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Thurso East to host Scottish Surfing Championships over Easter weekend

By John Davidson

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Mark Boyd. Picture: Malcolm Anderson
Mark Boyd. Picture: Malcolm Anderson

North coast surfers are aiming to defend their titles at this weekend's 50th anniversary staging of the Scottish National Surfing Championships.

The contest, first held in 1973 on the north coast of Scotland, returns to Thurso East from Friday to Sunday over Easter weekend.

Three-time men's and women's open division Scottish surfing champions, Mark Boyd and Phoebe Strachan, will return to defend their titles. Both are members of North Shore Surf Club.

Craig McLachlan from Murkle, current British and Scottish junior boys surfing champion, will defend his title as well as vying for the open men's championships, where he placed second last year at the age of only 16.

Keeping it in the family, Iona McLachlan, sister of Craig, will compete in the open women’s event after finishing as runner-up last time round. Iona co-owns North Coast Watersports in Thurso.

Craig McLachlan . Picture: Malcolm Anderson
Craig McLachlan . Picture: Malcolm Anderson

The primary contest venue is at one of Scotland’s prime surfing spots, Thurso East, which has held international events in the past and is famed for its cold water surfing.

Competition divisions include open men, open women, masters, longboard, and junior boys and girls.

Spectators are encouraged to watch the action from the event site or the pier, and it will also be broadcast live online.

Jason Simpson, director at the Scottish Surfing Federation, said: “The popularity of surfing has grown to new heights since the inaugural championships were held in the early seventies, as has the standard of surfing with one of the strongest fields we have seen coming to compete this year.

“The north coast is a spectacular location to host this special anniversary championships and we are excited to show what Caithness has to offer to the world.

Iona McLachlan . Picture: Malcolm Anderson
Iona McLachlan . Picture: Malcolm Anderson

"We’d love it if people came to watch in person but if you can’t make it then you can also keep up with the action on the live stream at www.thessf.scot

“Our thanks to the many sponsors of this great event. Without their support it would not be possible to host our flagship championships."

Mark Boyd, current men’s Scottish national surfing champion, said: “The Scottish Surfing Championships are always a highlight in the surfing calendar for me and I am so excited to get back in the water and defend my title.

“Thurso East is my favourite spot to surf and I can’t wait to get going.”

Phoebe Strachan. Picture: Malcolm Anderson
Phoebe Strachan. Picture: Malcolm Anderson

The event is overseen by the Scottish Surfing Federation, which has been managing the sport in Scotland for nearly 50 years. This year’s event is supported by EventScotland’s national events programme.

Paul Bush, director of events at EventScotland, said: “EventScotland is delighted to be supporting the Scottish National Surfing Championships through our national events programme. Thurso East will provide the perfect stage for the championships, and I wish everyone competing over the Easter weekend the best of luck.”

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