2023 SCOTTISH NATIONAL SURFING CHAMPIONSHIPS
This years Scottish Surfing National Championships were held on the 7th-8th April in Brimms Ness, Thurso. This exposed headland provided plenty of swell and a great competition arena. The skies cleared Thursday evening and stayed that way throughout the entire running. Scottish weather at its finest. Here’s what happened at the Scottish Surfing Federation (SSF) Event!
With solid west swell and Competitors amassed once again, new categories and a fourth consecutive win for a reigning champ, the 50th anniversary of the Scottish Surfing Championships was no exception to talent. The North Shore Surf Club (NSSC) took a clean sweep, mopping up the competition at their local spots. Setting the benchmark for the other surf clubs.
On Friday morning the conditions were questionable; a wonky peak and almost too much swell. Organisers had doubts whilst they were setting up. As time went on, and the tide pulled out, the bowl cleaned itself up into an epic head high Caithness slab.
This year the SSF brought the U18’s categories back to the nationals, giving us even more heats and exciting viewing for all spectators.
Junior girls saw a 5 way final heat at the bowl, a wave meaty enough to put off even the most seasoned surfers. The young women took to the water and battled it out, ultimately Olivia Mackay took home first for junior girls, after already coming third in the women’s open, whilst carrying an injury.
Olivia Mackay 1st
Robyn Larg 2nd
Lola Mitchell 3rd
Natalie Kobedza 4th
Junior Boys saw some excellent conditions for their Finals heat, putting them all under pressure to perform. Finn Clark put in an incredible effort, with a couple of great scores and crafty use of priority, only to be (forgivably) knocked off the top of the leaderboard by Craig McLachlan after his double barrel and big combo score.
Craig McLachlan 1st
Finn Clark 2nd
Charlie Pugh 3rd
Ben Kobedza 4th
The Longboard heats came next, with favourable conditions at the cove. Chris Clarke, representing the NSSC, managed to take the win, leaving Sam Christopherson in a respectable second place, swapping their results from last year.
Chris Clarke 1st
Sam Christopherson 2nd
Ruairidh Farquharson 3rd
Ross Brown 4th
Mark Boyd took the masters title for the 2nd year running, with a high scoring combo to put himself well clear of the field and on top of the podium. A performance he would be happy with.
Mark Boyd 1st
Chris Clarke 2nd
Mark Cameron 3rd
Donald Peace 4th
Of course the women’s and men’s open, the most contested categories, left no margin for error. We saw the competition heat up. In the mens, Andrew Robertson gave it everything. The highest scorer on Saturday with heat totals consistently in the high teens. However Craig McLachlan was undefeated throughout the competition, winning every heat he entered all weekend. Often with a combo on his competitors. He took the champs with two 8 point rides, once again defeating last years winner Mark Boyd, and igniting what could be an incredible rivalry next year.
Craig McLachlan 1st
Mark Boyd 2nd
Andrew Robertson 3rd
Mark Cameron 4th
The women’s open saw a lull in conditions, however last years champs Phoebe Strachan played the priority game, getting herself onto the best wave of the heat and scoring enough to win on one wave score, making her a four-time consecutive winner of the Scottish National Championships. Clover Christopherson came in a close second, hot on the heels of Phoebe. Looking for a fight for the title next year?
Phoebe Strachan 1st
Clover Christopherson 2nd
Olivia Mackay 3rd
Lola Mitchell 4th
What a bonnie weekend on the North Coast, plenty of waves to go around and the weather to boot.
Andy Bennet, one of the pioneers of the first event back in 1973 came down to make the day even more special handing out the prizes at end of play.
Busier than usual, the event certainly drew a crowd and a plethora of talent. It’s fantastic witnessing the progression in Scottish surfing over the last few years. The incredible skill coming through the ranks is a sight to behold, the younger generations fighting alongside the old guard promises to deliver some exciting competitions over the years to come.
A massive thanks to all the people who made this years event happen, especially Huw John Contest Director, Ester Spears Head Judge, Tim Aylett & the judging panel, organisation team, media team, Marcelle Lockhart keeping all the teams running and 3Ci Sport for providing the livestream!
Refresh System Operator
Master of Ceremonies
Thanks to all our sponsors and donors:
The Highland Council
Scrabster Community Fund
Christian Surfers UK
The Pentland Hotel
North Shore Surf Club
Words – Oscar James & Imogen James