Kings InterHigh Scottish Junior Championships 2024, Tiree.

Tiree Surf Club hosted the Kings InterHigh 2024 SSF Junior National Surfing Championships on the weekend of the 7th to 9th of June.  The event was kindly sponsored by Kings InterHigh; Xtratuf; O’Neill; C-monsta; Vision events; C-skins; and Scarinish Beach Hotel.

2024 Kings InterHigh Scottish Juniors

Thanks to Huw John, Contest Director, and Tim Aylett, Refresh Judging Systems, who made the journey from Wales and ensured a smoothly run competition with live priority and scoring updates. Thanks to the panel of independent judges for their dedication all weekend – Colin, Craig, Kaitlynn, Phoebe, Craig and Suds.  Thanks to Iain on the tech, Dan on the mic, and Marcelle, Kirsty and Cat marshalling the beach. Braving the elements all weekend were Martin McQueenie on lifeguard duties and Mal Anderson and Duncan McLachlan behind the lens -thank you.  We are grateful to Charlotte Cadzow for creating the artwork for the posters.  Thank you to Farmhouse Café, Reef Inn and Scarinish Hotel for keeping everybody fed and watered all weekend. Hugh Mackinnon and wee Hugh provided welcome tractor support to ensure the judging trailer could be in prime position on the beach each day – thank you. We are also grateful to Parky (Iain Mackinnon) for providing a back-up generator.

Paul Stark, newly appointed CEO of the SSF, joined us to meet the surfers and crew and see how the event was run. Esther Clark from King’s InterHigh braved the elements to support us and we are grateful to her for the sponsorship and for presenting the prizes. It was a pleasure to have them attending the comp., thank you to Marti, Iona, Ben, Robyn and Lily of Tiree Surf Club and Blackhouse Watersports for all the work behind the scenes and for being such welcoming hosts all weekend.

The competition started on the Friday afternoon once all the competitors had arrived bleary-eyed off the early ferry from Oban. The event was scheduled for summer but the reality was cold north-westerly winds and intermittent showers with bursts of sunshine…along with a steady stream of waves. The best conditions were found at Balevullin in the north-west of the island.  This is one of Scotland’s best beaches and can produce some pretty epic barrels on its day – just maybe not this day though. Head high waves with a brisk onshore wind meant that lumpy powerful peaks were the order of the day. That proved to be ideal for the country’s best juniors to test their skills and produce some great surfing but it required good navigation of the tricky conditions. 

Competitors were allowed to enter their own age category and one other division.  Under 18 division included a first round repechage to ensure all competitors were guaranteed at least 2 heats. We also ran a non-competitive under 10s division to allow the micro-groms the chance to show their skills.

Friday afternoon saw early rounds of U18, U14 and U12 divisions before the tide got too high (and Tim started panicking about waves lapping at his LED priority boards).  With the forecast looking borderline for Sunday, the decision was made to run a long day on Saturday to conclude the competition.  

All divisions provided exciting competition, great surfing and sportsmanship.  The under 10 expression session drew the biggest crowd to the waters edge to cheer on these hardy micro-groms. Skye Brock (NSSC) was the female representation and won the prize for the best combo.  Local boy Reuben Millbourne (TSC) won the best bottom turn and the Morgan brothers, Oscar and Finn, (GCSC) achieved prizes for biggest wave and longest wave respectively.  

Some of these rippers appeared again in the U12 division which was dominated by Kai Cruickshand (BSC) with the highest heat total of the event (13.44).  Oscar Morgan (GCSC) got a cracker of a wave to surf into second place.  Reuben Millbourne (TSC) got 3rd place in his debut surf competition and Scarlett Heddle (NSSC) represented the girls in the final to achieve 4th place. 

