving the girls more time to post some scores, which they did, some choosing foamies again in order to finish off manoeuvres as the swell filled in over the now very shallow reef and weakening swell. Rides were now finishing over almost dry reef and competitors flung themselves bravely along the waves, split peaks and demonstrating full forehand and backhand repertoires. Resulting in Edinburgh and Borders Annie Herd winning her first comp, in only her second outing!
U16 Girls Final
1st Annie Herd EBSC
2nd Callie Cruickshank BSC
3rd Olivia Mckay NSSC
4th Lola Mitchell BSC
U18’s Boys was finally upon us with Tiree’s Ben Larg Thurso’s Craig Mclachlan, Moray’s Luca Baltrunas and Pease Bay’s first timer Finn Clark all making it through to the heavily loaded Final, if only the waves had played ball it would have been such a spectacle, however the boys didn’t disappoint and showed their adaptability after their display in the semi’s on their shortboards throwing tails and leashless surfing clambering over the reef with still some clean formed ‘A’ framed peaks to choose from. They all made the switch borrowing foamie shortboards for the last 25 minute final. I’m very much looking forward to watching these lads surfing again in bigger conditions it’ll one not to be missed, with Ben and Craig’s history of too and frowing fighting for 1st place and priority it’s been a pleasure watching them progress and push one another over the past few years on various trips with the Team Scotland putting Scotland firmly on the map of British surfing and now inspiring the younger generation.
U18 Boys Final
1st Craig Mclachlan NSSC
2nd Ben Larg TSC
3rd Finn Clark EBSC
4th Luca Baltrunas MFSC
U18 Girls Final was last of the day and was a great display even advert for the future of female Scottish surfing with Nadia Murray NSSC, Robyn Larg TSC, Natalie Kobedza and Annie Herd EBSC all now opting for the foamie option over the shallowing reef as the tide dropped there was a small pulse of swell which allowed many waves to be caught and trying for the judges to score more split peaks and priority dictating the outcome current Scottish Champ Robyn Larg took the win.
U18 Girls Final
1st Robyn Larg TSC
2nd Natalie Kobedza MFSC
3rd Annie Herd EBSC
4th Nadia Murray NSSC
A massive thanks to all involved, a very long list and I’ll miss somebody out (sorry if I do please let me know) so will keep it brief all the club’s, Pease Bay Leisure park, Judges Travelling from all over the country, Sponsors, St Vedas Coldigham, C2C surf school, Momentum surf school, Great escape North Berwick, Wavegarden Scotland
ALL volunteers for their help and support.
Thanks to @Braw_Surf and Andy Bennetts for the photos.
Next stop Fraserburgh on the SSF Junior series tour! Stay tuned for series leaderboards to follow.