Under 12’s Results

  1. Kai Cruickshank (BSC)
  2. Oscar Morgan (GCSC)
  3. Reuben Millbourne (TSC)

The boys U14 division gave us an exciting back and forth battle between Gabriel Noble (BSC), Kai Cruickshank (BSC) and Joel Christopherson (BHSC) in the first round and the high surfing standard of these young competitors continued throughout the rest of the heats.  Sebastian Ballantyne (BSC) surfed consistently through the rounds to take the title. He was followed very closely by Kai Cruickshank (BSC) in 2nd, Gabriel Noble (BSC) in 3rd and Alfie Pugh (BHSC) in 4th

Boys Under 14’s Results

  1. Sebastian Ballantyne (BSC)
  2. Kai Cruickshank (BSC)
  3. Gabriel Noble (BSC
  4. Alfie Pugh (BHSC)

The girls U14 division was won convincingly by Callie Cruickshank (BSC) who posted the highest wave score of the event with a backhand snap earning a 7.5.  There was close competition behind her, with 0.16 separating Freya Pilarska (BHSC) in 2nd; Rosie Moore (BHSC) in 3rd; and Faraid Winterton (EBSC) in 4th.

Girls U14’s Results

  1. Callie Cruickshank (BSC)
  2. Freya Pilarska (BHSC)
  3. Rosie Moore (BHSC)
  4. Faraid Winterton (EBSC)

The boys U16 division was the biggest of the event with some of the most closely contested heats.  Ansel Parkin (BHSC) was a stand-out throughout all his heats and took 4th in the final. Sebastian Ballantyne (BSC) recovered from an interference penalty in the semis to take 3rd place. Gabriel Noble (BSC) surfed consistently well throughout the event to gain 2nd place ; with Charlie Pugh (BHSC) taking the U16 title with some solid carves. 

Boys Under 16’s Results

  1. Charlie Pugh (BHSC)
  2. Gabriel Noble (BSC)
  3. Sebastian Ballantyne (BSC)
  4. Ansel Parkin (BHSC)

The girls U16 division was dominated by the Fraserburgh girls with Lola Mitchell (BSC) taking the title and Callie Cruickshank (BSC) in 2nd.  There was more close competition behind them as the girls navigated the tricky conditions to find waves to display their surfing ability, with Voe Brock (NSSC) in 3rd and Rosie Moore (BHSC) in 4th

Girls U16’s Results

  1. Lola Mitchell (BSC)
  2. Callie Cruickshank (BSC)
  3. Voe Brock (NSSC)
  4. Rosie Moore (BHSC)

The boys U18 division was a lowland show.  Finn Clark (EBSC) surfed reliably well in all his heats but left it late in the final, getting the score he needed with his final wave to win the title. Another standout of the event, Ansel Parkin (BHSC) got 2d place. Big brother Ebon Parkin (BHSC) surfed very well into 3rd place and narrowly beat Charlie Pugh (BHSC) in 4th

Boys U18’s Results

  1. Finn Clark (EBSC)
  2. Ansel Parkin (BHSC)
  3. Ebon Parkin (BHSC)
  4. Charlie Pugh (BHSC)

The U18 girls showed some impressive surfing from local girl Robyn Larg (TSC) throughout the event, achieving 2nd place in the final.  However, Olivia Mackay (NSSC) found a nice peeling section for a combo carve & snap to post a 6.17 early in the final which would ensure she could retain her well-deserved title.  Beatrix Brown (ASC) returned from Portugal and re-acclimatised to the cold waters of Scotland to claim 3rd place, above Lola Mitchell (BSC) in 4th

Girls U18’s Results

  1. Olivia Mackay (NSSC)
  2. Robyn Larg (TSC)
  3. Beatrix Brown (ASC)
  4. Lola Mitchell (BSC)

Throughout the weekend these junior competitors showed amazing determination and resilience in testing conditions.  There was a very high standard of surfing, as well as sportsmanship and comradery.  The winners were all chaired up the beach by previous junior winners and Scottish surfing stars, Ben Larg and Craig McLachlan, displaying the growing legacy of Scottish Junior surfing. 

Thank You Blackhouse Watersports, Tiree Surf Club & the lovely Isle of Tiree

Words – Craig Sutherland, Photos – Duncan Mclachlan & Mal Anderson.

Scottish Junior Series Leaderboards

Standings After Event 1 – Tiree.